Can Dinagyang defend Aliwan crown?

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ILOILO City – This city’s Dinagyang Festival is bidding to keep its title as Aliwan Fiesta’s grand champion.

Tribu Panayanon of Iloilo City National High School, this year’s Dinagyang Festival champion, will be competing in Metro Manila against 15 other regional festivals from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

The Aliwan Fiesta is slated from April 12 to 14.

For Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, however, the annual Aliwan is not just a venue to showcase Dinagyang Festival’s artistic and cultural grandeur.

Dinagyang demonstrates the close cooperation of the city government, the private sector and the church, he stressed.

It is a public and private partnership that has made Iloilo City recognizable in the national and international scene, Mabilog added.

City Tourism Officer Benito Jimena said the Dinagyang contingent has been given their Aliwan sojourn budget – P3.2 million.

The budget was pooled from the city government, the Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation Inc. and private sponsors.

The Aliwan Fiesta has been dubbed the “mother of all fiestas.” This annual celebration gathers different cultural festivals of the Philippines in a dance parade and competition.

Its aim is to showcase the different Filipino cultures and heritage.

The contingents, meanwhile, aim to promote their respective regions both economically and tourism-wise.

According to Tribu Panayanon choreographer Rommel Flogen, his group upgraded its costumes and gigantic props.

Not leaving anything to chance, Tribu Panayanon “warriors” have been practicing and building their stamina for a grueling performance.

“We want to bring honor to Iloilo City,” Flogen said.

Tribu Salakayan of Miag-ao, Iloilo, this year’s champion in Dinagyang’s Kasadyahan contest, is not participating in the Aliwan. It failed to raise the necessary budget.

Paraw Regatta Festival’s Samba De Regatta champion of John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University would have wanted to replace Tribu Salakayan but it also failed to come up with the needed budget.

Aside from Dinagyang, the official list of Aliwan Fiesta contingents for 2013 includes:

* Ang Tipulo Festival of Antipolo City

* Pamulinawen Festival of Laoag City, Ilocos Norte

* Panagbenga Festival of Baguio City

* Bangus Festival of Dagupan City, Pangasinan

* Mango Festival of Iba, Zambales

* Pandang Gitab Festival of Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro

* Mahaguyog Festival of Batangas’ Ala-eh

* Fiesta de Toros of Nasugbo, Batangas

* Lumad Basakanon for the Sinulog Festival of Cebu

* Kabankalan’s Sinulog for Negros Occidental

* Pasak Festival of Tanauan, Leyte

* Tuna Festival of General Santos City

* Hermosa Festival of Zamboanga City; and

* Kalivugan Festival of Midsayap, North Cotabato.

The yearly Aliwan Fiesta is hosted by the Manila Broadcasting Corp. Other activities from April 11 to April 13 are the Paskalye inter-school dance competition, Reyna ng Aliwan beauty pageant which will be participated by Miss Iloilo Dinagyang 2013 Emily Victoria Oke, streetdance and float parade competition./PN