My Dinagyang 2023 Festival Experience
HALA BIRA! DAGYANG NA TA! Iloilo Province is one of the most highly-urbanized provinces in the Philippines. It is not only known for its warm and hospitable people but this province is also home to one of the grandest festivals in the Philippines – the Dinagyang Festival! This Mardi Gras pays homage to Sto. Niño, the child Jesus. The feast of the Child Jesus is widely celebrated throughout the country every January and it kicks off all other festivals in the Philippines through this religious tribute.
My Dinagyang 2023 Experience
As a marching band performer myself when I was in my College years, I am used to the rush whenever parades and festivals are upcoming and every people come to celebrate! Now that I am one of those who now watch the parades and festivals go by and cover them for my blog, it is my first time to experience the Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo!
Coming from the Hiligaynon word “dagyang” or “merrymaking,” Dinagyang is one of the most sought after festivals to watch for in the Philippines. Coinciding with equally popular festivals such as Cebu‘s Sinulog and Aklan‘s Ati-Atihan, Dinagyang’s festive mood makes everyone dance to the beat while showing their devotion to the Sto. Niño.
My first time to see Dinagyang in action was when they participated in the annual Aliwan Fiesta, the Grand Festival of Festivals in Pasay City. Every festival in the Philippines converge in one event and I was just awestruck by Dinagyang’s grandeur. From then on, I always look forward to see this festival happens right where it was born – in the province of Iloilo!
Right at the beginning of the festivities, we whisked away from the airport, right to our accommodation, and to the festival grounds as the parade is about to begin. We cannot contain the excitement as it is my first time to experience Dinagyang Festival first hand! When we arrived in Iloilo, it is also the day of the “Kasadyahan sa Kabanwahanan” Parade where revelers and participating tribes celebrate in the streets of downtown Iloilo.
The party then started with festive dances and the mood was just happy and light. Luckily, we got to have a good space for us take photos of the tribes participating in this year’s competitions.
What to expect during Dinagyang Festival
As many other festivals, Dinagyang Festival is a season of merrymaking and devotion, some community-led activities also happen throughout the month of January highlighted by the Kasadyahan Parade where tribes get to showcase their prowess in the streets of Iloilo.
Another highlight of the Dinagyang Weekend is the “Dinagyang Ilomination” wherein participating tribes also showcase colorful floats at night with different lights and sounds showing the rich culture and tradition of Ilonggos through art. It is like a lantern parade of sorts and every participating entry did not disappoint. As a first-timer, all I said was “wow” all throughout the parades that happened that day. I was just baffled by the fact that they employed Signal Jammers throughout duration of the parades (which was a bit hassle for me because we cannot contact our friends even a few hours after the parade). I just only thought that this is for security reasons and it was just inconvenient for me. Anyway, overall, my first Dinagyang experience is fun and memorable as I also met new friends along the way and it prompted me to go back for Dinagyang 2024!
Truly, Dinagyang is not just grand festival where you get to enjoy with friends and family, but it is also a testament to a continuing religious devotion, celebrated in a festive and colorful way! Here’s to more Sto. Niño feasts with you, turistas! For the Dinagyang 2023 Official Results, click HERE to read more!
We’re born to travel!