Cagayan de Oro City’s Himugso Festival is pushing through despite the city’s MECQ quarantine status.

“I have received an advisory from the city tourism office suggesting we cancel Himugso but I said no, what is important is we should just organize it properly so we are compliant with the regulations,” said City Mayor Oscar S. Moreno during the 375th Covid-19 Press Briefing held June 5.

Mayor Oscar Moreno calls on the Kagay-anons Indomitable Spirit best exemplified by the Himugso Festival to defeat the covid-19 scourge. (CIO screen grab)

“We can’t cancel or set it aside, these are very important events in our nation and city’s history,” Moreno, who spoke in Bisaya, stressed. “ We want to honor those who fought for our independence. We also want our people to realize the value of independence.”

Cagayan de Oro City’s Himugso Festival celebrates the Philippines’ Independence Day on June 12 and the Cagayan de Oro City Charter Day Adlaw Kagay-an on June 15 as one contiguous commemoration. The city has been placed on Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) status from June 1-15, 2021 following a recent surge in covid-19 cases affecting the city and Northern Mindanao.

With the tagline Birthing a City. Birthing a Nation. Birthing Tomorrow, Himugso is a celebration of the Cagayan de Oro City and the Philippines’ history and heritage and has been traditionally celebrated with exhibits, plays, walking and windshield tours of the city’s historical sites as the new generation is invited to look back at the people and events which made the freedom and prosperity they enjoy today possible.

The Indomitable Spirit

“Why did the Philippines declare independence on June 12, 1898 against the Spaniards? Why did Emilio Aguinaldo and the Filipinos do that? What was their agenda?” Moreno asked.

“The freedom of our nation. The refusal of our people to surrender to a foreign domination. That’s what I call the Indomitable Spirit. If there is a best time to call on that bravery, to call on that indomitable spirit, now is the best time,” he stressed.

This is now we should celebrate our freedom. Now is the best time to call on our people to be brave and face this problem squarely, and solve it,” the chief executive added. “No government can solve this. It is only the people who can stop the virus and its transmission.”

Last year, the city had a virtual celebration of the Himugso Festival in compliance with the national government’s guidelines for modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

In its official Facebook page, the LGU invited Kagay-anons here and outside the city and the country to join the virtual events which  aired live on social media, cable TV and radio stations in the city.

The local government of Cagayan de Oro starts its virtual Himugso Festival on June 8 until June 15 with a 4-episode virtual show. Episode 1 Soul of the City, celebrates the centennial of Cagayan de Oro’s oldest public structure, the Water Tower, which now houses the Cagayan de Oro Museum.

“Similarly, on June 15, we should value and thank those who made the conversion of Cagayan de Oro into a city. Again the Indomitable Spirit,” Moreno emphasized.

To do this, the city chief executive said the city government should closely coordinate with the DILG, the police and all other involved government agencies in commemorating the Himugso Festival 2021 events.

“I hope we can do that. I understand many are afraid to join in such commemorations for fear of being infected but that’s why we are pushing our vaccination so our employees should not be unduly put at risk,” he added.

Cover photo: Cagayan de Oro Horsemen carry the various flags of the Philippine Revolution along Apolinar Velez Street during a past celebration of Independence Day. (MindaNews photo by Froilan Gallardo)


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