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By: Liz Lagniton
Media Relations-Mandaluyong Office

CAGAYAN FREEPORT – More than 4,000 people joined the beat as the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) celebrated its first music festival on October 19, in the open grounds, at Barangay Centro, in Santa Ana, Cagayan.

Sec. Lambino (2nd from left) happily watches the performance on-stage during the first CEZA Music Festival held on October 19, in Sta. Ana, Cagayan. With him are Special Assistant for Investments and Promotion, Raymundo Roquero (center), Mayor Nelson Robinion (left), Director Jaime Escaño and Mr. Laurence Umayam of OPANL.

“The first-ever music festival hosted by CEZA was a great success,” said Secretary Raul L. Lambino, CEZA Administrator, and Chief Executive Officer.

The music festival was also held in celebration of the 70th founding anniversary of the town of Santa Ana, Cagayan on October 21.

Santa Ana Mayor Nelson Robinion said the event was not only a celebration of the town’s anniversary but also of the readiness of the people of Cagayan Valley to contribute to national development.

The festival began at around 7:00 p.m. Saturday with 15 local bands rocking and serenading more than 4,000 people who joined the celebration.

CCA band of University of Saint Louis Tuguegarao went home with the grand prize of P30,000 while Food Trip Wednesday won the second prize of P25,000 and Madre Salvacion finished third with P20,000.

Sec. Lambino (fifth from left) presents the trophy and congratulates the UCC band of University of Saint Louis who emerged the first CEZA Music Festival’s Battle of the band’s grand champion.

All the other participating bands went home with a consolation prize of P10,000.

The event was kicked off by a performance of Phyro Dynamics, a team of skilled fire and aerial artists based in Pampanga, specializing in fire and pyro performance.

Sec. Lambino said Santa Ana, Cagayan Province and the entire Cagayan Valley Region can expect more events that will promote the region as a hub of investment, tourism, sports, and local artistry through “battle of the bands” and filmmaking competitions, among others.

The zone, which is located in Sta. Ana was established by then-Senator Juan Ponce Enrile through Republic Act No. 7922 otherwise known as the Cagayan Special Economic Zone Act of 1995, mandated to run by CEZA.

“CEZA has played a crucial role in driving Cagayan Valley Region’s economic growth and continues to contribute to the country’s economic future,” Sec. Lambino said, thanking the music festival’s sponsors who are now top of the mind in region’s 3.2 million consumers.

Prior to the Saturday event, CEZA also hosted a popular competition, like the Flair Bartending Contest in Tuguegarao on October 18.

CEZA thanked its major sponsors, such as Tanduay Distillers, Incorporated and CEZA locators’ First Cagayan Leisure and Resort Corporation, Eastern Hawaii Leisure Company Limited, Party Management Corp., Pulsar Construction, Agbiag Mining and Development Services, Inc., CEZA Harbor Pilot, Underground Battle MMA, and Mayor Florence Pascual of Lal-lo.

“As we celebrate a future of culture, arts and vibrant lifestyle in Cagayan Valley, we assure you that the next music festival to be hosted by CEZA will bring more local bands to showcase their talents in the battle of the bands,” Sec. Lambino said.

“We want to continue this kind of event that will improve the local quality of life and provide a community gathering space for local residents of Santa Ana and the whole Cagayan Valley region to enjoy,” he added.

This year’s event chair, Leonardo Cruz, Head Technical Assistant and Officer-In-Charge for CEZA’s Cagayan Offices, said the region has a lot of talent to showcase and CEZA will strive to bring them in the spotlight.

“Tonight will be a memorable event for CEZA. Tonight, we reaffirm CEZA’s commitment to the youth and community building through music,” Mr. Cruz said in his opening speech on Saturday.

“The event aims to showcase the exceptional, and yet often undervalued, talents of Cagayan,” said Mr. Cruz who believes that people who follow their talents and passion should not only be supported but nurtured.

Cruz said the music festival provided a peek into the exciting things to come in the freeport. The CEZA is now planning several events that will engage the untapped talents and abilities not only in Cagayan but the whole of Northern Luzon.

“On October 18, we had the first-ever flair bartending competition where 16 bartenders showed their skills in entertaining the audiences with the manipulation of bar tools and liquor bottles in tricky, dazzling ways while they concocted unique cocktail mixes. It was a fun and memorable night for those in attendance,” Mr. Cruz said.

Elwid Tec who traveled from Manila with his girlfriend, said he was “absolutely happy” at his decision to visit during the festival.

“This was an amazing music festival. I had such an incredible time at Santa Ana. It was a great weekend filled with fun, music, friendship and lots of enjoyable activities as we explored the famous destinations here,” Tec said.

In recent years, CEZA has tried to establish itself as a destination of investment and tourism.

Secretary Lambino said another event will be a film festival, the second of its kind in the freeport, that will showcase the talent of local residents in filmmaking.

“This upcoming second film festival aims to engage and expose local talent through art as we want to engage and improve the quality of life of local people not just in Cagayan but the entire Northern Luzon,” he said.

Likewise, the local economy and the life of local residents’ living standards have both been increased because of CEZA’s events and activities in the Freeport.

For instance, thirty-four-year-old vendor Coney Garcia, a mother of four kids from Barangay Centro in Sta. Ana, said: “We are grateful to CEZA. They always invite us to sell whenever they have events like this. They are a huge help to us here as we are able to earn money.”

“That is just a small part of what CEZA has in store in the coming months. Rest assured that CEZA will continuously provide thrilling events for Cagayanons,” Secretary Lambino.


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