‘Ilonggo values’ front and center of Dinagyang tribal tilt comeback

A sneak preview of the Dinagyang Festival 2022 filmed performance. (Photo from Iloilo Dinagyang FB page)

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

The second Dinagyang Festival celebration amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to innovate, with the tribal competition making a comeback, this time showcasing Ilonggo values.

The Dinagyang Festival 2022’s Dagyang Tribes competition will depict the theme “Padayon Iloilo! Upod kay Senor Sto. Niño” with focus on three ‘Fs’: Foundation, Faith, and Future.

For this edition of the competition, performing groups will represent the city’s districts with the respective heritage, practices, and prescribed values, which are all components of the “Padayon” virtue being elevated by this year’s festival:

  • Arevalo – Pagsinadya (Celebration);
  • City Proper – Paghigugma (Love);
  • Jaro – Pagtililipon (Gathering);
  • La Paz – Paghirupay (Closeness);
  • Lapuz – Pag-intindihanay (Understanding);
  • Mandurriao – Pagpahanggud (Growth, Development); and
  • Molo – Pag-amliganay (Nurturing).

Unlike previous editions of the tribal competitions of the festival, featured dancers will comprise performers of all ages instead of high school students only.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of performers is limited to 20, with 15 accompanying musicians serving three performance clusters of 2 to 3 tribes.

There will be two major performance concepts: the live performance, which will be broadcast and judged by a panel of five judges from the Freedom Grandstand, and the filmed performance, which will be viewed by another panel of five judges between January 10 to 17.

Both the live and filmed performances may be viewed through social media, and will be uploaded in the next few days through the Facebook pages of Iloilo Dinagyang, Iloilo City Government, and Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas.

The competition’s overall score will be composed of 60 percent from the live performance and 40 percent from the filmed performance.

This will mark the first time that the tribal dancing tilt returned since 2020, after the “virtual-only” competitions for the 2021 edition of the festival due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a press conference on Tuesday, Jan 11, competition director Eric Divinagracia said that the most important element to be featured in the performances must be the Señor Sto. Niño and the Ilonggos.

“We will know on January 23 who will win among [the tribes], but the most important victor here is the Ilonggos, the most important victor is [Señor] Sto. Niño in this Dinagyang. We are asking the public to watch out,” Divinagracia said.

Divinagracia also said that in partnership with the Department of Education, the festival will be introduced as part of the curriculum starting with the 2022 edition.

“We are looking forward that the Dinagyang 2022 will be introduced as part of the learning materials, learning modules, performance tasks our students here in Iloilo City and in [Iloilo province] as well,” he added.

Gabriel Felix Umadhay, representing the Iloilo City government, said that they would be restricting the area for the live performance solely for performers to avoid superspreader events.

Umadhay also said that due to the city’s Alert Level 3 status and the current COVID-19 situation in the city, the activities have been trimmed down.

For activities which can be done live, there will be no audience, as participants in the activities will be ordered to undergo RT-PCR testing.

“There were original plans to have live events with crowds, but we restricted them because we don’t want to have superspreader events. We understand that one of the most-awaited events in the Dinagyang is the food festival but because of the Alert Level 3 status, food festivals will be restricted and will not be encouraged to be conducted,” he said.

Iloilo Festivals Foundation, Inc. president Ronald Sebastian said that the 2022 edition of the festival will have the Opening Salvo, Novena Mass, Pinta sa Kapistahan, Business Expo, Bugal Dinagyang, Dinagyang Drum Beats contest, Dinagyang Motor Show, Sadsad sa Mall, voucher sales, Religious motorcade, and Miss Iloilo 2022, among other events.