Iloilo's Dinagyang Festival awes visitors

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ILOILO CITY, Jan. 25 (PNA) -- For first timers, no other festivals are comparable with Iloilo’s Dinagyang Festival as they expressed how amazed they were with the performances of tribes depicting the culture of Ilonggos.

“Nothing compares with this festival in Iloilo City,” said Swede Kari Isommaa, head of delegation of the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) based in Metro Manila.

Isommaa, together with IFRC field program coordinator Mijanur Rahman and Philippine Red Cross Governor Richard Gordon, were in this city to witness the world famous Dinagyang Festival, rated as the best tourism event of the Philippines by the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP) Sunday.

The Red Cross official said he has been to several countries in the world and seeing tourism events and festivals but Dinagyang in Iloilo City is beyond compare.

He said he has many pictures taken during the performances of the tribes Sunday and he is going to show these off to his friends in other countries.

On the other hand, Ray Sauter of Houston, Texas, USA cannot describe his feelings upon seeing for the first time the performances of tribes.

He admitted seeing many festivals in several countries but Dinagyang is the first awesome and glorious street dance performance he had ever seen.

“The best I have seen and I highly recommend Dinagyang to the world,” Sauter said.

Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog said this year’s staging of Dinagyang is still apolitical with no politician guests taking the microphone.

Among the guests are ambassadors and diplomats of 11 countries, including the US, China, Russia and South Korea.

Other guests were Senate President Franklin Drilon,former Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, Congresswoman Leni Robredo, Congressman Sherwin Gatchalian, Congressman Carlos Zarate, former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and former senator Miguel Zubiri, among others.

The honor of being a Dinagyang Warrior was awarded to Mayor Hwang Eun-seong of Anseong City, South Korea, who brought with him to Iloilo the acrobatic and cultural dancers of Anseong to be the guest performers Sunday.