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Dinagyang Festival 2011, Iloilo – January 22, 2011

Similar to the Ati-Atihan and Sinulog Festivals of Kalibo and Cebu respectively, the DInagyang Festival of Iloilo is in celebration of the Sto. Niño (Infant Jesus) and held on the weekend of the 4th Sunday of January. The Dinagyang Festival started out as a small parish devotion in 1967, but became a full-blown annual Festival for Iloilo in 1977 after then President Marcos ordered the promotion of local Festivals as a means to boost tourism (pretty much like what the Aquino Government has started this year as well),   Similar to the other two Festivals, Dinagyang is about street dancing, several contests, and street food!

This would be my second trip to Iloilo in less than a month. In late December, I went to Guimaras Island.

The day started out at around 3am as we checked-into Cebu Pacific’s 4:55am flight to Iloilo City.

Dinagyang Festival, Iloilo

My lakwatsa kaladkarins for this trip, Kent Macatangay and Ralph Sarmiento.

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Arriving at the Iloilo Airport quite early, barely even 6am, we made the decision to make a small side trip to the Miagao Church around an hour away.

More on this iconic Iloilo landmark in a separate post (here)

Dinagyang Festival, Iloilo

From Miagao Church, we proceeded to Iloilo City, arriving quite early, so we had ourselves dropped of at Robison’s then stopped at Ted’s for some La Paz Batchoy.

Dinagyang Festival, Iloilo

By around 9am, we wandered off to the Festival Area itself. It was pretty easy enough to find, We headed off to the areas where the streets were closed off to regular traffic. We then the followed the music.

After walking around for a few minutes we encountered a “special” intersection to which were erected special grandstands.

Dinagyang Festival, Iloilo

A little later some parade people showed up…

Dinagyang Festival, Iloilo

A few minutes a group started performing. I then realized that this was your typical street-dancing-contest performance, and I noted that at that grandstand were a group of judges. It was great, though we realized that were at the “back” of the performers and our vantage point wasn’t ideal.

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But that didn’t mean the performance wasn’t interesting. This particular group had a theme of Catfish (“Hito”).

Dinagyang Festival, Iloilo

Dinagyang Festival, Iloilo

After this particular group, we went walking around the streets of Iloilo investigating the rest of the Festival.

Soon after, we encountered streets lined with the best of Festivals… STREET FOOD! Yum.

Dinagyang Festival, Iloilo

And of course the standard Festival-ware…

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The streets were packed with all sorts of people.

Dinagyang Festival, Iloilo

And a lot of people getting into the action. Even a simple cigarette vendor…

Dinagyang Festival, Iloilo

This looks like a black ginger bread man.

Dinagyang Festival, Iloilo

We engaged in a lot of eating of street food.

Street performers proceeding through the streets…

Dinagyang Festival, Iloilo

And doing their thing!

Dinagyang Festival, Iloilo

Dinagyang Festival, Iloilo

Dinagyang Festival, Iloilo

Dinagyang Festival, Iloilo

Dinagyang Festival, Iloilo

Dinagyang Festival, Iloilo

As you can see…the streets are filled with photo-taking festival revelers… a lot of foreigners too!

Dinagyang Festival, Iloilo

Dinagyang Festival, Iloilo

Ah, amidst the bunting-decorated streets… two iconic symbols… SM and McDonald’s.

Dinagyang Festival, Iloilo

By lunch time, we were headed to Deco’s but we decided to take advantage of the street food lining the streets.

Dinagyang Festival, Iloilo

Dinagyang Festival, Iloilo

Our selection consisted of a grilled assortment of chicken, pork barbeque, dried pusit, chicken liver, and isaw.

Dinagyang Festival, Iloilo

We did reach Deco’s, initially for dessert, but we just ended up buying pasalubong. I took advantage a this standee outside.

Dinagyang Festival, Iloilo

This ends for me the January Sto. Nino Festivals for this year.

Iloilo’s Dinagyang Festival is not as extravagant as Cebu’s Sinulog, but that does not make the Festival any less fun. The people of Iloilo sure know how to throw a street party.