Iloilo City eyes in-person Dinagyang Festival in 2023
ILOILO CITY—This city and its partners in the public and private sector are hoping to bring back the in-person Dinagyang Festival in January 2023.
Joyce Clavecillas, executive director of Iloilo Festivals Foundation Inc., said they have started the planning stages for the crowd-drawing event, which was suspended for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
She, however, stressed they need to consult the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) before they could stage an in-person event of the festival.
“We will follow whatever decision the national government agencies and the local government unit will come up with,” Clavecillas said.
Clavecillas said nothing was final yet but assured the public that they would be informed of updates once organizers ironed out the plans for the festival.
The Dinagyang, one of the festivals held in January in honor of the Señor Sto. Niño (Holy Child Jesus), is known for the colorful brisk performances of Ati tribes in a street dance competition.
Dinagyang originated in 1968 when Fr. Sulpicio Enderes, OSA, with a delegation of the Cofradia de Cebu, brought a replica of the image of Señor Sto. Niño de Cebu to Iloilo City. The image was brought to San Jose Parish Church where it is enshrined until now.
In 1977, organizers changed “Ati-Atihan” to “Dinagyang” from the Hiligaynon word “dagyang,” or merrymaking, in order not to duplicate Kalibo’s Ati-Atihan. Dinagyang is held every fourth Sunday of January while Ati-Atihan, like the Sinulog Festival of Cebu, are held every third Sunday of January.
For the past two years, the Dinagyang Festival was held online to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
In 2021, the festival was digitally held via prerecorded and livestreamed video feeds on social media. The 2022 edition was a hybrid of digital and limited physical activities.
This edition was cited by the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines as the “Best Tourism Practice” during the 2021 Pearl Awards.