Dinagyang Festival 2009 draws thousands of tourists

By JENNIFER GARCIA, ABS-CBN Iloilo

Posted at Jan 26 2009 09:33 PM | Updated as of Jan 27 2009 11:40 PM

Tribu Bola-Bola in their grand entrance for Dinagyang Festival 2009

Tribu Ilonganon performs in Dinagyang Festival 2009

Tribu Paghidaet won Best in Costume award in Dinagyang Festival 2009

Local and foreign tourists flocked to Iloilo Freedom Grandstand on Sunday to watch the highlight of this year’s Dinagyang Festival.

Some of the tourists even danced along with the “warriors” who participated in the Ati-Ati Tribe competition, which was the main attraction of the festivity.

This year, 17 tribes joined the competition and they were all dressed in colorful costumes made of indigenous materials.

The audience was amazed at the performance of each tribe.

The festival is intended not just to attract tourists but also to give honor to Señor Sto. Niño.

At the end of the competition, Paghidaet Tribe was declared champion in the Ati-Ati Tribe Competition. They also got almost all the special awards such as Best Headdress, Best in Costume, Best in Music and Best in Performance. Paghidaet’s Choreographer Ramil Huyatid also won as Best Choreographer.

Tribu Kasag from Banate meanwhile won the championship trophy for the Kasadyahan Festival.

A performance by “Wanders of Asia,” an acrobatic musical show brought by the Philippine Gaming Corporation to Iloilo City and the spectacular fireworks display formally closed the Dinagyang Festival. The Iloilo City officials said they hope to draw a bigger crowd in Dinagyang Festival 2010.

Dinagyang Festival began in 1968 when Agustinian Priest Father Sulpicio Ebderes brought the Sto. Nino de Cebu to Iloilo City. Since then, Dinagyang Festival became the major attraction of the city every third week of January. No less than the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines had awarded the Dinagyang Festival as the Best Tourism Event in the country for three consecutive years putting it at the Hall of Fame of the country’s festivals.