By Mariela Angella Oladive
“Hala Bira, Iloilo!
“Viva! Viva! Viva Señor Sto Niño!”
The iconic chants of Dinagyang will once again reverberate through the vibrant streets of Iloilo City as the Dinagyang Festival enters its final stage.
Themed “Pagdayaw kay Senor Sto. Niño, Padayaw sang mga Ilonggo!” (Praise to Señor Sto. Niño, dance of the Ilonggos!) not only the Ilonggos, but viewers and attendees from all over the world are tuned in for the much-anticipated Dinagyang Festival Ati Tribe Competition to kick off on January 28.
Marking its comeback, eight Ati tribes from different schools in the city are set to grace the stage with world-class performances. Each, not just vying for the coveted 25 million pesos worth of school projects grand prize, but also showcasing their deep devotion to Senior Sto. Niño.
Tribu Ilonganon of Jalandoni Memorial National High School
Founded in 1984, the iconic Ilonganon tribe, managed by Arlene Joy Alonzaga, has a rich history of winning, clinching titles like Dinagyang Festival Grand Champion and Aliwan Festival’s 2nd Place. Their unique name, combining “tribu” and “Ilonganon,” reflects the spirit of the Ilonggo people.
“[Center of their performance] Amo ang pagpakita sang pagpalangga kay Senior Sto. Nino, pagbulig kag paghatag sang bugal sa ciudad sang Iloilo. Bantayan nyo kami,” Alonzaga said in an interview posted at the city Mayor Jerry Treñas’ official Facebook page.
Tribu Mandu-riyaw of Mandurriao National High School
In 2011, Tribu Mandu-riyaw debuted in Dinagyang, earning a top-five spot and the Best in Discipline Award. Despite financial constraints, they returned as Tribu Amihan in 2017, clinching the 5th runner-up position. With impressive choreography, striking costumes, and the combined talents of choreographers, visual artists, dance directors, and dedicated performers, along with unwavering school support, Tribu Mandu-riyaw under Tribe Manager Hyde S. Pilla and Choreographer Robert P. Lapating is poised to deliver a competitive entry in this year’s Dinagyang Festival.
“Pagabantayan gid nila kung ano ka tahum kag talento ang may ara sa mga taga mandu- riyaw nga mahambal gid nila nga pwede pang world class,” Lapating told Daily Guardian.
Tribu Paghidaet of La Paz National High School
Gracing the stage for almost two decades, the Tribu Paghidaet led by Manager Ligaya H. Montelijao and Choreographer Steven Jacosalem, joined the Iloilo Dinagyang Ati Tribe Competition in 1999 and retains its name, symbolizing the peaceful journey guided by Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage.
In 18 years, the tribe secured runner-up positions and six championships, showcasing excellence and dedication. Despite non-participation in 2005, 2006, and 2013, the tribe consistently excelled with the support of school heads, choreographers, teachers, and the PTA. Notably, they achieved numerous awards, including the Grand Champion title in Dinagyang 360 during the 2020 festival.
Tribu Pan-ay of Fort San Pedro National High School
Tribu Pan-ay under the leadership of Tribe Manager Melanie J. Tabaculde and Choreographer Lonelle Robles Carado, have not only graced Dinagyang but also represented the festival on the global stage, spreading the spirit of revelry in the USA and Guam.
With a championship in 2011 and a sweeping triumph in 2012 at the Dinagyang Festival, including Best in Performance, Choreography, and Costume, the tribe has left an indelible mark. Their dominance extended to the Aliwan Festival, where they clinched champion titles in 2011 and 2012.
Rooted in their devotion to Senior Sto. Niño, they’re set to mesmerize with their performance.
Tribu Salognon of Jaro National High School
Adding colors to the Dinagyang stage since 2004, Tribu Salognon led by Dr. Cynthia J. Punsalan and choreography by George Susvilla Jr., is set to continue its excellence.
Crowned Grand Champion in 2016 and sweeping awards in 2017, they’re back with a legacy of dance, devotion, and accolades, ready to mesmerize the audience in this year’s Dinagyang.
“Ang dapat nga pagabantayan sang manog lantaw sa salognon nga kon paano kami mag hampang sa tunga sang stage, kag ipakita gd namon ang gina tawag nga Dinagyang power kag ang devotion kay Sr. Sto Niño,” said Susvilla Jr. in an interview with Daily Guardian.
Tribu Sigabong of Ramon Avanceña National High School
Formerly known as Tribu Dagatnon, Tribu Sigabong led by Salvador M. Besares and choreographed by Brian A. Francisco, is set to light up the streets with their explosive performance. They’ve been a part of Dinagyang since 2016.
Now, rebranded and back with fervor, Tribu Sigabong is set to light up the streets with their explosive performance and strong devotion to Sr. Sto. Niño.
“Ang ila dapat bantayan sa amon is a clear nga story, something new nga mga routine. May pasabog kami,” Francisco expressed.
Tribu Silak of Iloilo City National High School
Tribu Silak under the leadership of Tribe Manager Alpha A. Java and choreography by Ramil C. Huyatid has been an iconic presence since 1998. Originally known as Tribu Lunok, they’ve evolved into Tribu Silak, earning accolades like Best in Performance and multiple championships.Tribu Lunok the first tribe who performed in the Pasinaya Festival in Manila at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
Symbolizing the dawn of a new beginning with the blessings of Senior Sto. Nino-being bigger, better and wonderful – in the past, now and in the years to come, Tribu Silak is set to capture crowds with compelling storytelling and dance.
Tribu Taga-Baryo of Bo. Obrero National High School
Tribu Taga-Baryo, formerly known as Tribu Obreros, has been a vibrant participant in Dinagyang since 2014. This year, it is set to make waves under the management of Tribe Manager Raymond G. Jangit. with Romel B. Flogen, as the artistic director and choreographer. The tribe promises a spectacular performance, showcasing the rich cultural spirit of Brgy. Bo. Obrero, Lapuz.
“Watch out, buylog kita tanan kay we prepared a spectacular performance para mapabugal ang Dinagyang sa bilog nga kalibutan,” according to Jangit, a first time Tribe Manager of the festival.