Dinagyang Festival stands out as one of the largest religious and cultural celebration in the Philippines. The festivity is held in Iloilo City and is guaranteed to feed your senses with the striking performances and visually stunning props that it has to offer. The celebration includes a showcase of the city's exotic beauty, rich heritage of the people, unique cultural experience, and high spirits of all those who join.
The Dinagyang Festival celebrates two main significances. First, its religious importance makes the event a devotion to Santo Nino, or the Holy Child Jesus. And second, it is a historical marker of the time that Malay settlers arrived in Panay islands
History of Dinagyang Festival
The history of the Dinagyang Festival dates back to 1968, the year that the replica of the image of Santo Nino arrived in Iloilo City. Later in 1969, the Ati-Atihan Festival became a huge event with four tribes joining in the performances. It would soon grow into a more celebrated and elaborate celebration of numerous groups and tribes.
Then in 1974, the Dinagyang Festival was one to grab a spotlight on the "operation balikbayan" program that was sphere headed by the Ministry of Tourism. This project was done to provide a new tourist attraction in the city.
"Dinagyang" was only given as a name to the festival in 1977 by an Ilonggo writer and broadcaster, Pacifico Sudario. The term meant "merrymaking", which is a great way to describe the whole festival and the city of Iloilo.
2020 Schedule of Activities and Highlights
The Dinagyang Festival happens on the fourth weekend of January. This year, it will be held on January 24-26, 2020.
The festival is composed of three main events. First is the Ati Tribe Competition where tribes are competing with one another through a warrior dance. Second is the Kasadyahan Cultural competition, which is a showcase of the colorful cultural heritage of Iloilo Province and the Western Visayas region. And third is the search for Miss Iloilo Dinagyang.
You should also witness the street dancing wherein locals show a rhythmic stomping and chanting to drum beats. There is also the fluvial procession and the grand fireworks display to look forward to.
For more updates about the schedule of activities for the Dinagyang Festival 2020, you may follow their official Facebook Page.
- Make sure to finalize your travel plans and hotel arrangements to Iloilo in advance – hotels and flights get fully booked easily a month before the schedule of Dinagyang Festival.
- Bring tropical clothes that are light at comfortable as you will be immersed in crowds most of the time.
- Don't forget to try Iloilo's food specialties.
- Remember to use comfortable footwear that's fit for walking during long periods. Most streets will be closed to accommodate the stalls and places you want to explore.
- Be ready to witness the beauty and charms of Iloilo people; get your festive mood on!
HOW TO GET THERE
Whether you come from Luzon or other provinces of Visayas or Mindanao, the easiest way to get to Iloilo City is by plane.
From Metro Manila/Luzon
- Take an airplane ride going to Iloilo City. All local airlines has direct flight from Manila to Iloilo City. Iloilo is part of Panay Island. Aside from Iloilo City International Airport, Panay Island has 2 other airports namely – Caticlan and Roxas airports.
- Other option: You can also go by land (and sea) via RORO buses from Metro Manila to Iloilo City through Laguna-Batangas-Mindoro Oriental-Panay Island nautical highway.
From Visayas provinces/islands
- If there are no planes directly going to Iloilo City from where you are, you can travel to Cebu. From Cebu, you can choose to travel by air or sea going to Iloilo City.
- Bacolod City (Negros Occidental) is very close to Iloilo City. Just ride in a fastcraft or RORO ship from Bacolod Port going to Iloilo City - more or less 1 hour sea travel.
- The island province of Guimaras is, more or less, 15-minute sea travel away from Iloilo City.
- There are direct flights from Davao City, General Santos City and Cagayan de Oro City going to and from Iloilo City.
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