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Experience the Colourful Exuberance of the Dinagyang Festival

✦ One of the most vibrant and spectacular festivals you can ever experience is in Iloilo City in the Philippines. It is a feast for all the senses!


Dinagyang Festival Photo: Sujoy Sen and thanks to Dr. Drae Pilarta | Brilliant Online
Photo: Sujoy Sen| Iloilo City, Philippines

What is the Dinagyang Festival?


It is simply one of the most colourful cultural and religious events to be celebrated in Iloilo City, Philippines. Held on the fourth Sunday of January every year, the festival celebrates the Santo Niño (Holy Child Jesus). It also honours the arrival of the Malay settlers on Panay and the selling of the island to them by the Atis (the original inhabitants of the island).


Bright, vibrant costumes, authentic culture, energetic street dancing and powerful music fill the streets during this festival.


During the festival, groups called 'tribus' compete in a street dance performance. With bodies painted with black soot to resemble the indigenous Atis, and colourful costumes elaborately adorned with feathers, beads and accessories, the dancers are transformed into brave warriors, wielding their shields and spears, exuding strength, confidence and joy as they leap and stomp to the powerful beat of drums and other traditional instruments.

Fun Fact: It is a rule that only indigenous materials can be used for the costumes.

Watch the Pre-shoot to Dinagyang Festival video by Dr. Drae Pilarta as part of a Manny Librodo Workshop.



This is one festival photographers all over the world are eager to view through their lenses. Sujoy Sen's photography perfectly captures the rich, bold colours as well as the power and magnetism of the warriors.



Sujoy Sen in action: leading up to Dinagyang is Ati Atihan



Check out Sujoy Sen's Instagram here.

Fun Fact: 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 cooperatives.


The Dinagyang Festival attracts both locals and tourists who come to witness the spectacle and immerse themselves in the rich Filipino culture. It is a time of unity, as people from different backgrounds come together to celebrate and honour their shared traditions.


The joy of the Dinagyang Festival is undeniable. Its vibrant energy, cultural pride, and sense of community make it a truly unforgettable experience for all who witness it.


Photo Credits: Tribes featured include Tribu La Paz (Ilomination Tribe), Tribu Silak/Parianon, and Tribu Paghidaet. Thanks to Dr. Drae Pilarta for the video and to Sujoy Sen for the photos.


 

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