Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo - Philippines
Location and Cost
The Dinagyang is a cultural, historical and religious festivity celebrated in Iloilo city. You can join this grand festival by taking a local flight with the local airlines like Philippines Airlines or Cebu Pacific. There are discounted rates with these airlines if you book months ahead. The usual fare ranges from five thousand pesos up to six thousand pesos. The cheaper alternative is by taking a ferry with Superferry ships and other shipping lines. The trip however takes almost one day.
It honors the infant Jesus known as Santo Niño. It also commemorates the time when the Malays arrived on the islands of Panay. They settled there when the Ati tribes sold their lands to them. This is held every year during January's fourth weekend. During the week before the festival many of the hotels become fully booked. It is best to reserve a month before your arrival to secure a room of your choice.
This festival begun when Father Ambrosio Galindez introduced to the locals the ways of devoting to the infant Jesus,Santo Niño in 1967. A replica of the image in Cebu was given by Father Enderez as a present to his church.Many members gave the image a nice reception through a parade which started at the airort to the Iloilo streets. At first the parades were just joined by the parish members and they patterned the way they celebrated through an Ati-Atihan.
In 1977, President Marcos gave an order to all the Philippine provinces to have their very own fiesta to be able to attract more visitors thus boosting the industry of tourism. Iloilo then planned the Dinagyang. This festival started out with a large parade and a series of events honoring the infant Jesus.
What to See
Today the festival is celebrated with a number of events that include the following:
1.Ati-Ati Street Dance
2.Kasadyahan Street Dancing
3.Miss Dinagyang pageant
4.Free concerts and performances by local celebrities.
The Street Dance is the event that is popularly awaited by tourists and locals. It is a long parade of different tribes. The groups come from different schools. Many of the participants are high school students. They wear different masks and they have paintings on their bodies. This is also a popular contest among the schools. The groups that win get a prize from the sponsors and the organizers of the event. One of the rules is that their costumes should be made from materials you can find in Iloilo. This also helps promote the products made there. Today there are also free concerts which many people enjoy. The province invites local celebrities to join the festival and perform.