A few months ago, I wrote about the beauty of the Great North in my Santa Ana Cagayan Travel Guide. The town, though 13 hours away by land, felt like second home to me. Because everywhere I went, I was met with beautiful landscapes, delicious food, and the warmest people. And most recently, we traversed the same route yet again for a different kind of adventure: the 1st CEZA Music Festival! So come and reminisce with me the night filled with great food, cold drinks, awesome company, and of course — ROCKING GOOD MUSIC!
You see, Santa Ana Cagayan has been blessed with many natural wonders. That includes the famed Palaui Island, the pristine Anguib Beach, and the newly discovered Buwacag Falls. So as part of the efforts to promote the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport (CSEZFP) as an investment hub and a tourism destination in Northern Luzon, CEZA has now intensified their marketing and promotional activities. One major event to introduce CEZA locally and internationally is the launch of the “1st CEZA MUSIC FESTIVAL”.
“The festival, in its first year, is established to promote the Cagayan Freeport, the local artistry through battle of the band competitions and at the same time build camaraderie in the community in and near the Freeport”, Secretary Lambino said.
“The CEZA believes that this shall be a fun promotion for the Cagayan Freeport and a great event for the communities in Cagayan Valley Region. As we’ve never really done an event like this before”, Secretary Lambino added.
Aimed at supporting local talents, CEZA shall look for amateur and cover bands composed of 8 members (maximum), male or female or a combination of both. Who are interested in showcasing their musical talents on October 19 at the CEZA open grounds in Santa Ana, Cagayan. “The festival is an amazing opportunity to showcase the talents of our local bands”, Mr. Cruz said adding that only fifteen entries shall compete during the festival which shall begin at exactly 6pm.
“This festival is open to everyone. Which shall give attendees the opportunity to unwind, listen to local talents while drinking and local food pairing to off flavors and more.
Accordingly, the Top 3 Bands with the highest rating to be determined by the panel of judges shall be declared as winners. First prize shall receive Php 30,000; second Php 25,000 and Php 20,000 for the third placer. The event was held last October 19, 2019 in the CEZA Open Grounds in Santa Ana, Cagayan. And it was indeed a rocking success!
The CEZA Music Festival 2019 was expected to start at around 6PM. So as early as 3PM, we came around the grounds to check the venue. And by 5:30, dressed in tight jeans and loose shirts, we were ready for all the festivities for the night.
We stayed in the hotel next door so we could literally hear the sound checks by some of the competing bands already in play. And that got me all excited! And true enough, as soon as we arrived at the CEZA Open Grounds, our blood got even more pumped up!
Spotlights roamed the concert stage in all directions. Food vendors were setting up their tents. Tanduay Distillers Inc staff getting ready to shake the night away. It was all so surreal, the first ever major music festival in the far north. And I was going to be part of it. I was excited, we were all excited!
Finally at around 7PM, it was show time. To open the 1st CEZA Music Festival, was a hot, new pyro-performance by Phryo Dynamics. It was an intense 15 minute fire dance show filled with spins, turns, and flame throwing. We were literally at the edge of our seats, all fired up for the festival after that!
And indeed, good music reverberated across the grounds and delighted the 1500 (by my estimate) strong crowd. Each of the fifteen competing bands played two (2) songs. It was delightful to hear that each band had their own styles and music personalities. From playing classic favorites, to band originals, to hardcore metal pieces. True enough, being the music head that I am, found myself singing along to most sets. I, of course, had my personal favorites like those who played Zombie, Upuan, and Huling El Bimbo. Hehe
J-Mar Christian Tacad from the Cagayan State University (CSU) also performed a bartending exhibition during intermission. He won Best Flair Bartender the night before in Tuguegarao, besting 15 other contestants. In addition, Underground Battle MMA performed an interesting and interactive MMA showdown.
Alas, as the music died down, it was time to announce the winners of the1st CEZA Music Festival. Honestly, everyone was good. And I would have awarded at least five (5) bands who did exceptional jobs. But the CEZA Music Festival 2019 was a real competition and only the best of the best can hail as rock kings and queens.
The last to perform, Tuguegarao’s USL Tuguegarao CCA Band emerged as the 1st CEZA Music Festival champion.While Food Trip Wednesday, another band from Tuguegarao, emerged the second place winner. And finally Sta. Ana’s Madre Salvacion won third. But CEZA made sure everyone came home happy. Because non-winners also received a cash gift of Php10,000.00 as consolation prizes. So that’s it. Keep rockin’ and see you at the CEZA Music Festival 2020! Congrats CEZA!