Town festivals in the Philippines are a big thing, a celebration highly anticipated, participated in, and enjoyed by the people—until lockdown measures brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic put to stop these activities.

One town, however, won’t give up on its treasured and tradition-filled festival. It harnessed the power of social media and began the celebration of the festival with the whole town via Facebook.

Cagayan de Oro City has begun its month-long celebration of its annual Higalaay Festival under the new normal with all the events to be broadcasted on the official social media channels of the city. 

Activities for the city’s 2020 Higalaay Festival will be broadcast online to prevent residents from going out of their homes, in keeping with the health and safety protocols, according to city officials during the launch of the festival on YouTube.

Festival highlights will be streamed on social media, particularly on Facebook, where the majority of CDO residents maintain accounts.

About 90-95 percent of all core events will be virtual which everyone can see online in social media, according to the CDO press release.

Even the festival’s logo has been changed by incorporating font design to point out social distancing. 

Among the core events which can be seen on Higalaay Festival official Facebook page, as well as at Channel 45 via Parasat Cable include Miss Cagayan de Oro 2020, Kahimunan Trade Fair, Oro Photographic Society Online Photo Challenge, Mindanao Fashion Summit, and Kumbira Culinary Show.

Some of the events will also be pre-recorded and still follow minimum public health standards such as wearing masks, social distancing, and hand washing, among others.

The city will also conduct some live coverages such as a fluvial parade, but it will be limited to only a few pump boats.

The whole month of CDO’s Higalaay Festival coincides with Cagayan de Oro’s annual fiesta honoring St. Augustine.