3,500 students light torches for Tuguegarao's 'Afi' Festival

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines – Thousands of students holding torches danced at the Cagayan Sports Complex to mark this year's opening of Tuguegarao City's "Afi" Festival on Friday, August 11.

Dr Chita Ramos, a dean of Cagayan State University (CSU) and overall head of the dance, said the 3,500 students are made up of junior high school students of Cagayan National High School and the students of the College of Human Kinetics (CHK) in CSU.

The dance, watched by over 10,000 people, depicted the tradition, religion, and culture of the people of Tuguegarao.

The city is celebrating is now celebrating the third Afi Festival.

Afi is an Ibanag word which means "fire." The city started the "fire" festival in 2014 to celebrate the title of Tuguegarao as the hottest city in the Philippines.

The hottest temperature ever recorded in the city was a scorching 42.2 degrees Celsius on May 11, 1969.

Councilor Jude Bayona said they have institutionalized the festival becase they want "to establish our own festival since Tuguegarao came from Afi, which means fire."

Tuguegarao was once a vast forest and grassland, and was cleared by burning. The words "Tuggi" and "Aggao," which mean fire and day respectively, are said to be the origin of the city's name.

Mayor Benben de Guzman said Tuguegarao is now preparing to beat the Guinness record of Indonesia for having the most number of humans parading with torches.

Indonesia, in 2011, set a world record with 3,777 flaming torches as part of a parade.

De Guzman said they will invite representatives from Guinness for next year's festival, as Tuguegarao tries to beat Indonesia's record. – Rappler.com