One Visayas, the most serious attempt to bring together the provinces of the three Central Philippine regions to showcase the best of their culture and art forms, opens this Sunday, March 1, at the Cebu International Convention Center. A brainchild of Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, One Visayas was launched last October when the heads of the three Regional Development Councils came to Cebu and began threshing out details to bring together nearly 20 provinces under one roof.
With the theme ?One People, One Vision?, this mother of all festivals will pay tribute to home-grown talents to perform, demonstrate or talk about the different native, indigenous visual arts, theater, film, architecture, literature and being Bisaya in an eight-day affair that also includes the marketing of local products and creative services.
The opening ceremonies on Sunday will begin with a Holy Mass in the morning to be followed by the offering of symbols representing the three regions as well as the unveiling of different exhibits all over the CICC. The late afternoon will be marked by a fiesta atmosphere as the various festival dances from Samar, Leyte, Negros, and Panay will surround the streets near CICC.
Every moment will surely be a different experience throughout the eight days (March 1-8) of One Visayas as festival dances intersperse with lectures and films on aspects of Bisayan culture and the arts as well as demonstrations of different culinary preparations that make each of the provinces unique unto itself.
Two books will be launched during One Visayas. The first is a dictionary of Bisayan arts by Dr. Erlinda Alburo (at 4 p.m. of Tuesday, March 3) to coincide with her lecture entitled ?Cebuano Language as Heritage.? The second is the book ?Sukaran: The Heritage Houses of Loboc and Baclayon? co-authored by heritage architect Inno Manalo and Marianito Luspo (on Friday at 11 a.m.). An hour before this, Archt. Melva Rodriguez-Java will talk on the indigenous and colonial architecture of Cebu.
Other events include a dance workshop to be facilitated by Prof. Dolores Suzara of the Sinulog Foundation at 10 a.m. of Wednesday, March 4, the continuous showing of independent films throughout the events, a photography workshop and dances to be performed in different venues between these lectures, workshops and cooking demonstrations.
Among the highlights of the event is the meeting of the NCCA Committee on Film which decided to transfer their meeting from Baguio to join One Visayas participants on the last day, March 8.
Because One Visayas is slated to be a festivcal to be hosted by one of the 20 or so provinces in the three regions, it will be a long, long time before Cebuanos will again experience the oneness of the Visayans right at their doorstep. And I therefore urge everyone to find the time to drop by CICC and be inspired knowing that though the seas divide the Visayas, we have so much in common and so many reasons to be proud of our identity.