By Lydia C. Pendon
ILOILO CITY – The drums roared and the dancers sway as the country’s top tourism event starts ifs festival fever pitch on Friday, December 14 in the downtown streets of this southern city.
The Dinagyang Festival starts its “pamukaw” or wake-up call parade for everyone to join in the festivities and be counted as those in revelry with the premier tourism happening in a premier southern city.
Slated with festival highlights on January 25-27, 2013, the festival will feature school-based groups for the Tambor, Trompa, Musika competition with 9 contestants for the Kasadyahn competition and 11 ati-atihan tribes.
Robert Alor, chairman of the Ati-atihan Tribe committee said the period for admission of entries in the Ati-Tribe Competition is already closed with 11 groups participating. These are Tribu Ilonganon, Atu-atub, Buntatalan-on, Molave, Milagrosa, Panayanon, Pag-asa, Angola, Salognon, Aninipay and Bantu who will show colorful performance in January 27.
Entries for the Kasadyahan Competition slated on January 26 are Tribu Salakayan of the municipality of Miagao, Binagtong of Nueva Valencia, Guimaras, Hugyaw of St. Therese College, Saludan of Tigbauan, Iloilo, Saranggola of Buenavista, Guimaras, Olalong of Cabalum College, Kaing of Leon, Iloilo, Bayluhay of San Joaquin, and Sinadya sa Halaran of the province of Capiz.
Tourism Reg. Dir. Helen Catalbas said she has invited other out-of-town entries from the province and willing to subsidize the hotel accommodation of provincial officials. Two Kasadyahan groups from the University of the Philippines Visayas and University of San Agustin are also planning to join the Kasadyahan competition.
Dinagyang Festival is the grandest festival celebration in the country and top government officials and business leaders are expected to see and join in the festivities. It is also the best practice of Iloilo City and winner of several awards in the country.