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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

2011 Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo


I went to Iloilo for the Dinagyang festival a week after I experienced my first Sinulog festival in Cebu, for a memorable back-to-back festival incursion. Both festivals offers a myriad of similarities aside from expressing devotion to the Sto. Nino and featuring elegant and colorful street parades. It also attracts a huge crowd that eventually stays up and parties all night long in the streets like jubilant citizens celebrating the end of a war.

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However, as almost similar to each other, these twin festivals presented me a unique joy in witnessing each festivity in two different places. Cebu and the Sinulog Festival provided me its own vibrant mood climaxed by the wild street parties at night, while the Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo gifted me with its set of intensity. This observation have made me so glad that I was able to experience both in a span of one week. Figuring from the highs of the festivities in Cebu, the downshift of going back to Manila for a couple of days work and back again to a raucous but fun setting in Iloilo the next weekend.

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Life is so much fun when you get a balance of things. Work brings a trait of responsibility and working on a particular goal while traveling in between cures the sheepish occurrences of a normal life passing through a straight line with experiences like these, of new places, of festivals, of massive celebration reverberating through drum beats and merry making, new friends and most of all, new experiences to treasure down the road.  

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Which was all I gathered during the Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo. I arrived there first thing Friday morning and will only meet my lovely couchsurfing host Joanne after lunch, so with nothing to do I embarked on a Visita Iglesia tour of Iloilo. I visited churches in Molo, Oton, Tigbauan, Guimbal, Miag-ao (my 2nd time) and San Joaquin.

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By lunch time I was already in Iloilo City and met up with Joanne, we then proceeded to hang out at her friends place where we had our lunch over a bottle of beer and some weed. Yeah I do smoke that thing once in a while - not to get super high and crazy though - just to clear my mind and It did wiped my mind of worry, as I went to sleep for 12 hours after that. After figuring sleepless the whole of Thursday and most of Friday -it was what the doctor ordered. 

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I awoke Saturday morning filled with energy - courtesy of my very long slumber and the mighty atmosphere being felt around in the city. Hearing drumming beats everywhere, shouts of joy and the uniformed breathe of anticipation from people lining up the streets waiting for the street parade. I joined my fellow couchsurfing guests Alana and Yan (an American and German couple traveling the world for the last 1 and a half years and into their 3rd month in the Philippines)  out into the streets as early as 7am.

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We managed to insert ourselves into the thick crowd and watched a half dozen tribes performed on one of the 5 or 6 staging grounds. That was before I was pushed back by the eager crowd. I left them there while I met up with Marinelle (another travel blogger) and her cool mom. They too, were pushed back from the crowd and so we decided to explore other places around Iloilo.

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So, for the second time in two days I went on a trip from the city to San Joaquin - showing Marinele and her mom the churches I visited the previous day. By afternoon we were back again in the Dinagyang fest city of Iloilo.

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I spent the remaining daylight taking a brief rest before going out again that night with Joanne, Alana and Yan while we waited for Ada to arrive. We had a sumptuous dinner for five at "Talabahan" place near SmallVille. We were supposed to attend a Couchsurfing meeting at SmallVille but Alana was adamant in attending by saying "A CS meeting in an expensive restaurant" - agreeing with her observation, we opted to feast on cheap plate-full of oysters at only 70 pesos per plate and went home happy.

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The next day - Sunday was the highlight part of the Dinagyang Festival. We partook in the parade by watching the tribes and contingents passed by and stole some moments peeking through the crowd and watch some of them performed.

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The tribes came out in full force with decorative and colorful costumes and like a bunch of character actors played their role to pieces by sporting along a fierce look that add up to the impact of the whole spectacle from a first timer's point of view (Me).

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While waiting for the start of the performance I got a bit impatient with the redundant introductions of VIP's (politicians) in attendance. The Congressman took the microphone and introduced Presidential sister Ballsy Aquino, Senator Drilon, the Governor a bunch of other local officials. Drilon then takes the stand and does the same, the Governor followed him and introduces again the VIP's and Ballsy doing the same thing again.

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It was funny how politicians always crave for attention that's why when the show finally started it was met with a burstful yell of "Hurrahs". It was then the young men and women from Iloilo and neighboring places did what they have prepared well for so long, they kicked butt and entertained the crowd who were hopping into their feet simultaneously with the deafening chants and drum beats.

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last night of Dinagyang we went to this Karaoke make shift bar at the side of a street and gorge on peanuts, beers and Scorpion songs - Ada though sang a perfect 4 Non-Blondes song and Alana belted Madonna's "Isla Bonita"
It was another wonderful experience for me, my first Dinagyang festival and coupled with my first Sinulog experience - I didn't get burned out by what some will call as 'festival overload' - I was in fact presented with an idea that somehow I should start making plans to attend each festivals held all over the Philippines and see if somewhere down the road, whether an 'overload' of sorts really exists. I doubt that it does though.

28 comments:

lakwatsera de primera said...

Nice one, natry mo na rin pala ang couch surfing, lovely pictures again Marky, good thing natuloy ka dito, (di ba maysakit ka before you left for this trip)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...

galeng naman ng shots :) and kudos for writing about smokin' weed (some people don't have the balls to do so)!

jokoness said...

go marky! your photos look awesome!

Markyramone said...

@Claire, yeah thursday I was sick when I went to work tas I went home just to pack then headed to the airport early Friday - good thing Biogesic did the trick haha

@Gay, hmmm yeah I texted you bout it ata and you're telling me about something I texted you which you should not reveal haha (names of my crushes) ^^

@Jokoness, tara sama ka next time or sama naman ako sa iyo next

Aleah said...

Great pics, Marky! Why'd you look so serious? In fairness, parang bagay kayo nung girl. hehehe

Markyramone said...

@Aleah, that's my game face haha...naks naman bagay pala ha :)

whyte said...

nice summary about your dinagyang experience and good thing it didn't rain on any of thosae days. a few days before the sun never came out and these past few days (after dinagyang) nawala na naman ito.

good thing 2011 isn't election year or you'll deal more with more national politicians. though them speaking is a no-no but you'll be irritated with all the sideshows.

Markyramone said...

@whyte, hey nice blog about foods in Iloilo, wish I've across your blog before I went there. Yeah, the sun was out during the Dinagyang weekend, my friend was telling me days before that it was cloudy and a bit rainy the previous week. Good thing the weather cooperated...unlike during Sinulog in Cebu it rained most of the time.

journeyingjames said...

back to back festivals, kaka-inggit marky. sana magawa ko yan next year. try pasungay festival naman next time. labanan ng mga kalabaw yan sa san joaquin.

Markyramone said...

you should try it next year, and I'll try climbing the cross at sunken cemetery in Camiguin haha...sounds interesting, the Pasungay festival at San Joaquin...(i also dropped by that town)

Ada said...

Gaganda ng pics!!! Attend all festivities in the Philippines?! WHY NOT!!

Quezon Business Directory and Travel Guide said...

galing ang gaganda ng shots mo lupet

Pinoy Boy Journals said...

nice! haven't been to a Dinagyang festival so i'm looking forward to the next one! saya naman ng videoke, my kind of fun! ha ha

Markyramone said...

thanks Ada and Quezon Business Directory and Travel Guide (whew haba ng name haha)...

Pinoy Boy: I avoid videoke like a plague haha but I still try to sing 1 song...probably a Rolling Stones song or something from the 60's classic rock era haha.

Berniemack Arellano said...

Marky, ako ang na-burn-out. LOL! Kaya mahal na mahal ko ang Sunday na to, haha!! :D Dang, its been a week yet the two festivals have always been a "pilgrimage" for me. Willing to spend for it and go back home and enjoy life back home...(sabay hikbi)...:D

Cedric said...

Ang saya! Nawa'y maka-attend rin ako dito sa sunod na taon. And +1 sa politicos. Heehe.

Markyramone said...

@Benie, next year I plan to attend Ati-Atihan naman since you said its gonna be the 400th.


@Cedric, you and Pat should attend next year hehe

thepinaysolobackpacker said...

I like the shots Marky. I'm such a loser! wala pa akong festivals na na-pupuntahan except Panagbenga. haha ksama mu pala si Ada at si Spencer Ivan! Looks like you guys had a lot of fun! cool! :)

Micamyx said...

For some reason, kinilig ako sa blog entry na 'to. Don't mind me haha :D

Thanks to you kasi ngayon alam ko na hindi mo talaga kelangan maging verified member sa CS. Must try it soon :D

Markyramone said...

@Gael, di pa ako nakapag Panagbenga...tara sa next Masskara Festival punta ren daw Chyng.


@Mica...kilig ka saan? Ada oh haha....yup you should couchsurf sa Europe try mo jan cheaper that way.

Ed said...

amazing pics here marky! grabe talaga mga kuha mo!

"A CS meeting in an expensive restaurant..." -- contradicting talaga! hehe :D

Markyramone said...

Thanks Ed, got lucky with a few shots... :)

Pinoy Gonzo said...

Puwedeng gawing kalendaryo ang mga picture mo, brad, kahit walang cleavage at hita.

~ Pinoy Gonzo

(PS: Hindi ito spam)

Markyramone said...

Pinoy Gonzo, gonzo! Hunter S. Thompson is also a favorite writer of mine...

Dani said...

YOUR PHOTOS ARE ALIVE. Great work! :) I am yet to experience my first cultural festival. Me so inggit! :)

Markyramone said...

@Dani, thanks, try to attend next year. There's Masskara in Bacolod in October and other festivals around the country whole year round.

Berniemack Arellano said...

Shared your post to the tourism board and city government of Iloilo City.

Markyramone said...

Salamat Berniemack

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