Organizers eye double the number of revelers in Dinagyang highlights

The crowd during the Opening Salvo of Dinagyang Festival 2024 in downtown Iloilo City

By Mariela Angella Oladive

Iloilo Festivals Foundation Inc. (IFFI) President Allan Tan said they expect the number of revelers for Dinagyang Festival 2024 to double compared to last year.

Drawing insights from last year’s records, Tan highlighted the over 100,000 turnout at the ILOmination event on Diversion Road.

With the event being free and open to the public this year, IFFI is preparing for double the number of spectators.

“We don’t have data yet on the arrivals, but our preparation is there. This year it’s for free. It’s not a ticketed event, so it’s a festival for everyone,” Tan told Daily Guardian during a press conference on January 22.

“For our downtown, in 2023 we had at least 50,000 attendees, and this year we are preparing for double that…With the support of our governor and the backing of each mayor in their respective towns, we are also expecting local tourists to flock to the city,” he added.

The ILOmination Streetdance Competition is set to illuminate the city’s streets on January 26 starting 6 p.m. featuring seven tribes – Tribu Ilonggohanon (City Proper), Tribu Kahirup of Pavia (Arevalo), Tribu Manduryaw (Mandurriao), Tribu Sagasa (La Paz), Tribu Sidlangan (Lapuz), Tribu IAFA (Molo), and Tribu Buntag-tala (Jaro).

Tan said they anticipate the highest footfall in the downtown area on Saturday, January 27, because of the highlights like the Kasadyanhan sa Kabanwahanan being scheduled to start in the afternoon and will continue until evening.

The Kasadyanhan sa Kabanwahan, known as the ‘Festival of Festivals’, is spearheaded by the Iloilo province and will commence at 1:30 p.m.

Promoting the new tourism slogan “Fun, Foodie, Friendly Iloilo,” it will showcase eight festivals in the province – Kaing Festival (Leon), Kasag Festival (Banate), Saad Festival (Leganes), Katagman Festival (Oton), Tultugan Festival (Maasin), Cry of Jelicuon Festival (New Lucena), Banaag Festival (Anilao), Hirinugyaw-Suguidanonay Festival (Calinog), Pantat Festival (Zarraga), and a special participation of Tribu Barangay Kapitolyo, a contingent from the Iloilo Provincial Government.

The following day will be the main highlight, the Dinagyang Tribes Competition, which will start at 8 a.m.

Eight local tribes will showcase their creativity and flair – Tribu Taga-Baryo of Bo. Obrero National High School, Tribu Mandu-riyaw of Mandurriao National High School, Tribu Paghidaet of Lapaz National High School, Tribu Pan-ay of Fort San Pedro National High School, Tribu Salognon of Jaro National High School, Tribu Sigabong of Ramon Avancena National High School, Tribu Ilonganon of Jalandoni Memorial National High School, and Tribu Silak of Iloilo City National High School.

At 3 p.m. will be the Sadsad sa Calle Real featuring five tribes participating in street dancing – Tribu Aninipay, Tribu Ibata sa Paghiliugyon, Tribu Molave, Tribu Panaad, and Tribu Parianon.

Meanwhile, organizers appealed to the public to be responsible tourists, urging them to be mindful of their belongings, and encouraging them not to litter around the city. Revelers are reminded that there are garbage bins around the city.

In support of the expected influx of visitors, Department of Tourism Western Visayas Regional Director Crisanta Marlene P. Rodriguez underscored the significant role festivals play in promoting local tourism.

“Napakalaking tulong ng mga festivals sa pagpromote ng turismo ng isang lugar and it has been proven and tested over the years. We are expecting that the highlights of Dinagyang would increase tourist arrivals,” Rodriguez said in a separate interview.

The director added that to boost visibility, they have invited several influencers from their central office to promote the festival.

With efforts in place, the 2024 Dinagyang Festival promises to be a jam-packed celebration filled with innovations and cultural richness, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the vibrant spirit of Iloilo.