The Annual Sales Conference of LEADS happen together with the Ati-atihan. This is the time when employees who have excelled in their work in the previous year are recognized. Likewise, this is also the venue where all marketing and area plans are finalized for implementation. This exercise is where new strategies are developed. This has proven to be a reliable springboard that enabled LEADS to achieve what it has achieved for the past 17 years.
Senior Sto. Nino de Kalibo
There are many places in the Philippines where a Festival takes place to honor the Sto. Nino and there are three that seem famous than others: Sinulog, Dinagyang, and Ati-atihan. The Sinulog in Cebu commemorates Filipinos’ acceptance of Christianity while the Dinagyang in Iloilo, just like the Ati-atihan, celebrates the arrival of Malay settlers on Panay Island where Atis reside. LEADS chooses to give thanks via the Ati-atihan Festival in Kalibo because history tells us that this was where farmers and the Atis came down originally to pray for good harvest.
The Ati-atihan is termed as the “Mother of all Festivals”. Just like most Filipino Festivals, the Ati-atihan is a colourful, loud, and happy celebration. A contest of tribes takes place where the tribes dress up in different indigenous materials and pretend to be Atis or Aetas as they cover their skin in charcoal. The main event starts with a Holy Mass in honor of the Sto. Nino and later becomes a street party, famously known as “sadsad”.
ATI-ATIHAN: The LEADS Way
Since 1998, celebrating Senor Sto. Nino de Kalibo has been a company devotion for LEADS. This year, the Ati-atihan weekend coincided with Pope’s visit to the Philippines. All flights going to Visayas were cancelled save for, thankfully, the ones going to Kalibo. Eighty-four resources from the head office, the warehouses, the office in Davao, and other areas flew in to join this year’s celebration. Some had to walk from EDSA and Resorts World to the airport because of the closed roads due to the Papal visit but the team arrived all well nevertheless.
The LEADS family is a growing one; this year, several employees experienced the tradition for the first time. It starts with a thanksgiving mass, presided by their resident priest, Fr. Nilo, and continues with the sadsad. It is also this year that for the first time, the company sponsored their own tribe. It multiplied the fun as the folks themselves became a tribe of their own when everyone started to paint their faces with charcoal. One of the first time participants, Mr. Mike Curaza, Area Manager in Mindanao, thinks of the event as a very enjoyable and exciting activity with sadsad as the highlight. He adds that the experience also gave him a time to personally reflect on the past year and to think about his life plans. Along the way, the team also stopped in the cathedral to pray before they finished the sadsad. As the drums beat, the xylophones sound, as the tribe chants, everyone danced and cheered “Hala bira” with high hopes and faithful prayers for good harvest and a blessed year ahead.
The team stops by the Cathedral to light candles and to offer prayers.
Taken after the Sunday Morning Mass at the grounds in front of the Cathedral.
The LEADS-sponsored tribe… Hala Bira!
Written by: Mara Balayan