The best in the Philippines

By Alex P. Vidal

“Maybe some people think that it’s all about the hype, about the fame, but it’s not. It’s all about being the best. It’s all about challenging myself everyday.”—Joanna Jedrzejczyk

THERE is no doubt that Iloilo City’s Dinagyang Festival is the best festival in the Philippines. It’s also the most admired and most viewed Aliwan Fiesta performance in the social media.

It was not the first time for the Ilonggos to capture the Aliwan Fiesta 2023 championship in the Streetdance Competition held in Pasay City on July 15.

In the previous years before the fiesta was canceled during the pandemic, Dinagyang Festival was already the winningest among more than a dozen festivals in the country.

The choreography, passion, intensity, energy, and discipline in the Dinagyang Festival are unique and high level.

Wherever our Dinagyang warriors perform—national and international—they always carry the spirit of a winner and heart of a champion.

Iloilo Dinagyang warriors always have something new and special to offer to the crowd, and it is not hard to earn the respect and admiration of the panel of judges, including independent observers.

Dinagyang Festival’s latest Aliwan Fiesta conquest will be a big boost to the efforts of Mayor Geronimo “Jerry” Trenas and other Iloilo City officials to include the local festival in the “Love the Philippines” official tourism slogan of the Department of Tourism.

There is no need anymore for DOT videographers or its contractors to use stock footage or borrow the videos of other cultural performances

as there are abundance of authentic videos of all the festivals in the recent Aliwan Fiesta.


The Commission on Elections (Comelec) should be empowered to cancel or to declare as null and void the victory of any barangay official—chairman, councilman, SK chair– found to be unfit mentally or with serious case of neurosis even after the barangay election.

So many cases of insanity involving barangay officials have been recorded in the past. Prevention over cure.

Instead of becoming an asset to the smallest political unit in the country, elected barangay officials with brain damage have become thorns and liabilities.

In one case in Iloilo City, a punong barangay or village chief missed a lot of opportunities to serve his constituents because he had to spend much of his time in the psychiatric ward of the Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC) in the early 90s.

In one media gathering held at the RPTA Hall of the old Iloilo provincial capitol sometime in December 1992, a deranged village chief suddenly barged inside and threatened to throw a grenade to the crowd.

The late broadcaster Sol Genson pacified the lunatic and convinced him to leave the premises.

Luckily, he listened to Sol, who was his drinking buddy.


Earlier when the late Pres. Cory Aquino appointed Rosa “Tita” Caram as OIC city mayor in April 1986, another lunatic village chief asked the first lady mayor in Iloilo City to extend the route of Dinagyang tribes to Port San Pedro “so that people of Guimaras and Negros can watch the event.”

Tita Caram, wife of former Iloilo assemblyman Fermin “Nene” Caram, dismissed his “crazy” idea.

A village chief in Jaro district used to being a monkey in the barangay hall insisting that “the monkey was my lucky charm and was responsible for my victory in a TV quiz show.”

He accused a barangay councilman of “poisoning” the monkey that actually died under a mysterious circumstance.

The lunatic village chief allegedly wanted to bury the animal at Christ The King Cemetery in Ungka, Jaro and allegedly wanted to use barangay funds, according to his critic barangay councilor (the councilor was probably joking when he said this).

“I opposed it and we had a shouting match,” averred the barangay councilman, the suspect in the monkey’s death, who came to our office at Sun Star Iloilo in the 90s to report the “abuse of authority.”

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)