Dinagyang festival

IN PHOTOS: Dinagyang Festival comes back brighter in 2023

Carl Don Berwin
IN PHOTOS: Dinagyang Festival comes back brighter in 2023
In a first for the festival, illuminated costumes light up the famous Diversion Road of Iloilo City as part of a new competition

ILOILO, Philippines – After two years of virtual celebrations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Iloilo’s Dinagyang Festival has finally returned in-person, and in the grandest fashion, on January 21 and 22. 

The Dinagyang Festival is held annually on the fourth Sunday of January in honor of the Child Jesus Señor Sto. Niño. The celebration is a fusion of religious and secular events that happen all around the city. Religious activities include the nine-day novena mass, the fluvial procession which also reenacts the arrival of the image of Sto. Niño from Cebu, and the religious SadSad in the San Jose Parish in Plaza Libertad. 

FAITH. Devotees of Señor Sto. Niño attend the concelebrated mass on the feast day of the Dinagyang Festival, Sunday, January 22. Photo by Carl Don Berwin/Rappler

The secular side of the festival highlights the Ilonggos’ rich culture and history through the Ati-Tribe competition, which has been ongoing for more than 50 years. The dances performed evoke the pagan traditions of the original settlers of Panay Island, the Ati-Tribe, and the story of how they were introduced to Catholicism via the arrival of the image of Señor Sto. Niño. 

VIVA SEÑOR STO. NIÑO. Tribu Molave Kang Salog wins 1st runner-up with their animal-themed performance. Photo by Carl Don Berwin/Rappler

Last 2020 and 2021, the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP) awarded Dinagyang Festival as the Best Tourism Event of the country, for still continuing the festivities virtually despite the ongoing health crisis. 

This year, the Iloilo Festivals Foundation, Inc (IFFI), the main organizers of the festival, introduced the “ILOmination” Tribes Competition as their newest spectacle. It is similar to the traditional Ati-Tribe competition, but held on the night of January 21, with illuminated costumes lighting up the famous Diversion Road of Iloilo City. It is aptly symbolic of the light gained after the dark times of COVID-19.

Seven competing teams joined the debut of “ILOmination,” representing the seven districts of Iloilo City: City Proper, Lapuz, La Paz, Molo, Jaro, Mandurriao, and Arevalo.

CHAMPION. Tribu La Paz bags the Grand Champion prize for the first-ever ILOmination Tribe Competition held in SM City Iloilo, Saturday, January 22. They received P1 million as their cash prize. Photo by Carl Don Berwin/Rappler

Here are more photos from this year’s Dinagyang Festival:

Photo by Carl Don Berwin/Rappler

Photo by Carl Don Berwin/Rappler
Photo by Carl Don Berwin/Rappler
Photo by Carl Don Berwin/Rappler
Photo by Carl Don Berwin/Rappler

Photo by Carl Don Berwin/Rappler
Photo by Carl Don Berwin/Rappler
Photo by Carl Don Berwin/Rappler

– Rappler.com

Carl Don S. Berwin is a Rappler Mover, travel photographer, and SharePH ambassador in Iloilo City. He is also an Accountancy student at the University of the Philippines Visayas.

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