“Viva Sr. Sto. Nino!”
That is what Ilonggos are shouting today on the streets of Iloilo. Today is the highlight of the annual Dinagyang Festival. The Dinagyang Festival draws thousands of tourists, local and foreign, every year since I can remember. Google helps a lot in facts we mostly take for granted. I just learned that Dinagyang was formally started in 1977 when the Marcos government ordered the creation of festivities to honor the Sto. Nino. In Iloilo, the participating groups (called tribes) narrate in their performances the selling of the island of Panay to the Malay settlers by the local Atis.
The tribes wear very colorful and creative costumes. Most participants would even willingly sell their costumes to foreigners during the afternoon “Kasadyahan” or street dancing. You see, some foreigners like to take home souvenirs and they are not contented with the commercialized souvenirs being sold on the streets. They may be thinking that the costumes are more authentic:-) Well, the winning tribe could always ask for a higher price for their costume…
Pictures below were taken when I was in Iloilo last year for the festival. It had been years since I last joined the streets to watch the Dinagyang Festival.
It is worthy to note that the Dinagyang Festival was voted as the Best Tourism Event for 2006, 2007 and 2008 by the Associaton of Tourism Officers in the Philippines. I have no knowledge if it continues to hold the honor this year. Iloilo is a good destination to mark in your map and Dinagyang is a good festival to note in your must-see events:-).
By the time I’m writing this, the tribes may have finished their performances and the Kasadyahan or the street dancing is starting. Later this afternoon will be the most anticipated announcement of the winners.
In the meantime, enjoy and have fun!