Dinagyang 2022 dazzles despite pandemic

It’s the unifying and driving force in the face of adversities.

It’s the testament that Ilonggos can still celebrate to counter the challenges of COVID-19.

It makes the community work together to keep moving and going despite the gloom of uncertainties.

For the second year, Iloilo Dinagyang Festival 2022 Digital will be live-streamed via Facebook and YouTube on Sunday, Jan. 23, from 7 to 10 a.m. as the festivities go virtual amid the pandemic and mass gathering is not allowed.

Dinagyang 2022 poster

The show will air on the Facebook pages of Iloilo City Government, Mayor Jerry Treñas, Iloilo Dinagyang, and Iloilo Festivals Foundation, Inc. (IFFI), its Youtube account iloilofestivals, and GMA TV 6.

Dinagyang’s first online version was awarded Best Tourism Practice during the Pandemic Special Category in the 2021 Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines, Inc. (ATOP) Pearl Awards.

Mayor Treñas hopes the social media broadcast of Dinagyang, as the city’s biggest religious and cultural celebration, will bring inspiration and passion towards success amidst the struggles in these trying times.

This year’s edition is aptly themed “Padayon Iloilo upod kay Señor Santo Niño.” Padayon means to continue, move forward, go on or resume as Dinagyang showcases the values the Ilonggos are known for.

The mayor enjoins everyone to offer thanksgiving to the Sto. Niño, the Child Jesus, the city’s patron and the centerpiece of devotion highlighted during Dinagyang.

Masses are offered for good health and safety including a nine-day novena from Jan. 14 to 22, and a virtual concelebrated mass on Sunday at 7 a.m at San Jose de Placer Parish, home of “Golden Boy,” the image of Señor Santo Niño from Cebu. Mayor Treñas thanked the City Government, Iloilo Festivals Foundation, Inc. (IFFI), San Jose de Placer Parish, Iloilo Provincial Government, and generous sponsors for the support.

“We will be celebrating again one of the most-awaited festivals in the Philippines, the Dinagyang. This 2022, we are hoping we will have the same innovation as last year—we were able to showcase Ilonggo culture through our celebration amidst the challenges we are facing,” said IFFI president Ronald Raymond Sebastian.

IFFI examined the seven values that define the City of Love as one and distinct per district. When summed up, these values compel the Ilonggos to “padayon” or continue, take a step forward.

The school-based competing tribes will represent seven districts, focused on each values: Arevalo for Pagsinadya or Celebration; Molo for Pag-amliganay or Nurturing; City Proper for Paghigugma or Love; Mandurriao for Pagpahanggud or Growth and Development; Jaro for Pagtililipon or Gathering; La Paz for Paghirupay or Closeness; and Lapuz for Pag-intindihanay or Understanding. “These values will give us the hope and inspiration for the Ilonggos and for our youth,” said Prof. Eric Divinagracia, director of Dinagyang Tribes Competition.

Each tribe will only have 20 performers and 15 musicians, contrary to the past staging with hundreds of participants.

In partnership with the Department of Education, organizers are looking forward to the festival being introduced as part of the learning materials, modules, and performance tasks of students in Iloilo City and province. “Through the gift of dance and music, the resounding beat of the drums, and the vibrant colors of the festival, we are one in shouting, Padayon! How do we show our resiliency as a people? By taking a brave step forward and holding on to our Ilonggo values,” the IFFI stressed. “As Ilonggos, we are all warriors together with Señor Santo Niño.”

“Life, as we know it these days, is still very much uncertain. But, we persevere and carry on. We march on with strength and determination to conquer yet with heads bowed down and hands clasped in prayer, asking for protection,” it continued. “A Dinagyang warrior may have fallen and taken time to heal, but he will rise up again—renewed, reenergized, and recharged through the grace and mercy of our beloved Señor Santo Niño. In defining the Dinagyang narrative or story, these values emphasize the indispensable cooperation of the different sectors of society, that one cannot exist without the other, and we weave and form one cohesive story altogether.”

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