By Mariela Angella Oladive
The Dinagyang Festival has consistently drawn huge crowds, which not only made the festivity a world-class celebration of faith and culture but an added boost to the city’s economic growth.
The festival offers more than just a spectacular display of colors and compelling performances as the streets were also filled with stalls and other small vendors who found opportunities to earn more.
“John Paul”, one of the ambulant vendors who sell street food in the city’s downtown area, said that there was an increase in his income during the highlight of the Dinagyang Festival compared to the usual days.
“Mas dako ang kita subong compare sa normal nga adlaw. Kon wala Dinagyang makalab-ot kami P5,000, subong mas dako pa gid,” he told Daily Guardian.
Another food vendor who sells Puto Bumbong also noted an increase in his daily earnings this Dinagyang season.
“Okay talaga yung benta namin dito kasi maraming tao,” a vendor who went all they way to Iloilo from Cebu just to sell.
Roden Lim, a seller of Sto. Niño clothes and images who came from Pampanga, said he has been coming to Iloilo for 10 years for the Dinagyang Festival hoping to earn more, noting that the festival is all about the strong faith and devotion of Ilonggos to Señor Sto. Niño.
“Ayos naman ang kita ngayong Dinagyang,” He expressed further adding his experience about stricter regulations for the vendors, stating “kaya lang mas naging mahigpit ngayon kasi kailang pa ng permit hindi katulad dati na hanggang sa hindi ka makakasagabal sa performances pwede kang pumwesto kahit saan.”
Aside from ambulant vendors, food kiosks also mushroomed on the side lanes of the city’s major streets for the Dinagyang Food Festival, which gave local businesses an income boost by offering Iloilo’s gastronomic delight.
Over 700 kiosks participated in the food festival located in the metro’s major streets, including the downtown area and the new business district in Mandurriao, which offered different Ilonggo cuisine and delicacies to tourists, giving them an experience of what UNESCO’s Creative City of Gastronomy looks like.
“We want to highlight all the gastronomic delights Iloilo City could offer especially since we have recently been recognized as Create City of Gastronomy. We will give foodies a whole new level of food enjoyment different from our previous food festival where all the dishes served are almost the same,” Jay Treñas, chairman of Dinagyang Food Festival previously said.
Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas also previously acknowledged the significant boost that the Dinagyang Festival can bring to the economy of the city, noting that it is a yearly festival that gathers thousands of visitors from all over the world.
Meanwhile, initial data from the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) indicated that they recorded a crowd of around 32,100 during the entire Dinagyang Ati Tribes competition on Jan. 28.