Hirinugyaw-Suguidanonay Festival: A Joyous Display of Cultural Pride and Legacy of Calinog

Text and photos by Bombette G. Marin

Calinog, Iloilo is holding one of the most unique and authentic festivals in the province as it celebrates its local identity and roots.

Hirinugyaw-Suguidanonay Festival started on January 24 (Friday) and will end on February 2 (Sunday).

The presentation has two portions, a combination of the pre-Hispanic celebration of the Sulodnons or Panay Bukidnons, and the Catholic tradition of Sr. Sto. Nino. It opens with the Suguidanon segment and ends in Hirinugyaw.

The unique community of the Panay Bukidnons of Calinog seeks to promote and honor their culture and heritage. This segment is performed and displayed in sections from the chosen chapters of the epic ballad Hinilawod. It is a vibrant celebration brimming with historic costumes, folkloric dances and the re-enactment of several legendary folkloric characters.

The segment also showcases the unique costumes, music, dance, and cultures that make up Calinog’s diverse heritage.

Prepare to be swept away by the rhythm of the drums, battle cries, and pounding feet as dance troupes simultaneously perform an array of traditional and contemporary choreographies for the second segment, the Hirinugyaw segment. Intricate hand-crafted headdresses and hand props come together in a sensory burst of color to celebrate Señor Sto. Nino.

Themed “Kulturang Calinognon nga may Himpit nga Pagtuo kay Senior Sto. Nino, Dalan sa Pag-uswag ka Banwa kag Turismo,” the highlight of the festivity is the annual tribe competition on February 2 (Sunday) at 7:30 a.m.

Hirinugyaw-Suguidanonay Festival is one of the largest indigenous celebrations in Iloilo Province, and it has quickly become a sought-after experience by festival lovers from all over the country. It is the perfect opportunity to explore the intricate cultural threads that weave Calinog’s past, present, and future together.

The First-Class municipality of Calinog is situated at the central portion of the province and is 59.3 kilometers away from Iloilo City. It is bounded in the north by the municipality of Tapaz, Capiz; northeast by the municipality of Bingawan, Iloilo; northeast by the municipality of San Remegio, Antique; south by the town of Lambunao, Iloilo; southeast by the municipality of Dueńas, Iloilo and; southwest by the town of Valderrama, Antique. It has a total land area of 23,280 hectares and politically subdivided into 59 barangays.

Calinog is populated by 60,413 Calinognons (2015 Census on Population). The market day is every Tuesday. It annually celebrates its Religious Fiesta every 8th of December in honor of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception.

To get to the town, one can take a van at the Ungka Transport Terminal (fronting Christ the King Memorial Park) or CBL bus liner at Robinsons Place Pavia Terminal in Barangay Ungka-II, Pavia, Iloilo.