Dinagyang of the Senses: See, Feel, Love

Festivals all over the world serve as platforms to better understand values, interests, and aspirations of communities. Music, dances, art and events convey the stories, preferences and talent of the locals. Through the various activities, performances, costumes, songs, organizers and participants, one can understand the process of change that these communities undergo as they evolve to become the place they aspire for.

The Iloilo Dinagyang Festival is the story of the Ilonggos. Through the years, Dinagyang never fails to reflect the struggles, triumphs, joy, playfulness, spirituality, commitment, and zest for life of the people in Iloilo.

This year’s festival theme “See..Feel..Love” encapsulates the invitation to experience Iloilo thru Dinagyang with all the five (5) physical senses: see, hear, smell, taste and feel. To not just look at colors, parade, procession, performances, art or people but actually see patterns, textures, diversity, shapes, craftsmanship at the Fluvial Procession, Fireworks Competition, Kasadyahan Competition, and Ati Competition.

That tourists and guests will be able to hear the messages being communicated and advocated in the Arts Festival, Dinagyang Photo Contest, and Miss Dinagyang Pageant. That the aroma of Ilonggo cuisine, street food, and menu of different restaurants, cafes, food festivals around Iloilo will evoke childhood memories, rituals and traditions, and reveal human ingenuity and innovation. That participants of the Dinagyang Fun Run, 4 X 4 Off Road Challenge, Swimfest and Awarding Ceremonies will be able to savour triumph and achievement.

That locals, tourist and guests will actually feel happiness from the smiles and laughter of people at street parties; excitement from awe-inspiring acrobatics and stunts; genuine care in Medical Missions; fervency of prayers and healing in the Religious Sadsad and Novena Masses, and the warmth of Ilonggo hospitality. May the Dinagyang Festival create lasting impressions, meaningful memories and provide numerous reasons for people to fall in love with Iloilo.

As this is the prelude to Dinagyang’s 50th year in 2018, this year’s festivity provides an opportunity for people to recall the numerous economic, social, infrastructure, administrative, and cultural contributions of the festival to the development of Iloilo. We can reflect on how the devotion to Señor Sto. Niño has influenced passion towards life, family, and relationships, and how it has inspired an attitude of determination, thanksgiving and generosity in the community. The same values govern the manner by which the City and Province have developed.

Despite adversity, challenges, and criticisms, the Ilonggos have remained resilient and united. As an ambassador of genuine public-private partnership, participation and travels in the Philippines and around the globe have created goodwill by bringing “pieces of home” to Filipino expats abroad and linking with Filipino communities there for collaborative endeavors.

Recent performance representation include the Philippine Festival 2015 in Tokyo sponsored by the Filipino community in Japan; the 15th AnseongNamsadang Baudeogi Festival 2015 in South Korea last October 6 to 11, 2015; the Aliwan Festival 2016, the 450th KAPLAG (450th Year of the Finding of the Image of the Santo Ñino de Cebu) and the 118th Philippine Independence Day Anniversary Commemoration sponsored by the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce in New York- New Jersey last June 2 to 12, 2016. The awards, status and fame of the Festival have become an effective promotional medium as it has raised the level of public awareness for Iloilo City and the Province.

Dinagyang 2017 poster
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