By Emme Rose S. Santiagudo, Correspondent
ILOILO CITY — Organizers of the city’s annual Dinagyang Festival are planning to bring the street dance performers on a nationwide tour this year to promote Ilonggo culture.
“In the succeeding months, we will endeavor to bring Dinagyang to its first Philippine tour. It will participate in various festivals,” Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation Inc. (IDFI) President Ramon Cua Locsin said during the opening program for the Dagyang tribes dance competition last Jan. 27.
Dinagyang, which means revelry or merrymaking in the Hiligaynon dialect, was originally celebrated mainly in honor of the Sto. Niño (image of the baby Jesus), but has evolved to include the overall cultural heritage of Iloilo.
Annie D. Sartorio, judging committee chair of the festival, said all the performing “tribes” showed significant refinement in terms of choreography and costume as well as stronger conveyance of local cultural values this year.
“All the tribes improved a lot… They are two steps higher than last year,” she said.
Ms. Sartorio noted that the improvements could be attributed in large part to the workshops organized last year by the IDFI.
In September, the first Iloilo Dinagyang Rhythm and Vibes Conference 2018 gathered participating groups and affiliates to have a deeper appreciation and understanding of Ilonggo culture. The event also included lectures and workshops on music, choreography, costume and props, visual production, and resource management.
This year’s dance competition also had specific guidelines on reflecting one of 14 identified Ilonggo cultural practices such as pangabi-abi (festive welcome), paghigugma (courtship), bayluhay (barter), pagpahangud (rites of passage), and pagtuo (faith), among others.
Eight competing tribes and two non-competing tribes showcased their performances during the Dagyang tribes dance competition on Jan. 27, the highlight of the celebration.
The competing tribes were Tribu Panayanon of Iloilo City National High School, Tribu Salognon of Jaro National High School, Tribu Paghidaet of La Paz National High School, Tribu Ilonganon of Jalandoni National High School, Tribu Dagatnon of Ramon Avanceña National High School, Tribu Hugponganon Pan-ay of Fort San Pedro National High School, and Tribu Barriohanon.
The non-competing tribes were Tribu Miro, composed of the Ati community of Barotac Nuevo and Anila, and the Tribu Bola-bola, composed of alumni from Iloilo National High School.
For next year, Ms. Sartorio said further improvements could be made on the use of space and props.
IDFI said it will continue to assist the tribes in improving their concepts and creative content.
Iloilo City Mayor Jose S. Espinosa III also expressed support to the national exposure of the Dinagyang, noting that they have previously sent performers abroad.
“I agree with the IDFI that it would be good to bring it to other parts of the Philippines. We have sent them to other countries, so why not here,” he said.
The celebration of the 51st Dinagyang Festival also included ten performances showcasing the different festivals in Western Visayas through the Fiesta Pilipinas: Kasadyahan Regional Festival Competition.
The regional competition showcased the biggest festivals in the region such as the Manggahan Festival of Guimaras, Pintaflores of San Carlos, and Masskara Festival of Bacolod City, alongside other festivals in the province of Iloilo.
The week-long party also highlighted local food, drinks, and all things Ilonggo.