Tuesday, January 11, 2011

DINAGYANG FESTIVAL: The Philippines Best Festival!


Dinagyang Festival is a spectacular event in the province of Iloilo where people in unique costumes dance all day and night every 4th week of January to commemorate the Christianization of the natives and to honor the Holy Child Jesus. It is a religious and cultural festival in Iloilo City, Philippines held on the fourth Sunday of January, or right after the Sinulog In Cebu and the Ati-Atihan in Aklan. It is held both to honor the Santo Niño and to celebrate the arrival on Panay of Malay settlers and the subsequent selling of the island to them by the Atis.

Dinagyang is an annual event, when the whole town rejoices, shouting their pride of being an Ilonggo and telling their culture. It is a wonderful looking back to the past. It is not just a celebration, it is a religious evangelization. Going back to Iloilo is more like a past fulfilled and a looking forward for future celebrations. It is our culture. The Aeta culture. That's why it is painting the town black.


Today, the main part of the festival consists of a number of "tribes", called "tribus", who are supposed to be Ati tribe members dancing in celebration. There are a number of requirements, including that the performers must paint their skin brown and that only indigenous materials can be used for the costumes. All dances are performed to drum music. Many tribes are organized by the local high schools. Some tribes receive a subsidiary from the organizers and recruit private sponsors, with the best tribes receiving the most. The current Ati population of Iloilo is not involved with any of the tribes nor are they involved in the festival in any other way.

 (promotional video of Dinagyang Festival)

Dinagyang was voted as the best Tourism Event for 2006, 2007 and 2008 by the Association of Tourism Officers in the Philippines. It is the first festival in the world to get the support of the United Nations for the promotion of the Millennium Development Goals, and cited by the Asian Development Bank as Best Practice on government, private sector & NGO cooperations.

Schedule of Activities 2011

October 14, 2010, Friday 2:00 P.M. LOCAL LAUNCH Iloilo Dinagyang Festival 2011 Freedom Grandstand
December 16, 2010, Friday 2:00 P.M. PAMUKAW Assembly Area: Promenade passing Iznart, J.M. Basa to Freedom Grandstand
January 4, 2011, Tuesday 2:00 P.M. Model Ati Dinagyang Warrior 2011 Presentation
January 7, 2011, Friday 2:00 P.M. Model Ati Dinagyang Warrior 2011 Talent Competition
January 9, 2011, Sunday 1:00 P.M. Model Ati Dinagyang Warrior 2011 Finals
January 14, 2011, Friday 2:30 P.M. Mass for Opening Salvo of Tribe Dancers San Jose Parish Church

3:00 PM OPENING SALVO Judging Area
January 14-16, 2011
Iloilo Dinagyang Golf Competition 2011 Sta. Barbara Golf Club
January 15, 2011, Saturday 7:00:00 AM SQUEAK Parade Route
January 16-23, 2011
Dinagyang Photo Exhibit
January 16, 2011, Sunday 10:00AM - 3:00PM DRESSING UP DAGOY
January 19-23, 2011 2:00 P.M.-12 MN Iloilo Hotel Resort & Restaurant Association (IHRRA) Food Festival Delgado St., Iloilo City
January 21, 2011, Friday 8:00:00 AM TAMBOR TRUMPA MARTSA MUSIKA Freedom Grandstand

January 22, 2011, Saturday 7:00:00 AM Mass for Kasadyahan San Jose Parish Church

8:00 A.M. 2011 KASADYAHAN Competition Freedom Grandstand and other stages

2:00PM SPONSORS MARDI GRAS Judging Area #4 to Freedom Grandstand


7:00 PM Religious Sad-sad to Sr. Sto. Niño San Jose Parish Church
January 23, 2011, Sunday 6:30 a.m Concelebrated high mass for devotees, Tribes, Gov't. Officials, LOMAS in attendance San Jose Parish Church

8:00 A.M. 2011 Dinagyang Ati CONTEST Freedom Grandstand and other stages

7:00 P.M. Awarding Ceremonies Freedom Grandstand
January 24, 2011, Monday 5:30 P.M. Thanksgiving Mass with all members of 2010 Iloilo Dinagyang Festival Working Committees

Friday, October 8, 2010

BACOLOD CITY: Fun, Festive and Fascinating.

Dubbed as the City of Smiles, Bacolod City is the largest and highly urbanized city in the island of Negros. The city was famous in celebrating their Masskara Festival, an event that puts them in the map for the best festivals in the country. 

The city of smile has two pronounced seasons just like with the other neighboring cities around the country. The rainy season that starts from May to January of the year with heavy rains occurring in the month of August and September, while the dry season starts from the month of February until the last week of April. Bacolod City named as capital city of Negros Occidental and considered as one of the highly urbanized city around the region.

The city serves as the gateway to the rich cities and towns of the province. Visitors and tourist can easily take for business and leisure in the city because of the modern in-land transportation.The people of Bacolod used Hiligaynon which also referred to Ilonggo after the neighboring province of Iloilo as a means of communication, while the rest generally speak Filipino- the national language and the others Cebuano. English language was also was used by some Bacolenos.

How to get there

By Air:

With newly installed New Bacolod-Silay airport that are located 15 kilometers north-east of the city, the airport is capable of handling all weather and landing operation. Philippine Airline, The Cebu Pacific and Air Philippines are among the top airline companies that will bring tourists and visitors in the city of smile.
By Land:

With the two main national road that are located in the city, Lacson Street to the north and Araneta to the south, accessibility toward this road going to the city was very good because of good traffic plan and no congestion of vehicles that creates a traffic jam that usually creates a major problem of highly-graded cities around the country.
By Sea:

The port of Bacolod is the major door to enter the city of Masskara. Located at the reclamation area, ships and small fast craft just like Wessum Express and Sea Angels have daily trips to Iloilo City and it is approximately 45 minutes of travel from the Port of Iloilo and 18 hours from Manila.

Tourist Attraction

The Masskarra Festival is one of the major tourist attractions of Bacolod City, celebrated every of the year to commemorate the cityhood of Bacolod City. Merry making and dance street competition are among the activities being held during the event. Another major event that being celebrated every year in Bacolod City is the Panaad sa Negros, this time it involves all the cities and municipalities under the banner of Negros Occidental, it happens every April and late May or after the Holy Week. The Panaad Park is the main venue of this famous festival. The Panaad Park also cater some big events in sports just like the 23rd Southeast Asian Games 2005, 2006 Asian Football Qualifiers and our local version of Olympics, the Palarong Pambansa.

Native Delicacies and Products

The Bacolod City is not only famous with their festivals, but the city of smile was also renowned on its native delicacies. The piaya is one of the top home made delicacies of the city, enriched with flour and brown sugar, coated with sesame seeds that really provide a sweet savor for the local and foreign tourists. The BongBong’s Piaya and Barquillos is one of best producer of this product and named as the No. 1 Pasalubong Cecnter in the city. Another alluring product that Bacolod can also be proud of is the “Chicken Inasal”. The unique taste of chicken that being grilled in the stick which can be found in any streets of the city. Chicken House, Mang Inasal and the famed Manokan Country are the best place to stop to find this food product.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Bacolod Masskara Festival: An example of Filipino Resiliency.

The City of Smiles, Bacolod City, will once again pulsate with the latin beat and throb with the colorful and fun spirit of the Masskara Festival this October 2010. The highlights of the Masskara 2010 will be on October 1 to 19 and will feature a competition among various dance groups clad in very colorful costumes.

MassKara is coined from two words: Mass, which means “many, or multitude,” and Kara, a Spanish word for “face,” thus MassKara is a mass or multitude of smiling faces.

The festival first began in 1980 during a period of crisis. The province relied on sugar cane as its primary agricultural crop, and the price of sugar was at an all-time low due to the introduction of sugar substitutes like high fructose corn syrup in the United State. It was also a time of tragedy; on April 22 of that year, the inter-island vessel Don Juan carrying many Negrenses, including those belonging to prominent families in Bacolod City, collided with the tanker Tacloban City and sank. An estimated 700 lives were lost in the tragedy.

In the midst of these tragic events, the city's artists, local government and civic groups decided to hold a festival of smiles, because the city at that time was also known as the City of Smiles. They reasoned that a festival was also a good opportunity to pull the residents out of the pervasive gloomy atmosphere. The initial festival was therefore, a declaration by the people of the city that no matter how tough and bad the times were, Bacolod City is going to pull through, survive, and in the end, triumph.

The festival features a street dance competition where people from all walks of life troop to the streets to see colorfully-masked dancers gyrating to the rhythm of Latin musical beats in a display of mastery, gaiety, coordination and stamina. Major activities include the MassKara Queen beauty pageant, carnivals, drum and bugle corps competitions, food festivals, sports events, musical concerts, agriculture-trade fairs, garden shows, and other special events organized ad-hoc every year.

Bacolod Masskara Festival 2010 Schedule

  • October 1, 2010 - Opening of the Festival Site (Public Plaza,SM MassKara Village
  • October 9, 2010 - MassKara Queen (University of St. La Salle Coliseum)
  • October 15, 2010 - Electric MassKara (Tourism Strip, Lacson St.)
  • October 16, 2010 - MassKara Street Dance Competition – School Category (Araneta St. to Public Plaza
    • Electric MassKara (Tourism Strip, Lacson St.)
  • October 17, 2010 - MassKara Street Dance Competition – Barangay Category (Araneta St. to Public Plaza)
  • October 18, 2010 - Countdown to the Charter Day Giant Street Party Celebration (New Government Center)
  • October 19, 2010 - 73rd Charter Day Anniversary
Comprehensive schedule of activities will be accessed through Maskara Fesrival 2010 Official site: http://www.themasskarafestival.com/

Sunday, October 4, 2009

VISITING LEON, ILOILO: I just can't fail to visit old churches in places I've visited here in Iloilo.

The Municipality of Leon was formerly known as Camando which was founded in the year 1730 with Mr. Bernabe Buncag as Gobernadorcillo. In 1866, the town was transformed to Sitio Capan, a vast rice region. Two years after, the town was given the name Leon in honor of the City of Leon in Spain, the place where Fray Agustin Castro, the Parish Priest came from. However, the inhabitants retained their surnames beginning with letter “C” which was given them through the order of Governor Claveria in 1849, in lasting memory of the former town of Camando.

Behind me is the LEON CHURCH.

Leon has a prominent place in the annals of Ilonggo history. Records show that the only Civil Resistance movement that did not fall into the hands of the Japanese, the Free Government of Panay and Romblon was established by Senator Tomas Confesor in Bucari area in May 1942. Every time I visit a certain municipality in Iloilo I always see to it to take a photo of their century old churches. It's quite fascinating to see a lot of great and old churches here in the Province of Iloilo.

Leon Church FACADE: The Neo-classical styled Leon Church stands in front of a beautiful and well-maintained plaza. It was planned to be one of Iloilo’s biggest and grandest church but for some reason it was left unfinished.

The right side detail of the church.

The right side entrance detail.

INSIDE: (beams & columns)

Inspection of the present building reveals that that the original length of the building was shortened, evidenced by ruins of the original structure found at the behind the present altar. Also, the belfries needs proper rehabilitation because the currently installed belfries look too crude and are ruining the other side of the beautiful facade.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My SHOT as a PHOTOGRAPHER KuNo!!! Well I just tried...

Part of my travel is taking some personal photos and of course trying to capture some beautiful and picturesque locations and subject that I personally collect. When I was in Guimbal, Iloilo, Philippines. I roamed around their town plaza and capture some photos.