Midsayap celebrates its yearly patronal fiesta every 3rd Sunday of January in honor of its patron saint, Sto. Niño. Among its highlights are carnival, cultural shows, novena, procession, agro trade fair, motocross cycling competition, civic parade, Search for Mutya, among others. Not to mention the sumptuous food preparations of almost every household.
Its Humble Beginning
Sometime in December 1988, the members of the REACT Midland Group, an affiliate of REACT Philippines, Inc. thought of an activity as one of its community involvement. Dra, Esperanza “Syringe” Sobong, one of its members proposed a festivity with a combined quality similar to that Ati-atihan, Sinulog or Dinagyang. And what would be its appropriate name?
Midsayap is blessed in many ways; a notable peaceful and progressive place, and people who are very cooperative, united and God-loving. With all the blessing and guidance, and to express one’s gratitude and love to Sto. Niño, “HALAD”, which means “Offering” came to mind as a very appropriate name of the festivity.
HALAD festival took the street during the 1989 patronal fiesta and for six consecutive years (1989-1994), REACT Midland Group earned the recognition as One of the Most Outstanding REACT Group nationwide. Hence, in 1991, it was elevated to the Hall of Fame which is first in REACT history.
In 1992, the Department of Tourism, Region XII officially adapted the HALAD as one of its tourist destination in this part of the country. In 1997, after 8 years of handling HALAD, REACT turned over the management to the Sto. Niño Parish Pastoral Council (SNPPC) for a wider participation of the parishioners.
Since HALAD became a yearly successful event, HALAD STO. NIÑO FOUNDATION, INC. was organized and was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Since then, HALAD STO. NIÑO FOUNDATION, INC. took the yearly management of HALAD festivities.
What Makes Halad So Popular
In 1997, the HALAD team under the Eramis Clan and Friends participated in the national competition of the Santo Niño Festival in Intramuros, Manila. HALAD won as the National Champion besting other well-known teams from all over the country.
Again, in April 2003, HALAD team represented by the ALAMADA National High School won as the Champion during the Aliwan Best of Festivals at the Star City, Manila with a cash prize of PhP 1,000,000.00. On the same year in December, HALAD team competed and again won the First Place in the Aliwan Christmas Festival in Manila with another P 1M cash prize. These recognition made HALAD famous for its superb performances. HALAD festival, now on its 17th year prove to be getting bigger and better.
Objectives of Halad Foundation
- To develop HALAD as an institutional activity.
- To organize and strengthen the local tourism.
- To gather parishioners into one big celebration.
- To support the popularly celebrated patronal fiesta of Midsayap.
- To serve as a venue to express thanksgiving and jubilation to the Lord.
- To create an atmosphere promoting Midsayap as a progressive and peaceful place.
The Challenges and Support
The HALAD festivity always give enjoyment, experience and challenge to everyone. For the people of Midsayap, it’s an activity worthy to be proud of. But its not that easy. The HALAD Committee prepare for at least six months and meet almost monthly to monitor the progress of its preparation.
Aside from the voluntary services and sacrifices of individual Committee members, the Local Government Units (LGUs) in the PALMA Alliance (Pigcawayan, Alamada, Libungan, Midsayap, Aleosan) have significantly became partners in its success. HALAD Foundation, Inc. is very much grateful to the following Principal Sponsors: LGU Midsayap, Provincial Government of Cotabato, Petron Foundation, Inc., and Department of Tourism XII. Several business enterprises also share their financial blessings as Advertisers. For 17 years, Notre Dame of Midsayap College hosts the showdown competition.
HALAD Festival gathers the potentials of Midsayap in terms of talents and skills. These annual celebration further boats the image of Midsayap as a place rich of culturally and socially involved citizens. With the influx of visitors, the economy is expected to gain. With more hotel guests and other related business activities, market sales are expected to increase. This celebration also showcases the image of Midsayap as a peaceful place with hospitable parishioners. This also offers an opportunity for prospective investors to come and see not only the HALAD festival but the beautiful place itself. Consequently, it is envisioned that investors would consider Midsayap as a good place to invest.