Mayor Jerry Treñas on Tuesday said that the president, first lady Liza Araneta-Marcos, and their children, confirmed their attendance at the festival, held in honor of Señor Sto. Niño, on Jan. 22.
Also expected to attend are the ambassadors of Panama, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nigeria, Norway, and Hungary.
“We are very excited for Dinagyang. I think we have started the year very hopeful that it will even be better than last year,” Treñas said.
At least eight barangay-based tribes will be competing in the festival. These are Tribu Sagasa, Tribu Parianon, Tribu Panaad, Tribu Familia Sagrada, Tribu Molave, Tribu Ilonggohanon, Tribu Kanyao sang Baybayanon and Tribu Halimau.
The 55th Dinagyang Festival, which runs from Jan. 20 to Jan. 22, will be held mainly at the city center, but other activities would be staged in Mandurriao district.
Major events include the opening program on Jan. 13, Miss Iloilo 2023 pageant on Jan. 18, and the Dinagyang food festival from Jan. 19 to Jan. 22.
Fluvial and foot processions in honor of the Sto. Niño will be held on Jan. 20, followed by a grand religious “sadsad” (worship dance) and the Parade of Lights on Jan. 21.
On Jan. 22, the feast day of Señor Sto. Niño in Iloilo, a pontifical Mass would be celebrated before the Dinagyang sa Barangay Tribes Competition.
This year’s festival, which carries the theme “Iloilo Dinagyang 2023: Pasalamat kay Señor Sto. Niño,” will highlight the Ilonggos’ gratefulness to the Holy Child Jesus for his protection and guidance, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dinagyang started in 1968 when Fr. Sulpicio Enderes, OSA, with a delegation of the Cofradia de Cebu, brought a replica of the image of Sto. Niño de Cebu to Iloilo City. The image was taken to San Jose Parish Church where it is enshrined until now.
In 1977, organizers changed “Ati-Atihan” to “Dinagyang” from the Hiligaynon word “dagyang,” or merrymaking, to avoid duplicating Kalibo’s Ati-Atihan. Dinagyang is held every fourth Sunday of January while Ati-Atihan, like the Sinulog Festival of Cebu, is held every third Sunday of January.
SOURCE: PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER