By Rjay Zuriaga Castor
“Foundation, Faith, and Future.”
The 2022 edition of the Dinagyang Festival, with the theme “Padayon Iloilo! Upod kay Senor Sto. Niño”, is the grand winner of the Best Cultural Festival Award in the city category.
The Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines Inc. (ATOP) conferred the award in a ceremony as part of the 24th ATOP National Convention in Boracay Island.
“This prestigious recognition is a testament to the dedication, creativity, and passion of everyone involved in making the Iloilo Dinagyang Festival 2022 Padayon a resounding success,” said the Iloilo Festivals Foundation Inc. (IFFI) in a statement.
The award was received by IFFI Executive Director Joyce Ann Clavecillas, Eric Divinagracia and Elvert Bañares, artistic and creative directors of the Dinagyang, respectively, and Iloilo City Tourism Officer Junel Ann Divinagracia.
“This acknowledgment inspires us to continue pushing boundaries and elevating the cultural festival experience year after year,” the IFFI added.
The 2022 Dinagyang Festival is the second edition with almost all festivities being live-streamed via Facebook and YouTube amid the pandemic and mass gathering is not allowed.
Aside from showcasing Ilonggos resilience, the virtual celebration not only showcased the resilience of the Ilonggo community but also highlighted seven core Ilonggo values through performances by seven competing tribes representing different districts of the city: Arevalo, Molo, City Proper, Mandurriao, Jaro, La Paz, and Lapuz.
These Ilonggo values in the spotlight included Pagsinadya (Celebration), Pag-amliganay (Nurturing), Paghigugma (Love), Pagpahanggud (Growth and Development), Pagtilipon (Gathering), Paghirupay (Closeness), and Pag-intindihanay (Understanding).
In 2021, Dinagyang’s first online version was a lone awardee of the Best Tourism Practice during the Pandemic Special Category.
The award marked a back-to-back win for Dinagyang, as its 2020 edition was also recognized as the grand champion in the Best Tourism Event (Festival) As Contemporary/Non-Traditional Expression category by ATOP.