What’s new in Dinagyang 2013?

Ben JimenaDinagyang never failed to attract attention and remained interesting with something new and something different this year.   It never runs out of innovative and creative concepts that continueto amaze and entertain the market.

For 2013, the ‘news’ include Dramaturgy,

Tribu Miro, Sariling Ati, Travel Mart, Tour Circuits  and the QR code.

The International Playwright Forum brought a dramaturgy workshop to the festival that allowed visiting foreign experts in the field of arts to share their knowledge with the local dance maturgy.  Choreographers learned how to use dance that convey a story for the better appreciation of the audience.  Four foreign playwrights watched the showdown performances in the Freedom Grandstandand shared their observations in a workshop last January 28th and 29th at the Penthouse of the Iloilo City Hall.

The Dinagyang Festival Committee planned for a long time to integrate the Ati in the celebration of the festival but it was difficult to connect with them for there were no known organized indigenous group that came forward to communicate with the festival organizers.  There were several earlier attempts by meaning people to facilitate the integration plan but it was not until the group from Anilao and Barotac Viejo took the courage to come out and volunteer to join the celebration.  The festival organizers took it as a welcome move and a show of sincere cooperation from the Ati.  TribuMiro was born and got its first public exposure during the Opening Salvo.

In connection to this development, another newly organized event showcased the “inati” culture.  True-blooded Ati from the towns of Anilao, Janiuay, Barotac Viejo, and the Province of Guimaras gathered in front of Viewing Stage # 4 at Iznart Street-Ma Clara Area last January 25.  RMN organized the cultural program that featured songs and chants, poetry and binalaybay, dances and sadsad. Also there was a trade fair that displayed theAeta crafts like kalalaw, duyan, banig and other bamboo products.

The different towns of Iloilo were featured in the first ever Iloilo Travel Mart, spearheaded by the Iloilo Tourism Officers Association (ITOA).  Nineteen municipalities set up their exhibit booths at the activity center of Marymart Mall along Valeria and Delgado Streets.  They offered package tour for local attractions in their respective areas.  The project was a collaboration of the ITOA with the Iloilo Business Club, Iloilo City Tourism Council, DOT 6, and other private sponsors.  The exhibit lasted for 7 days, from January 19 until January 25.

The travel mart was the venue for the launch of the first two Metro Iloilo-Guimaras Sustainable Tourism Agenda (MIGSTA)circuits for Iloilo City and Guimarason January 21st.  The circuits have been designed to enable visitors to experience the magnificence of heritage structures in Iloilo City and the splendor of natural attractionsin Guimaras.

“Iloilo City’s wealth of historic commercial, residential, government, and religious buildings provides the base for many of the commercial tour packages currently offered by local tour operators. As an island, Guimaras offers an extensive array of beach areas and clusters of small islands suitable for resort development.”

The other tour packages forMIGSTA are the Santa Barbara-Pavia-Leganes loop and the Oton-San Miguel-Cabatuan triangle.

The Iloilo River and Esplanade hosted the water ski-swimwear fashion show for the Miss Iloilo Dinagyang finalists.  The occasion brought the spotlight not only to the ten gorgeous ladies cruising the river on water skis and changing swimsuit thrice on the ramp but also to the majestic sunset slowly fading into the western horizon.  Sunset by the river outlines the magnificent twin spires of the Molo Church, a beautiful backdrop for this new special event.

There were a number of exhibits scattered at the lower ground floor of SM City Iloilo:Best of Iloilo that presented sculptures, indigenous bags, shoes, hablon fabric, and works of local fashion designers; PSI’s Images of Dinagyang with its collection of best photographs; 1st Dinagyang Painting Exhibit, Dinagyang Photo Contest and Exhibits; the“50 Ilonggo Artists” at Museo Iloilo, and the Dinagyang 2013 Art Exhibition at the UPV.

For the record, the final twelve competing groups for the Kasadyahan Regional Cultural Competition came from all over Western Visayas.  No guest performer was included in the Saturday morning parade to streamline the presentations that would see the best of the region. Iloilo City as the host city had two school-based groups:  Tribu Hugyaw of St. Therese MTC College and Tribu Olalong of Cabalum Western College. The Municipality of Leon has TribuKaing, Miag-ao has Salakayan, San Joaquin has Bayluhay, Tigbauan has Saludan.  The Province of Guimaras sent Hubon Saranggola from Buenavista, and Hubon Binagtong from Nueva Valencia.  The Sinadyasa Halaran represented the Province of Capiz while Cansilay Festival of Silay City embodied the Province of Negros Occidental.  Antique has Pahinis and Tiringbanay.

The Dinagyang Ati Contest parade Sunday morning had ten competing tribes: Angola, Aninipay, Atub-Atub, Buntatalan-on, Ilonganon, Milagrosa, Molave, Pag-asa, Panayanon, and Salognon. Guest performer Tribu Miro frontlined the parade at the Freedom Grandstand and the new champion was announced in the evening.