By Rjay Zuriaga Castor and Mariela Angella Oladive
The Iloilo Festivals Foundation Incorporated (IFFI) said it successfully achieved its goal of doubling the number of spectators, and beyond the numerical aspect, the success is also evident in the unity between the province and the city of Iloilo.
“The entire Iloilo community is involved in Dinagyang […] One significant thing I can mention regarding the economic impact at present is that we can see the support from both the province and city of Iloilo when they work together,” said IFFI president Allan Ryan Tan in a press conference on Monday.
Tan emphasized that unity was manifested when the provincial government of Iloilo committed to hosting Kasadyahan sa Kabanwahanan for the first time.
“Before, the Kasadyahan event, you couldn’t see the support from people outside the city. Now, everyone has come to Iloilo, and they are proud to showcase their towns. Local tourists alone are already a bonus for us,” he added.
Kasadyahan sa Kabanwahanan is the ultimate Festival of Festivals, which showcased and gathered supporters of the nine festivals from different competing towns in the province.
The nine competing tribes include the Katagman Festival of Oton, Saad Festival of Leganes, Pantat Festival of Zarraga, Cry of Jelicuon Festival of New Lucena, Kaing Festival of Leon, Tultugan Festival of Maasin, Hirinugyaw-Suguidadonay Festival of Calinog, Banaag Festival of Anilao, and Kasag Festival of Banate.
In a statement, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas commended the provincial government for delivering a Kasadyahan sa Kabanwahanan that showcased Iloilo as a fun, foodie, and friendly province.
“This year was indeed a grander celebration of our Kasadyahan as a result of a stronger commitment from the Iloilo Provincial Government under Governor Toto Defensor,” he said.
Tan also noted that Dinagyang this year improved by designing it for everyone, especially with the free performance of the eighth school-based Ati-atihan tribes in Sadsad sa Calle Real.
He highlighted the non-implementation of signal jamming, which improved IFFI and the city government’s operation compared to last year.
“What you’ve seen now is all the suggestions and feedback that we received from last year to make it grander and better,” he added.
Tan said the improvement seen in the 2024 edition of the Dinagyang Festival is “a good benchmark” for another level-up version next year.
DELIGHTFUL LEVEL UP
The recently concluded Dinagyang Festival was hailed as a resounding success by Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas, who expressed satisfaction with the elevated performances, props, costumes, and choreography that showcased a remarkable improvement.
“Very successful ang Dinagyang. I think bisan sa mga Ilonggo nakita nila, the performances, the props, the costumes, and the choreography, daw naglevel-up na gid man kita,” expressed Mayor Treñas during a presscon on January 29, a day after the festival.
“Happy gid ko kay part of the prizes will be the project for the schools, and I will be visiting the schools, kag tanan nga naga participate will be getting P5 million (worth of projects)… The project will be decided by the schools,” the mayor added.
Meanwhile, local and foreign tourists who participated in the merrymaking shared their awe and enjoyment of the festival.
“As a first-timer makalantaw sang Dinagyang, mas lively kag colorful siya tulukon in actual kesa sa TV lang,” shared Joy, a local from Lapuz, to Daily Guardian.
She highlighted the liveliness and vibrancy of the festival, expressing that it is more captivating in person than on television.
Elaine, a first-time visitor from Italy, also expressed her amazement, saying, “For today [January 28] and yesterday, it [the celebration] was beautiful. The performances of the tribes were very nice.”
Janette Congreso, a regular attendee of Dinagyang Festival, commended the exceptional talents on display.
“Every year ng Dinagyang pumupunta talaga kami dito at ang gagaling talaga kung ako yung judge mahihirapan akong pumili ng mananalo.”
The Dinagyang Festival, often dubbed as the “Queen of all Festivals” and recognized as the best cultural festival in the country, continues to captivate both locals and international visitors, not only with its vibrant performances but also as a reflection of the residents’ strong devotion to Senior Sto. Niño.