Dinagyang returns to live action

The streets of Iloilo City will explode in colors and sounds once more as the Dinagyang festival returns to live action in January 2023, after two years of crippling lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Arnold Almacen/CMO photo)

By Sean Rafio

Iloilo City’s grandest festival, Dinagyang, is set to resume its physical celebrations in January 2023.

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas on Tuesday announced that the crowd-drawing event, which was suspended for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is back on the streets of Iloilo.

“It is high time we go back into the streets and exclaim: Viva! Viva! Señor Sto. Niño!” Treñas said in a Faceboolk post.

“Digital no more, Dinagyang Festival is back with a roar!!!” he added.

The Dinagyang, one of the festivals held in January in honor of the Señor Sto. Niño, is known for the performances of Ati tribes in its street dance competition.

The 55th Dinagyang Festival is slated on January 13 to 22, 2022, after the 53rd and 54th editions were mounted digitally due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Sa aton mahal nga Señor Sto. Niño, himpit guid ang aton nga pagpasalamat sa kahigayunan nga makabalik kita tanan sa dalan! Madamo gid nga salamat sa imo ginhatag nga bugay kag proteksyon sa tanan!” Treñas said.

The previous editions of the festival in 2021 and 2022 resorted to canned performances by selected tribes that were founded on various themes.

This year’s theme “Padayon Iloilo! Upod kay Senor Sto. Niño” highlighted the city’s resilience and attempt to rebound from two years of crippling lockdowns amid the pandemic.

The most recent festival focused on three “Fs” – Foundation, Faith, and Future – which reflected Ilonggo culture and values coupled with devotion to the Sto. Niño.

The tribes that competed this year were named after the seven core values of the festival:

Pagsinadya (Celebration) represented by Arevalo district;

Paghigugma (Love) by City Proper;

Pagtililipon (Gathering) by Jaro;

Paghirupay (Closeness) by La Paz;

Pag-intindihanay (Understanding) by Lapuz;

Pagpahanggud (Growth, Development) by Mandurriao; and

Pag-amliganay (Nurturing) by Molo.

Dinagyang also highlights the collaboration of the Iloilo City government, the San Jose de Placer parish, and the private sector through the Iloilo Festivals Foundation Inc.