Dinagyang Festival, Iloilo City, Philippines

Every year, on the fourth Sunday of January, the Ilonggos are celebrating the natives’ introduction to Christianity. This annual event is coupled with street dancing and competition in honor of the Saint Sto. Niño which is culminated by a nine-day novena, an Ati-Atihan competition, and a fluvial parade on the last day of the celebration. On this occasion, the city is in full-swing in the preparation and  celebration of the event. Foreign and local  tourists are arriving filling the hotels’ rooms to its capacity that swells to nearby districts and towns for bookings. Looking back, the celebration originated as a welcome treat to the Saint Sto. Niño as it arrived from Cebu and brought to San Jose Parish Church. In honoring the saint, people were enthusiastic and joyous about his arrival to the city. There were dancing on the streets with  only a number of drums playing which is very different from today’s feast which numbered from thirty to fifty drummers. As the year passed, participants grew bigger as well as the drummers, the steps and the beat of the drums and its rhythm, and the costumes and sponsors of the participating groups. Then, street dancing was purely dancing all throughout the event but the city decided to have a competition to entice visitors to come. So, the contest was materialized. Today, it is a full-blown celebration where the champion of the contest is awarded with a hefty sum of money and are sent to participate in other competitions abroad in which case, tourism is being promoted by the city government. So, what are you waiting for? Come for the celebration this coming year, 2016 and witness a grand show of colors and beatings of the drums.  Reserve yourself a room in our hotels months before the actual celebration! Don’t be a late-comer!