‘YOU’LL BE SAFE HERE’: Dinagyang 2023 ‘in full swing’ for physical return

Ati tribe drumbeaters stir the city during the 2020 Dinagyang festival. Organizers of the festival assured a safe holding of the live and face-to-face festivities in 2023 amid various health crises. (Arnold Almacen file photo)

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

The Dinagyang Festival’s main organizer vowed to follow health and safety protocols as the 55th edition of the festival promises to be grand in its return to a full-scale physical celebration on Jan 13-22, 2023.

Iloilo Festivals Foundation, Inc. (IFFI) Executive Director Joyce Clavecillas told Daily Guardian that they would continue to adhere to protocols placed by the national and local governments to ensure that the colorful celebrations would continue without any health hazards.

This, considering the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, a monkeypox outbreak scare, and Iloilo City’s current state of calamity due to cholera and acute gastroenteritis outbreak.

“Whatever protocols the national government will still implement, especially the wearing of masks. For us in [IFFI], we’ve seen the wearing of masks has really helped because we are now outside participating in and facilitating activities in the past two years,” Clavecillas said in a phone interview.


“We believe that visitors would really understand if there are still protocols that the government would implement for the safety of everyone. Our list of activities will still be submitted for the city government’s review and we will abide by their protocols,” she added.

Major activities that will make a return will include the Dinagyang Tribal Competition (barangay-based and school-based) and sadsad or street dancing, Miss Iloilo pageant, street food festival, and fluvial procession.

Clavecillas added that they will be introducing new innovations to be integrated into the main activities, which they will be announcing soon.

The highlights of the festival will be on January 20, 21, and 22, or the last weekend of the festival, to celebrate the Feast of the Señor Sto. Niño (Child Jesus) at the San Jose Parish Placer in City Proper.

Clavecillas said the IFFI and its partners wish to put the liturgical celebrations front and center as giving thanks for the city’s resilience amid the two-year pandemic.

“What we want to highlight for 2023 is giving thanks to Señor Sto. Niño more than anything else, because for the last two years, it was very, very difficult for all of us. But at the end of the day, there are many things we have to be grateful for, that is why we want to give emphasis to giving thanks. We are still here, we are still thriving, and still doing what we wish to do for the city of Iloilo,” she said.

Announcements of dates and major activities will be posted online and through traditional and social media.