National Museum triggers Iloilo vs Aklan online war over ‘sádsad’ word

ILOILO CITY – A social media post by the National Museum of the Philippines-Iloilo on January 24 sparked an online word war between the people of Iloilo and Aklan as Ilonggos gear to celebrate the highlight of the Dinagyang Festival here this weekend. 


The “sádsad” post continues to gain momentum online with the debate extending to other cultural facets of Iloilo and Aklan which are both in the island of Panay.

Aklan recently celebrated the Ati-Atihan while Iloilo is awaiting the weekend revelry. Both festivals mimic the Ati native indigenous peoples while honoring the Santo Niño (Child Jesus).

The National Museum cited the definition for the word “sádsad” from the Kauffmann Visayan-English dictionary.

“When Ilonggos say ‘merry-making,’ it’s not the half-hearted partying, it’s the ‘feel-the-beat-of-the-drums,’ ‘dance-your-hearts-out’ level of party and fun (but not the rowdy type of fun). This #Dinagyang2024, see how the streets of downtown Iloilo City come to life on weekend as revelers join the ‘sádsad’ (something like dance-parade) with their Kasadyahan groups and Ati tribes from one stage to the next,” wrote the National Museum.

It also mentioned the upcoming religious sádsad on the night of January 27 outside the San Jose Parish Church here.

However, Aklanons did not take it lightly.

“We are greatly dissatisfied and it is unexpected to witness such statements of “sádsad” from your institution, which we hold to a higher educational standard,” responded the Facebook page Altavas Concerned Citizens.

The online debate has also sparked discussion among the academe and history buffs.

“Conversations like these, even when it is uncomfortable, should push through,” wrote Bernardo Arellano III, an Ilonggo and an assistant professor of history at University of the Philippines (UP)-Los Baños.

Nereo Lujan, the chief information officer of the Iloilo provincial government and a history buff, said the word sádsad does not only belong to the people of Aklan.   

The word sádsad is used by other people in the Visayas. There is a Sadsad Festival in Oslob town, Cebu province.

However, it should be noted that the Dinagyang Festival that Iloilo celebrates is taken from from the Ati-Atihan Festival of Kalibo, the provincial capital of Aklan.  In the early days of the celebration, the Dinagyang was previously known as “Iloilo Ati-Atihan.”

The Dinagyang venerates a replica image of the Santo Niño de Cebu which was given as a gift to the parish priest of San Jose Parish Church.