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Highlights of the celebration of the 1st Anniversary of Gapan City
August 12-25, 2002

To promote Gapan City's footwear industry,
a Tsinelas Festival is held along the front of the city plaza...

...with booths stretching from one end of the block to the other,
selling all kinds of slippers and sandals produced by members
of the Gapan City Footwear Cooperative.

Thousands of people troop to the city plaza for the 
August 19 live and remote airing of the popular noontime
TV show "Eat Bulaga."

Not even the roof of the public toilet is spared from fans
eager to get a vantage view of the proceedings.

Alas, it rains hard before the show is due to begin,
turning the once green plaza into a giant mudfield.
Worse, the remote broadcast fails to materialize
because of problems with the PLDT link in
San Miguel, Bulacan. Only a pre-taped production number
is aired. But the show at the plaza goes on,
with the spectators unaware of the technical glitch.

Every night, varied entertainment programs are staged
at the city plaza...

...a cultural presentation by the Department of Education...

...the search for "Mutya ng Gapan" with contestants coming
from all the city's barangays...

...an intercollegiate talent competition...

...even an inter-barangay harana festival...

...all thoroughly enjoyed by locals and guests alike,
including former Rep. Julita Lorenzo-Villareal,
Rep. Raul Villareal, and City Mayor Ernesto Natividad.

An afternoon bingo sponsored by Coca-Cola carpets the city park
with thousands of bingo cards.

On anniversary day, August 25, a commemorative program
at the city park is attended by Gov. Tomas N. Joson III,
three of the province's four congressmen, 
and ex-Rep. Julita Villareal who initiated the move 
in Congress to transform Gapan into a city.

Gov. Joson, Mayor Natividad and the other guests join
the San Nicolas High School Choir for the finale number.

Then it's time for the first Tsinelas Parade with all participants,
including Mayor Natividad and Vice Mayor Leoncio Mangahas,
wearing Gapan-made slippers.

A giant pair of slippers leads the parade...

...with floats displaying slippers...

...muses between slippers...

...and muses on slippers.

All Gapan barangays are represented, each with its own
color scheme...

...that goes all the way down to the members' slippers.

A blur of colors from costumed dancers...

...who sashay...

and wave their way through the parade.

Uh-oh! The curse of the Gapan City anniversary: afternoon monsoon rains
that spare no one, not even newly crowned beauty queens.

Participants brave the initial drizzle...

...then it starts to really pour and everyone heads for the nearest shelter.
End of parade.

At night, the weather clears up a bit for the anniversary's
final event -- the well-attended concert of the Aegis band.

Unlike the January 6 and May 1 fiestas, 
the Gapan City fiesta in August may be low on food and drinks,
but a sumptuous feast for the eyes and the ears nonetheless.

Digital photos and text by Ramon R. Valmonte
August 2002