APRIL 28, 2006 (STAR) By Aurea Calica - President Arroyo led the commemoration of the Battle of Mactan here yesterday where she stressed the importance of patriotism and unity in difficult times.

In her speech, the President thanked Cebuanos for their support for her and said the country’s biggest enemy is no longer foreign aggression but poverty.

She called for unity to achieve peace and development and finally win the fight against poverty.

Mrs. Arroyo explained that the government had to implement necessary fiscal reforms in order to improve the country’s overall condition and expressed gratefulness for the people’s sacrifices.

The President also watched the reenactment of the Battle of Mactan, dubbed "Kadaugan sa Mactan," near the Liberty Shrine here with actors Alfred Vargas and Ramon Christopher acting as the valiant Cebu chieftain Lapu-Lapu and Portuguese explorer and conqueror Ferdinand Magellan, respectively.

The program also featured choreographed dances and pyrotechnics which delighted the audience, especially children who cheered the "explosions" during the fight scenes.

A Huey helicopter was also used to shower confetti and pay tribute to those who died in the battle in lieu of the traditional wreath laying ceremonies.

Tourism Secretary Ace Durano said the reenactment of the Battle of Mactan is now one of the festivals being promoted by the Cebu government to attract both local and foreign tourists.

He said the President had been Cebu’s top tourism promoter. As it is, the province is already the number one tourist destination in the Visayas. He noted though that the tourism department is only in charge of the promotion but not the festival itself.

But the President congratulated the people behind this year’s production and said that the program was "a lot better" than before. She told Cebuanos to be ready for the challenge of hosting the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in December.

At the 'Kadaugan sa Mactan' fete: Pres. Arroyo urges Cebuanos to unite in war against poverty The Freeman 04/28/2006

President Gloria Arroyo yesterday called on all Cebuanos to continue united in the fight against poverty, which is not however more severe in Cebu than in other parts of the country.

Speaking during the 27th annual observance of the Kadaugan sa Mactan in Lapu-Lapu City, Mrs. Arroyo said poverty is the number one enemy of the people.

The President, wearing jeans and a Kadaugan sa Mactan-printed shirt, praised the Cebuanos for keeping up with its effort to make the province more progressive and one of the favorite tourist destinations in the country.

Mrs. Arroyo's five-minute speech came after watching the 30-minute Kadaugan celebration, which was a reenactment of the battle between native chieftain Datu Lapulapu and the invading Portugese explorer and navigator Ferdinand Magellan in pre-Hispanic times.

"With this celebration, Mactan is one of the favorites among the tourists because of your famous and beautiful beaches," the President told the crowd amid deafening applause.

Arroyo also mentioned the coming holding of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit this December 11 to 14, when 18 heads of state and other dignitaries will come to Cebu.

She praised the hospitality of the residents of Lapu-Lapu City, which is one of the venues of the international gathering along with Cebu and Mandaue cities. "Friendly kaayo ang mga tawo sa Mactan," said the President.

About a thousand witnessed the Kadaugan celebration but it was the movie actors who earned the biggest cheers.

The actors who reenacted the Kadaugan were Alfred Vargas who played Lapulapu, Ramon Christopher Gutierrez as Magellan, and sexy star Criselda Volks as Bulakna, the wife of Lapulapu.

Hundreds of city residents also joined the colorful reenactment as native dancers and soldiers of Mactan island.

The Kadaugan sa Mactan depicted the victory of the natives against foreign invasion when Lapulapu and the natives defeated Magellan and his men on the beach of the now known barangay Mactan.

Kadaugan sa Mactan (literally means "Victory at Mactan") was used to be called Bahugbahug sa Mactan ("Melee at Mactan") and was first staged with a reenactment in 1981.

It is now deemed among the significant events in Philippine history that have withstood as testimony to the rich heritage of the Filipinos. - Mitchelle P. Calipayan and Jose P. Sollano

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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