Kaogma Festival: Camarines Sur sets the last of summer ablaze

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Dingdong Dantes serenades Ms. Kaogma 2009 2nd runner-up Rosette Clemente during the pageant.


As the summer season ended, fiery Camarines Sur gave its last hurrah with the Kaogma Festival last May 23-31. Dubbed "The World's Hottest Festival," the nine-day festival was packed with exhilarating activities that any summer bunny shouldn't have missed!

It was spearheaded by the dynamic Governor LRay Villafuerte, who developed the Camsur Watersports Complex (CWC), the country's premiere water sports park that has made waves in the local and international wakeboarding and wake skating scene, and Caramoan Islands, the number three top beach vacation destination in the country where the hit reality TV show Survivor France was shot.

The Kaogma (meaning "happiness" in Bikolano) Festival is the biggest and most colorful festival in the Bicol Region. With chilli pepper (sili) as its motif, the occasion commemorates the founding of Camarines Sur and celebrates the spicy, flavorful cuisine of the province. Every year, a series of colorful exciting events draws sports enthusiasts, party denizens, and music aficionados to Camarines Sur.

Kicking off the festivities last May 23 was the colorful Kaogma Opening Parade that showed off the Philippine Army 5th Infantry Division Band and Contingent; floats carrying the Hotkids, Dalan sa Kalangitan and Ms. Kaogma finalists; marching bands from Ateneo de Naga and Camsur State Agricultural College, and street dancing exhibitions of Bamboo Fest from Bula, Bua Bua Fest from Nabua, and Harana Festival from San Jose, Camarines Sur.

Extreme sports representatives also joined the parade, including some of the country's most seasoned cyclists, airsoft shooters, skateboarders, wakeboarders, boxers, motocross, and 4x4 off-road drivers.

The parade led everyone to the Kaogma main stage. A vibrant fireworks display lit up the night sky as singing sensation Sarah Geronimo entered the stage, to everyone's delight. Joining her were Mark Herras, Mark Bautista, and Sonny Wood.

The highly anticipated sports events started on the second day with the Tour of Camsur, a popular national cycling competition which takes cyclists around the scenic terrains of Camarines Sur. At the Camsur Watersports Complex (CWC), extreme-sports lovers —motocross drivers and practical and airsoft shooters—got their gear on and took to the field for a series of competitions. Battling it out for the win, they showcased their skills for the sought-after Extreme Sports awards.

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The Bicol Jam fittingly capped the night off with performances from popular local bands and artists.

The next few days were also jampacked as the local favorite boxing matches, called Buruntulan, took center stage. Other highlights included the live performance of Stone Free and Chubibo, and the Dalan sa Kalangitan Grand Finals—attended by Pinoy Dreamn Academy's singers Liezel Garcia and Bugoy Drilon—and the Hot Kids Star Quest 2009, which pooled the most adorable kids in town, and was attended by Jairus Aquino of Goin' Bulilit and the cast of Dayo ng Mundo ng Elementalia (largely created by Bicolano animators).

The last three days of the Kaogma Festival were even more exciting as pulse-pounding sports events again spiced up the celebration. The 4th Philippine Wakeboarding Competition, Kaogma Festival National Skate Jam, and 4x4 Isarog Challenge gathered riders from all over the country.

As the ultimate convergence zone for all things summer, CWC offers a world-class six-point cable ski system coupled with challenging kickers beckoning wakeboarders of all ages to grab their gears and head on South. The 4th Philippine Wakeboarding Competition was divided into the Men's and Women's Division, segregated into Open Wakeskate, Wakeboard, and Winch Park Challenges. Spectators saw some of the best tricks the country had to offer on the cable and rails.

Skateboarders also geared for CWC as buses located in Manila were on standby for riders to be transported to the competition proper. Taking on the challenging terrain were also the expert drivers from all over the country. Drivers conquered the LRAY shaped course and 20 best drivers emerged for the finals.

The Ms. Kaogma pageant, which was hosted by Bobby Yan, featured Bicol's most beautiful women also drew crowds. The finalists were then serenaded by no less than hot matinee idol Dingdong Dantes. Heralded as Ms. Camsur Tourism 2009 was the stunning morena, Ms. Farah Lopez; Ms. Camsur was awarded to Ms. Dominique C. Lagrimas, and Ms.Kaogma 2009 was Ms. Suzain P. Aguilar.

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The Kaogma Music Fest brought together the best bands in the country as well as the local musicians from all over Bicol. Amidst the rain showers, fans jammed to the music of local bands Chillitees, DJ Dubious, The Dawn, MYMP, and Sponge Cola, together with the Viva Hot Babes.

Katya Santos, with comediennes Philip Lazaro and Tuesday Vargas, gave away exciting prizes of up to a million pesos with the Hot Hot Millions. Raffle draws were also held in between games that offered cash prizes and gift certificates.

In a true spectacle of celebration that is the Kaogma, CamSur once again spread its happy spirit to the whole country.


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