Iloilo Dinagyang Festival: the Ilonggo cityscape, the deafening sound of drums, the cajoling of street dancers, and the deluge of people from different countries around the globe, all as one to celebrate Señor Santo Niño, the child Jesus.
Iloilo Dinagyang Festival History
The sought-after Iloilo Dinagyang Festival is held every fourth of January every year. It commemorates the arrival of Malay settlers and the barter of Panay Island from the Ati natives. It all began way back in 1967 with the arrival of the replica of Señor Santo Niño, the child saint, from Cebu at the San Jose Parish in Iloilo. Back then, the festival was merely Iloilo Ati-Atihan resembling the other Ati festivals in nearby provinces. The term ‘Dinagyang’ was first coined by Ilonggo broadcaster Pacifico Sudario, which means ‘merrymaking’.
In a bid to make the festival unique, the name was made official. Also, to promote local tourism, the tribal competition was put into play through the effort of the local government and the Ministry of Tourism.
Fifty years later. The Iloilo Dinagyang Festival is now a much-awaited, world-class event joined by locals and tourists from around the world. Over the years, the festival flourished. It gained an international following through tribe performances expressed through music and dance.
The festival also contributed to the economic, not to mention tourism, development of the city by pooling tourists and producing entrepreneurial opportunities for locals. Moreover, tribe members were also given the opportunity to perform internationally – in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan, to mention a few. Selected tribe members are even flown every year to participate in the annual Philippine Independence Day in the United States.
Dinagyang Festival, a strong contender in Aliwan Fiesta
Iloilo Dinagyang Festival is also a frequent winner in the annual Aliwan Fiesta. Dubbed as ‘The Metro Manila of All Fiestas’, Aliwan Fiesta is organized by Manila Broadcasting Company (MBC) together with the Cultural Center of the Philippines with prizes amounting to Php 3,000,000. Dinagyang was champion from 2010 to 2013, and 2017. As of date, the festival is a strong contender in Aliwan.
The festival not only highlights the tribal competition but also puts a spotlight on a number of events – liturgical celebrations, fluvial procession, a parade of lights, pageantry, and more. The Kasadyahan Festival preludes the tribe competition and is participated by different municipalities. On Dinagyang’s 50th year last 2018, Kasadyahan was upgraded to Fiesta Filipinas and invited by the Department of Tourism to compete and present provincial and municipal festival performances.
Miss Iloilo Dinagyang is also an addition to Dinagyang’s roster of events – not to mention the parade of brands that sponsor more events along Diversion Road or in the city. Last 2018, the festival’s 50th year, Sarabia Jewelry signed as the official jeweler of Miss Dinagyang, and the pageant was endowed with an official crown.
To further narrate the journey of the festival, the historic Iloilo Freedom Grandstand was taken down after its last Flag Raising Ceremony, February 5, 2018. It was relocated along Muelle Loney Street facing the historic Iloilo River to pave the way for the redevelopment of Sunburst Park.
The new grandstand is named ‘Dinagyang Grandstand’, and later reverted to ‘Iloilo Freedom Grandstand’ and was blessed January 11, 2019 – in accordance with the Iloilo Dinagyang Festival Opening Salvo. Sunburst Park, where the former grandstand stood, was turned over by the Tourism Infrastructure Enterprise Zone Authority.
Iloilo Festivals Foundation Inc.
Newcomer Iloilo Festivals Foundation Inc. takes centerstage. Newly elected officials of newcomer Iloilo Festivals Foundation Inc. (IFFI), headed by chairman Rito Carlos Peňa, took oath last September 16, 2019 at Hotel del Rio. The duly registered non-stock non-profit organization will oversee major festivals in the city. The event was graced by Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treňas, City Tourism Officer Ms. Junel Ann Divinagracia, and Rev. Fr. Raymundo Edsel T. Alcayaga, OSA of the San Jose Placer Parish.
Duly elected IFFI officials to include Rito Carlos Peňa as Chairman, Felipe Uygonco as Vice Chairman, Jobert Peňaflorida as President, Ronald Raymund Sebastian as Vice President, Angel de Leon as Corporate Secretary, Roland Uy as Treasurer, Ivy Gurrea as Asst. Treasurer, and Board of Directors Philipp Chua, Honorato Espinosa, Rogelio Florete, Molly Grande, Jose Marie Layson, John Alexander Que, Allan Ryan Tan, and Luis Tinsay.
The foundation is set to be the City Government’s partner for Dinagyang 2020 and onwards. With the new administration and partner organization, Dinagyang will be an enhanced and ‘leveled up’ celebration. It can be recalled that a number of consultative meetings were organized in the past weeks to give individuals from different sectors of the community a say in the event. The series of consultative meetings include meeting with stakeholders, a consultative meeting with the mainstream and digital media, and tribe managers.
Iloilo Festivals Foundation Inc Members
Rito Carlos Peňa, Chairman
Felipe Uygonco, Vice Chairman
Jobert Peňaflorida, President
Ronald Raymund Sebastian, Vice President
Angel de Leon, Corporate Secretary
Roland Uy, Treasurer
Ivy Gurrea, Asst. Treasurer
Philipp Chua, Board of Directors
Honorato Espinosa, Board of Directors
Rogelio Florete, Board of Directors
Molly Grande, Board of Directors
Jose Marie Layson, Board of Directors
John Alexander Que, Board of Directors
Allan Ryan Tan, Board of Directors
Luis Tinsay, Board of Directors
Iloilo Dinagyang Festival 2021
The sought-after Iloilo Dinagyang Festival is a go but will be compliant with health and safety protocols. Moreover, the event itself will be made digital. Prior to the decision, a consultative meeting was held with stakeholders and it was made apparent that there will be no mass gatherings, thus the move to go digital. Dinagyang 2021, the first-ever digital Dinagyang, is themed “One Dinagyang. One Iloilo. Halad kay Señor Santo Niño”.
The 2021 celebration is geared to help festival artists especially the Iloilo Artists Festivals Association (IAFA) group of festival performers, choreographers, designers, as well as other live artists that were badly affected by the pandemic. Virtual event highlights include the following:
- Virtual Opening Salvo
- Dagyang sa Calle Real
- Holy Mass
- One Dinagyang
- One Iloilo Virtual Program/Tribe Contest
- Virtual Awarding Ceremony.
According to Prof. Eric Divinagracia, Chair of the Digital Production Team, the 360 degrees concept will be approached in a different way: digital/shot in film; 360 degrees view, different angles; global – as the performances can be seen all over the world; putting the districts at the forefront, highlighting city landmarks.
The digital production will showcase the landmarks of Iloilo and the Panay Bukidnon story. Award-winning video production team Mayad Studios will be the official video editor. Moreover, the Iloilo Festivals Foundation Inc. assured the public that the performers were placed in a bubble with swab tests prior to practices and observed health and safety protocols prescribed by the government.
Furthermore, according to Gab Umadhay, Vice Chairman of the Dinagyang 2021 Steering Committee, although mass gatherings are not allowed, there will be some economic activities like trade fairs, food fests, and the like. As a safety measure, compliance teams will be deployed in the venues.
Pinta sa Kapiestahan. The Pinta sa Kapiestahan, an initiative by the Iloilo Festivals Foundation Inc., is the 1st Dinagyang Mural Painting Competition with activities set to happen from January 10 to 17, 2021. The competition is open to any interested group – each will be representing one of the seven districts of Iloilo City. The event will be held at the Atria Park District in Iloilo City.
Iloilo Dinagyang Market Market 2021. The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry – Iloilo Chapter, Inc. will mount the 5th year of its annual Dinagyang Trade Fair to continue its support to businesses, esp. our MSMEs. The Iloilo Dinagyang Market Market 2021 is scheduled to happen from January 18 to 24, 2021 at the SM City Activity Center (beside SM Supermarket).
Miss Universe Ph Rabiya Mateo and Kapuso Artist Roco Nacino to Host Dinagyang 2021
Miss Iloilo and Miss Universe Philippines Rabiya Occeña Mateo and Kapuso artist Mr. Rocco Nacino will be the hosts for Digital Dinagyang 2021. The Digital Dinagyang 2021 will be live-streamed in the following digital channels:
Facebook: Iloilo Dinagyang
Facebook: Iloilo City Government
Dinagyang Festival 360°
The Iloilo Festivals Foundation Inc, to further thrust the city’s ‘level up’ promise, will highlight a 360° performance or an ‘arena’ type of performance. Consistent competing tribes include the following:
— Tribu Panayanon, Iloilo City National High School
— Tribu Barriohanon, Bo Obrero National High School
— Tribu Dagatnon, Ramon Avanceňa Memorial High School
— Tribu Salognon, Jaro National High School
— Tribu Ilonganon, Jalandoni National High School
— Tribu Paghidaet, Lapaz National High School
— Tribu Binhi, Melchor L. Nava High School
— Tribu Hugponganon, Tiu Cho Teg – Ana Ros Foundation
Hotel Accommodations in Iloilo for Dinagyang Festival
Courtyard by Marriott Iloilo
Address: Iloilo Business Park, Mandurriao, Iloilo City
Tel. No. (033) 330 7600
GT Hotel Iloilo
Address: 15J Majestic Building, De Leon St, Iloilo City
Tel. No. (033) 335 3254 | Cel No. 0917 654 8885 / 0998 967 7609
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Hotel del Rio
Address: M.H. Del Pilar St, Molo, Iloilo City
Tel. No. (033) 335 1171 to 75 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Park Inn by Radisson Iloilo
Address: SM City Complex, Mandurriao, Iloilo City
Tel. No. (033) 500 0001
Richmonde Hotel Iloilo
Address: Iloilo Business Park, Mandurriao, Iloilo City
Tel. No. (033) 328 7888 | Email: email@example.com
Seda Atria Hotel
Address: Atria Park District, Mandurriao, Iloilo City
Tel. No. (033) 506 8888 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information:
Iloilo Festivals Foundation Inc
G/F Ker Building, Iloilo City
(033) 3207581 | email@example.com