The Festive Vibes of Dinagyang

The start of the New Year kicked off another festive time for the city of Iloilo. Dinagyang season was here again and it felt more alive with all the food fests, parties, and concerts all over the metro. Here are my random thoughts and quirky observations on this festival.

What’s it all about.

Dinagyang Festival is celebrated every 4th Sunday of January. It is held in honor of Señor Santo Niño or Baby Jesus and dating back to when the native Ati’s were first introduced to the patron. So it’s hard not to notice when tribes would frequently chant, “Viva Señor Santo Niño, Viva!” as part of their performance.


On wearing that smile.

Dinagyang came from the word “dagyang” which means to celebrate, enjoy or have a good time. It’s a celebration after all so both stage and street dance performance will have that merry making vibe to it along with the tribe’s striking costumes.


It’s all about accessorizing.

The competition includes Best in Headdress and Best in Costume so one way to win is to amp up the accessory department. Flowy dresses, wigs and beadings, create an over-all impact in this festival. Ilonggo creativity strikes again.


Dinagyang is a tribal dress-how-you-want-it themed party after all.

I find this tribe’s over-all costume design as monochromatic, as you can see below. Dinagyang Festival can actually go over the top with their color preferences or keep it clean and simple like this one.


Tribal dabbing on point.

Drum rolls pumped up each performance and lively street dancing elevated it further. Just like this tribe, I didn’t know dabbing was discovered waaaay before it became millenial mainstream. That dab though!


Tribal headdress is pretty AND the weight is real.

I must say that their headdresses look really attractive. I cannot imagine how many hours they have spent working on every head dress pieces just to make it look perfect for the day of the performance itself.  I actually tried the headdress from this tribe while they were on standby and the head dress is literally so heavy on the head. It feels like a kilo or two. It’s amazing how they can still dance the whole day around the city under the heat of the sun with that on. Kudos to all the tribes for making the struggle feel effortless.


In the end, it’s all about Ilonggo culture.

As this is an annual celebration, I’d really encourage tourists to go visit Iloilo in this festive state of mind. It’s when Ilonggos go out, come together in the streets and have a different kind of weekend fun. I’d vouch that tourists will enjoy their weekend stay. Hala Bira, Iloilo!



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