Iloilo News & Events

GET READY TO ‘DAGYANG’: Dinagyang 2023 preps now full-blown, exciting activities await revelers

By: Glenda Tayona – Monday, November 28, 2022

ILOILO City – All hands are on deck less than two months before the most-anticipated Dinagyang 2023. Preparations are in full swing for the return of the face-to-face celebration of the world-class festival.

According to Iloilo Festivals Foundation Inc. (IFFI) executive director Joyce Clavecillas, the Dinagyang working committees have been holding regular meetings with support groups for the various festival activities.

“Full-blown na ang preparations,” said Clavecillas, noting that competing tribes are now in the thick of putting together their costumes and performances.

Mayor Jerry P. Treñas said the 2023 Dinagyang will be a bigger and livelier celebration of faith back on the streets of the metropolis.

For the past two years, Dinagyang was celebrated virtually because of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

The root word for Dinagyang is dagyang, Hiligaynon for “to make merry”. Dinagyang is the present progressive word which means making merry or merry-making

Next year’s staging will be doubly exciting. Spectators will be seeing two major performance events as the highlights of the festival – the Dinagyang sa Barangay tribes competition and the Dinagyang Ilomination.

Eight tribes are competing in the Dinagyang sa Barangay on Jan. 22, 2023, 8 a.m. to 12 noon, in four judging areas starting from the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand.

These are Tribu Sagasa, Tribu Parianon, Tribu Panaad, Tribu Familia Sagrada, Tribu Molave, Tribu Ilonggohanon, Tribu Kanyao sang Baybayanon, and Tribu Halimau.  

Another set of Dinagyang warriors will showcase their innovative performances in the Dinagyang Ilomination, a new tribes competition on Jan. 21, 2023 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the city’s New Business District on Sen. Benigno S. Aquino Jr. Avenue (Diversion Road) in Mandurriao district.

Clavecillas said that this time, the Floats Parade of Light will come side by side with the Dinagyang Ilomination. Seven competing tribes representing the seven districts of Iloilo City will slug it out.

Unlike the traditional Dinagyang tribe performances, the Dinagyang Ilomination competition will be highlighted by the tribes’ illuminated costumes and performances.

There will be three judging areas for the parade-type Ilomination competition. The first judging area will be at the Atria Park District Iloilo, then at the Diversion Road main (particularly at the SM City Iloilo) and the last stop will be at the Iloilo Business Park (Megaworld business district).

To bring light and hope amid the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic is the rationale behind the Dinagyang Ilomination as conceptualized by Dinagyang artistic directors, Prof. Eric Divinagracia and film director Elvert Bañares.

“The message we want to impart to everyone is while kadamo sang challenges ta for the past two years because of the pandemic but we should not lose hope. There is always light at the end of the tunnel. We should always remember that Sto. Niño is always our guiding light,” the IFFI executive director stressed.

Ilonggos and visitors will also once again witness Western Visayas’ various festivals showcasing their respective culture and tradition through Kasadyahan sa Kabanwahanan competition in the morning of Jan. 21.

Eight festival contingents from Iloilo, Antique and Negros Occidental will vie for the Kasadyahan crown. The Kasadyahan committee is chaired by Dr. Eden Deriada.

“We are excited to welcome once again our different festivals from different towns and provinces. This is also a chance man para mapakita naton sa mga bisita kon ano pa ang iban nga mga festivals nga ari diri sa Western Visayas,” said Clavecillas.

Moreover, 18 Ilongga beauties will vie for the Miss Iloilo 2023 crown. Pre-pageant activities started last month yet. Currently, the candidates are focused on their multifaceted training such as the pasarela walk, personality development, and question and answer training.

The coronation night will be on Jan. 18 and the Miss Iloilo committee has invited some resource persons from Metro Manila who are experts in the field of beauty pageant for the event.

The Miss Iloilo winners will eventually represent Iloilo in national pageants such as the Binibining Pilipinas, Miss World Philippines and Miss Universe Philippines.

The Dinagyang Food Festival will also return for next year’s edition of the festivities. Revelers can treat themselves with scrumptious Ilonggo dishes and delicacies along the downtown streets from Jan. 19 to 22.

“The food that we will offer our visitors and tourists will complement the Dinagyang Festival kay kilala kita ya sa mga manamit nga delicacies. As they enjoy the Dinagyang they will also get to feast on our gastronomic treats,” said Clavecillas.

Dinagyang Festival will not be complete without its religious side as its highlight, as headed by the San Jose Parish Church.

Anchored on the theme, “Iloilo Dinagyang 2023: Pasalamat kay Señor Sto Niño”, next year’s staging of the festival will be the Ilonggos’ thanksgiving to Sto. Niño for the protection and grace, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thousands of devotees are expected to join the Sto. Niño fluvial procession and solemn foot procession on Jan. 20; Grand Religious Sadsad on Jan.21, and the Feast Day of Señor Santo Niño De Cebu High Concelebrated High Mass on Jan. 22. The Novena days will start from Jan. 13 until 22.

Meantime, Clavecillas noted that the religious Sto. Niño motorcade, which was carried out during the past two years’ pandemic celebration in lieu of the fluvial procession, will continue, specifically on Jan. 18.

“The Sto. Nino image will go around the main thoroughfares of the city because damu gid ya mga devotees gusto makita si Sto. Niño naton,” she added.

The grand Pamukaw for the Dinagyang 2023 will be held on Dec. 16, 2022 while the opening salvo is set on Jan. 13.

On the other hand, security and traffic management preparation are also in place.

Clavecillas said the IFFI security committee has been in constant coordination with the Philippine National Police, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Public Safety and Transportation Management Office (PSTMO), and other force multipliers to make sure that security deployment and traffic plans for the different activities are in place.

As to the Dinagyang tickets, Clavecillas said the tickets and stage committee is targeting to start selling them by December.

For now, they are finalizing the number of seats that will be available in the different stages. Just like the previous Dinagyang, tickets will be made available in some partner hotels in the city.

With all these events and activities related to Dinagyang, Clavecillas said they expect a huge influx of visitors. However, she emphasized that the IFFI and the city government still encourage everyone to wear facemask especially in crowded areas.

“Despite nga naghalog na ang restrictions, for us it is still advisable to wear facemask in crowded areas and observe minimum health protocols like hand sanitation. If you are not feeling better, you might not join the festival….we want nga safe sa gihapon ang aton mga bisita,” she said.

Meanwhile, IFFI chairman Rito Carlos “Judgee” Peña, IFFI president Jose “Joe Marie” Layson Jr. and the rest of the Board of Trustees are thankful to the strong support of Treñas and the entire Iloilo City government.

The city government is giving P30-million subsidy for the Dinagyang 2023.

The tripartite agreement for the Dinagyang 2023 was also inked recently among the city government, San Jose Parish Church and IFFI./PN


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