Himaya 2024: A Festival of Gratitude


Himamaylan City concluded the 2024 Himaya Festival full of gratitude as thousands of local and international tourists joined the southern Negros city in its week-long festivities.

“Himamaylan City has a lot to be thankful for,” said Mayor Raymund Tongson as the Himaya Festival came to a close on Sunday, April 7.

Despite the scorching heat brought about by the dry spell affecting the country, Tongson said, “We still endured and celebrated our milestones as a city.”

The city mayor joins Himamaylanons at the Free Legal Clinic during the Job Fair
Mayor Raymund Tongson meets with TESDA representatives during the Job Fair
Mayor Raymund Tongson welcomes Senator Lito Lapid to Himamaylan City

Along with the fourth installment of the “Festival of Gratitude”, the city also celebrated its 23rd year of cityhood.

Tongson thanked the Himamaylanons, local government officials, guests, partners, and tourists who took part in the eight-day festival, from March 31 to April.

Uplifting local farmers, producers

Amid the festivities, Tongson said the city government did not forget the devastating effects of El Niño to farmers and residents.

“As we showcased the bountiful produce and products in the Himaya Agri Trade Fair,” the city mayor said, “the Himamaylan City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council continues to distribute aid to those affected by the drought.”

Scheduled water distribution along with equipment were conducted through the MRTubig Program amid the festivities.

Mayor Raymund Tongson holds a big kalabasa, one of the veggies featured at the Agri Trade Fair
Farmers at the Agri Trade Fair

Quality public service didn’t stop just because it’s the city festival, said Tongson. The city DRRM council continued assessing the damage and in the rollout of assistance.

Meanwhile, Tongson challenged local producers to come up with #PrideProducts that Himamaylan City can be known for.

“While we are still on the lookout for these products that will embody the Himamaylan brand, the LGU continues to bring in more opportunities for local producers to further develop their products,” he said.

Competition winners

Marian Villador of Brgy. Nabalian was crowned the 2024 Himaya Queen, on April 5 at the Brgy. 1 Poblacion gym.

Joining Villador in her royal court are 1st runner-up Cheska Edyl Gayoma, 2nd runner-up Jorelyn Cabatac, 3rd runner-up Hannah Joy Mission, and 4th runner-up Sophia Kaye Zaragoza.

Brgy. Cabanbanan also bagged the championship and P100,000 in the Himaya Festival Street and Arena Dance Competition at the Himamaylan National High School Grandstand in Himamaylan City, April 7.

SK Federation President Jedalyn Pampliega, Vice Mayor Justin Gatuslao, Mayor Raymund Tongson, and 2024 Himaya Queen Marian Villador (l-r)
The new Himaya Queen and her court
Mayor Raymund Tongson with Rep. Dino Yulo and the Brgy. 1 Poblacion players, coaches, and supporters.
The Inter-Barangay Basketball championship between Brgy. 1 Poblacion (blue) and Aguisan (red).
Brgy. Cabanbanan, winner of the Himaya Festival Street and Arena Dance Competition

The winning barangay also won P20,000 as Most Supportive Group and Best Production Design special awardee. Brgy. Cabanbanan bested 16 other barangays in the festival dance competition.

Brgy. Nabalian took home the 1st runner-up honors and P50,000; Mambagaton was hailed 2nd runner-up and P30,000; and To-oy, as 3rd runner-up, bagged P20,000.

Brgy. 1 Poblacion, meanwhile, dominated the Inter-Barangay Basketball tilt, followed by Aguisan (1st runner-up), Su-ay (2nd runner-up), and Talaban (3rd runner-up).

In the Inter-TODA Basketball competition, HP Toda was the champion followed by Mambatoda, Himatoda, and Bahtoda.

Brgy. Buenavista clinched the gold in the men’s Inter-Barangay Volleyball tournament, with Sara-et following in second place, Aguisan third, and Talaban in fourth spot.

The lady spikers of Su-ay were declared champions of the women’s division. They were followed by Talaban, Aguisan, and Buenavista.

A resounding success

The first day of the Himaya Festival highlights was capped off by OPM legend Parokya ni Edgar headlining the #RakrakanSaMaylan, which drew thousands of music lovers from all over Negros Island.

On the last day of the festival, April 7, over 15,000 witnessed the Himaya 2024 Encore, featuring hitmaker Moira, heartthrob Enrique Gil, DJ Japor, and surprise guest, rapper Bassilyo.

Despite challenges brought by the high heat index, the 2024 Himaya Festival was a resounding success, said Tongson.

Moira De La Torre performs her hits at the HNHS Football Field during the Himaya Encore
Heartthrob Enrique Gil serenades the Himaya Encore audience
Mayor Raymund Tongson and 5th District Rep. Dino Yulo enjoy the Pyrotechnic Competition at Himamaylan NHS Football Field

The city mayor said he is looking forward to the fifth year of the Himaya Festival next.

“Each year, the Himaya Festival celebration gets bigger and bigger. With the fifth year of the festival coming up, I’m sure the accolades and milestones that our city and Himamaylanons will achieve this year will be the cause of our next celebration,” he said.

Tongson also urged Himamaylanons to continue availing of and supporting the various programs of the LGU.

“Our service goes beyond just festivals, we are here to serve and improve the lives of our fellow Himamaylanons,” Tongson said. ||