Monday, January 23, 2012

Hala Bira Ilo-ilo! My first Dinagyang Experience

January is filled with festivities in the Philippines in honor of the baby jesus or Santo Niño. A week ago, I was able to experiece again Sinulog Festival in Kabankalan City. This weekend, however, is my first time to visit Ilo-ilo for their yearly fiesta in honor of the same patron. It was a first time for me to experience Dinagyang Festival.

Dinagyang came from the Hiligaynon term "dagyang" or "to enjoy oneself". The festival is also held to celebrate the arrival on Panay of Malay settlers and the subsequent selling of the island to them by the Atis.

Videoke time for Vince's birthday

I arrived in Iloilo City afternoon of Saturday, January 21, where I immediately witnessed a dance parade competition between differnet business establishments and schools of the city. My friends Jake and Vince fetch me and went to Robinson's as well as SM to have a little snack. The picture taking began then since most malls have their employees in their dinagyang costume, matched with black paint all over their skins to resemble an ATI. Had a little rest at Jake's home and off to party at night. It was also Vince's birthday so we went to have videoke night at Smallville 21. The party continues while me and some friends went to the Philip Morris booth for unlimited drinks. We went home at around 4 in the morning.

Due to heavy partying, we woke up up late in the morning, thus the reason why we are not able to watch the dance parade live (Jake's house is 30 mins away from the city proper via car). So while having breakfast, we watched the live telecast instead. It was then afte lunch we went to join the people on the streets. Picture taking time again, this time with the contenders for the tribal dance competition. The partying never stops Sunday night, as we went back to Smallville and meet some new friends, as well as familiar faces from Bacolod City.

I went home Monday afternoon with another smile in my face. Another event to add to my list this year. Although I was a bit disappointed not able to watch the tribal dance competition live, this definitely gave me a reason to go back next year to experience it with my own eyes. And yes, I had my last song syndrome with this year's Dinagyang chant.. ♫ Hala Bira! Iloilo ♫

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