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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Dinagyang Festival - Hala Bira Iloilo!

The best tourism event in the Philippines, Dinagyang Festival continues to showcase the celebration of the Filipino spirit, our rich heritage, colorful history, and passionate devotion of our countrymen. It is celebrated every fourth weekend of January to commemorate the Christianization of the natives and to honor Sto. Niño - the Holy Child Jesus whom Ilonggos believe was very miraculous in times of famine and drought. It also shows the oneness of Ilonggos as it has become a community activity where schools, civic organizations, civil society, youth, professionals and the barangay residents are involved in making costumes and props and in preparing the needs of the competing tribes or "Tribus" during rehearsals.

The highlight of the celebration was the Dinagyang Ati Competition (Street Dancing Competition). The parade route of the participants passes through the main streets of the Iloilo City Proper. Certain sections of the parade route are designated as performance stages where spectators can watch the choreographed street dance of competing tribes. There are five performance stages, namely:
1. Freedom Grandstand
2. Iloilo Provincial Capitol
3. Delgado-Mabini Streets
4. Quezon-Ledesma Streets
5. Iznart Street

Competing tribes whose bodies are painted with black or brown to imitate the Negritos are also dressed in fashionable and colorful Aeta costumes. They dance artistically and rhythmically with complicated formations alog with the loud sounds of drums and other ethnic instruments.

Dinagyang was hailed as the Best Tourism Event for 2006 to 2008 by the Association of Tourism Officers in the Philippines making it the1st ATOP Hall of Famer in 2009. It is also the first festival in the world to get the support of the United Nations for the promotion of its Millennium Development Goals.


The festival began in 1968 when Fr. Sulpicio Enderes, OSA, with a delegation of the Cofradia de Cebu, brought a replica of the image of the Señor Sto. Niño de Cebu to Iloilo City. The image was enshrined in the San Jose Parish Church.

To commemorate the event, the first parish feast of Señor Sto. Niño was celebrated a year after. The champion and runner-up in the Ati-atihan contest in Kalibo in Aklan performed in what is considered the first Ati-Ati festival in Iloilo City. Since then the celebration of the feast is held every third Sunday of January, a week after the Kalibo festival. In 1970, the first Ati-Ati contest was held at the Freedom Grandstand. The Majapahit Tribe of Compañia Maritima won the contest.

The festival increasingly became a tourist attraction and after five years, the running of the festival was ceded to the city government because the Cofradia could no longer cope with the expanding activities. In 1977, in order not to duplicate Kalibo's Ati-Atihan, organizers changed "Ati-atihan" to "Dinagyang" from the Hiligaynon word "dagyang" or merry-making.

From 1978 to the present, the Dinagyang Festival has evolved into a big religious and cultural activity supported by both the government and the private sectors. It now features cultural presentations, sports competitions and various side events.

Here are the winners of Dinagyang Ati Competition from 1970 up to present:

2015: Tribu Panayanon
2014: Tribu Panayanon
2013: Tribu Panayanon
2012: Tribu Pan-ay
2011: Tribu Pan-ay
2010: Tribu Paghidaet
2009: Tribu Paghidaet
2008: Tribu Paghidaet
2007: Tribu Ilonganon
2006: Tribu Ilonganon
2005: Tribu Silak (open category); Tribu Pag-asa (barangay category)
2004: Tribu Bola-bola (open); Tribu Atub-atub (barangay)
2003: Tribu Paghidaet (open); Tribu Atub-atub (barangay)
1999: Tribu Bola-bola (open); Tribu Panaad (barangay)
1998: Tribu Bola-bola (open); Tribu Hamili (barangay)
1997: Tribu Bola-bola
1996: Tribu Bola-bola
1995: Tribu Binirayan
1994: Tribu Bola-bola
1993: Tribu Panaad
1992: Tribu Sagasa
1991: Tribu Sagasa
1990: Tribu Sagasa
1989: Tribu Binirayan
1988: Tribu Kongo
1987: Tribu Guimbal
1986: Tribu Kongo
1985: Tribu Kongo
1984: Tribu Atub-atub
1983: Tribu Binirayan
1982: Tribu Atub-atub
1981: Tribu Molave
1980: Tribu Himaya
1979: No Specific Winner
1978: Tribu Atub-atub
1976: Tribu Hamili
1975: Tribu Hamili
1974: Last Warriors
1973: Mamau Tribe
1972: Mamau Tribe
1971: Mamau Tribe Of Negros Navigation
1970: Madjapahit Tribe Of Compania Maritima

For more photos, check my album on this link:

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