GENERAL SANTOS CITY: The country’s Tuna Capital traces back its roots through the Kalilangan Festival, an annual event that highlights its cultural influences and the colorful facelift it went through over the past decades. Mayor Ronnel Rivera said the festival will honor the city’s history, culture, and the people, particularly the indigenous people Blaan, the Moro groups, and the first Christian settlers. Rivera said the events centered on the colors of the culture of the first groups of people in General Center, a city now known as the Home of the Champions—apparently in reference to boxing champ Manny Pacquiao. The highlights of the events included the Indigenous People Day, Kalingawan sa Kalilangan, Lakbay Kultura, and Kadsagayan sa Kalilangan. Rivera underscored how the city was transformed from a lowly town to a First Class City in Mindanao and credits this to the relationship forged between the tri-people residents. In 2013, Kalilangan Festival received the Hall of Fame recognition as the country’s best culture and arts tourism event at the Pearl Award, a project of the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines and the Department of Tourism.