Iloilo, Aklan scrap Dinagyang, Ati-atihan parades
ILOILO CITY—More activities of the popular festivals in this city and Aklan province have been scrapped due to a surge in COVID-19 cases in the two localities.
Organizers of Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo City and the Ati-atihan in Aklan’s capital town of Kalibo said they would hold only online activities for the second straight year to avoid mass gatherings that could add to the rising virus infections in their localities.
The Dinagyang and Ati-atihan are among the festivals held every January in honor of Señor Sto. Niño, along with the Sinulog in Cebu, which was also scaled down in this year’s celebration.
Ronald Sebastian, president of Iloilo Festivals Foundation, said that while the challenges posed by the pandemic remained, innovations were introduced to ensure the Dinagyang Festival could still be celebrated.
This year, seven Ati tribes will be competing in the street dancing competition. But instead of the prepandemic in-person carousel type performance along the city’s main streets with a live audience, a prerecorded performance of each tribe will be livestreamed on Jan. 23, the final day and highlight of the festival. The tribes will be judged based on their live performance (60 percent) and video production (40 percent).
The performances of the tribes were recorded before the city was placed on alert level 3 from Jan. 9 to Jan. 31 due to a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases.
The planned food and music festivals were also canceled.
In Kalibo, the Ati-atihan would be commemorated with a Mass this Sunday at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.
The famous “sadsad” (street dancing) activities were scrapped as well as the food bazaar and Ati-atihan bazaar. —NESTOR P. BURGOS JR.
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