Last week of January till 1st week of February
Municipality of Calinog
3rd District, Iloilo
Calinog celebrates and shares its culture through dance and chants with the annual celebration of Hirinugyaw–Suguidanonay. The festival is known to be Iloilo’s only literary festival that showcases the wonderful story of Hinilawod through dance performed in its unique mix of poetry, chants and music.
It is a special event of great beauty and cultural significance. The festival highlighted by the tribal-dance competition performed in two segments. It starts with the Suguidanon that provide visitors with their authentic indigenous culture. Suguidanon, a story-telling done in chants, performed and showcased annually in chapters from the folk epic poem Hinilawod (Tales from the Mouth of Halawod River) considered to be the 2nd longest epic in the world written and recorded by Ilonggo Anthropologist Dr. F. Landa Jocano (a native of Cabatuan, Iloilo) in 1957 based from stories from the inhabitants of Central Panay (Sulodnon). It is a rich source of their cultural practices, religion and rituals.
Hinilawod is one of the hardest of all Panay oral literature passed from generation to the next. It has been said that the chanter, the Babaylan (native priest) can only take one apprentice at a time to learn the epic by listening and internalizing it. It is said that when recorded it takes about 30 hours and when performed as a chant with interruptions for meals and sleep, the epic lasts for three days.
Each year, one chapter from the epic is performed accompanied by chanting done in Kiniray-a.
The last part of the presentation is the Hirinugyaw. From a Hiligaynon word hugyaw meaning to cheer, the performance is inspired by the Dinagyang Festival that anchors on the religious aspect of venerating Sr. Sto. Niño and highlighted by colourful costumes with fast-paced dances movements.
Hirinugyaw-Suguidanonay Festival provides a fantastic opportunity for attendees to be fully immersed in Calinog’s Panay Bukidnon and local culture. This is a celebration of their lives together as one people living in mutual respect of their differences in faith, identity, and ethnicity.
3rd week of January
Municipality of San Joaquin
1st District, Iloilo
Bayluhay Festival of San Joaquin, annually celebrated every 3rd week of January showcases the historic barter based on folk history of the Maragtas legend.
Visitors step back in time and relive the period of the historic landing of the ten Bornean Datus in Panay. The festival commemorates the barter of the island that ultimately lead to the inhabitation of the Malays in the entire Philippine archipelago.
It was said that sometime between the 13th and 15th century, ten Shri-Vijayan Datus led by the Sultanate Minister Datu Putih, together with their families, households and subordinates fled Bornay (Borneo) using their balanghais boat for sea travel) in search of a new life. It was said that the group landed in Siruanga (Siwaragan River in San Joaquin) where they bartered their gold and jewelries with the local “Ati” (Aeta) Chieftain Marikudo with his wife Maniwantiwang for the lowlands, plains and valleys of the Aninipay Island (Panay) they called “Madya-as” or paradise. After the transaction was sealed, the Atis were believed to have retired to the mountains and the Malay took complete control of the lowlands.
The celebration also showcases the various ancient customs and traditions that San Joaquinhons have inherited from their ancestors, colourful rituals that had deeply ingrained in their lives.
Excerpts of the performances will also include the portrayal of everyday life during the ancient times. Ritual drama are also incorporated which includes music, song, drumming, chanting and mass participation. These ritual traditions have left a lasting impression on our Malay brothers that are very much visible to this day.
Bayluhay Festival is an opportunity for the people of San Joaquin to express their pride and honour, known to be progenies of these great and noble ancient rulers of the land. It is proof of the greatness that springs from unity among the people in their community; the local government and the private sector, cultural advocates come together.
3rd week of January
Municipality of San Joaquin
1st District, Iloilo
Pasungay and Pahibag the traditional bull and horse fighting in San Joaquin stands out as one of the most awaited events in the month of January. It has developed over the years from a dangerously amusing and recreational event to an exciting competition.
Although horse fighting is outlawed in many countries, the people of San Joaquin continue this tradition because of its cultural importance. It was said that bullfights were already being held in San Joaquin as far back as the Spanish era. Bull and horse fighting is an annual traditional sport of the community. As horse and carabao fighting increased in popularity, more and more people began to take part, and horse fights became part of every traditional festival. It was only in the 1970s that bull and horse fights were institutionalized in the town and gradually acquired the importance they have today.
Pasungay and Pahibag features bulls and horses pitted against other bulls and horses and awarded prizes for their skills in overcoming the opponent. The bull and horse fight in the area is way less ferocious than the bull fight that is the beloved sport depicted elsewhere especially in European countries and South America without compromising the realism or thrill of watching the raging bulls and horses. In this event, the animals are not killed or seriously injured.
The arena is located at the San Joaquin Sports Stadium, a stretch of open flat land at the back of the municipal hall. Bull and horse fighting continue to attract audiences from all walks of life. On the event day, many would come all the way from neighboring provinces to partake in the tradition and fill the stadium while some gather at the back of the field.
With its celebration of centuries of custom and tradition, bullfighting continues to be a time-honoured practice in San Joaquin.
Municipality of Lambunao
3rd District, Province of Iloilo
The indigenous Visayan group of Panay Bukidnon also known as Suludnon are a group of people who reside in the mountainous areas of Capiz-Lambunao. Considered to be the only culturally indigenous group of Visayan language-speakers in the whole of Western Visayas, The Suludnons live in small disconnected settlements and have retained their own culture, their own unique forms of dance and music, which they have preserved through the ages, surviving through years of colonial invasions.
Reflecting their rich cultural ancestry, Lambunao highlights their most highly developed art, its Binanog dance through the annual celebration of Binanog Festival. Enhanced by their colourful costumes using detailed needlework and complex gong-bamboo musical accompaniment, the festival is celebrated every 2nd week of January.
The Binanog dance has three varieties: (1) Binanugan which imitates the movements of the birds; (2) Inagong Sayaw-Sayaw or the celebration dance; and (3) Dinagmay or the courtship dance. With the symbolic beating of a gong, pairs move in these simple varieties that involve the extension of the arms, flapping in unison with various foot works. Dancers, normally in pairs pace themselves as they move to the steady heartbeat of the gong and dancing for attention with each other. The climax of the dance features the intricate moves and the recognizable swinging of the shawl taken from the waist of the female dancer as she captures her male partner.
The Sulodnons wear their traditional clothing. For the female, the lower part is a Patadyong, a cotton fabric in plaid patterns of red, blue, yellow, green and pink with white borders and is considered as the most popular hinabol, the term given to any hand-woven fabric made out of fibrous materials. The top is of bell sleeves known as Saipang and is embellished with multi-coloured needlework locally known as Tubok and is done with their own deft hands. Their outfit is accentuated by a Pudong, a headpiece of old coin and a Biningkit, a neckpiece of old coins with glass beads.
Binanog Festival is an opening salvo for Iloilo’s year-long of municipal and city festivities. Visitors from near and far gather to enjoy Lambunao’s warm fellowship and rural charm.
Last Sunday of January
A more lavish and choreographed version of Kalibo’s Ati-Atihan, the festival is recognized as the country’s most popular, consistently attracting local and foreign tourists as well as devotees of the Sto. Niño or the Child Jesus. The festivity is a competition participated in by tribes with soot-painted warriors with dance patterns displaying varieties of movements and often using their spears, shields or the image of the child Jesus. Formalized patterns, such as straight lines or circular formations emerge as dancers display their skills to the deafening beat of the drums.
City Tourism Officer
Contact nos.:(033) 337-2172 / (033) 366-7572
Last Saturday of January
Happening on the Saturday of the Dinagyang celebration, Kasadyahan is also a street parade where tribes perform in judging areas. However, the tribes performing in the Kasadyahan are given a freehand with regards to concepts and interpretation. It has a more varied theme, usually portraying slices of local history. The presentation is mostly theatrical and is participated by various towns showcasing the different festivals of Iloilo Province. Here, performers are not required to paint themselves in black and can wear any costume they want depending on their concept, and music is not only limited in the use of drums.
DR. EDEN DERIADA
City Tourism Officer
Contact nos: (033) 3372172.