ILOILO City – With thousands of domestic and foreign visitors packing various festival activities, Dinagyang’s return to the city’s streets exceeded expectations, according to Mayor Jerry P. Treñas.
A “complete success” was how he described the festival’s return to a face-to-face celebration after two years of restrictions due to the coronavirus disease pandemic.
“Everyone wanted a strong comeback…It was a complete success and this showed that Dinagyang and our Sto. Niño are beyond politics,” added Treñas.
Dinagyang Festival is known far and wide for its participants’ impressive choreography and striking costumes that reflect Ilonggo ingenuity, craftsmanship and artistry.
“I acknowledge all our sponsors from the private sector for their significant contributions in the success of Dinagyang. Of course, sa inyo tanan, mga pinalangga ko nga Ilonggo. Ang tanan nga ini bangud sa inyo kag para man sa inyo. Your strong support in all our activities played a meaningful role in the overall success of the festival,” said Treñas.
The festival’s top sponsor was SM City Iloilo; it also served as venue for many Dinagyang activities, including the first-ever Dinagyang Ilomination on Jan.21, Batchoy Festival, festival costumes exhibit, and concert of various performing artists including Asia’s Pop Heartthrob Darren Espanto, among others.
The festivities were graced by no less than First Lady of the Philippines Atty. Liza Araneta Marcos and some prominent government officials including House Speaker Martin Romualdez, Senators Risa Hontiveros, Jinggoy Estrada, Mark Villar, Francis Tolentino, Bong Revilla, former senator Franklin Drilon, among others. YouTube sensation Small Laude, broadcast journalist Karen Davila, lifestyle columnist and philanthropist Tessa Prieto Valdez, television presenter and entrepreneur Tim Yap were also there to join the festivities. They were warmly welcomed by Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas and SM Supermalls president Steven Tan.
Several dignitaries form foreign embassies attended the festivities as well: Romanian Ambassador to the Philippines HE Raduta Dana Matache with Mr. Constantin Matache ; Indonesian Ambassador to the Philippines HE Agus Widjojo and his wife, Mme. Ranny Agus Widjojo; Royal Thai Ambassador to the Philippines HE Tull Traisorat; Royal Norwegian Ambassador to the Philippines HE Christian Halaas Lyster; Hungary Ambassador to the Philippines HE Titanilla Toth; Embassy of Polland Ambassador to the Philippines HE Jaroslaw Szczepankiewicz ; Embassy of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka Charge d'Affaires, a.i. Ms. P.G.P. Kaushalya; Consul General of Japan in Cebu Hideki Yamaji; and Embassy of the United States in the Philippines Chief Consuls Kristofer Graf and Leo Balantac;
Dinagyang is the Hiligaynon word for revelry or "merrymaking." The festival is Iloilo City’s version of the Ati-atihan celebrations widely observed not only in Panay Island but also in other parts of the country.
Two of the many foreign dignitaries who graced the festival were full of praises.