Monday, May 7, 2012

Advancing Cultural Heritage through the Fiestas in the City Celebration

In the Philippines, the month of May is when summer is at its peak, a time when many visit neighboring provinces to enjoy the different sites and attractions. May is also considered to be the merriest and most colorful month of the year due to the simultaneous holding of festivals and fiestas in almost all parts of the country and many partake in the celebration of their unique local festivities.

Our country is comprised of different regions with a wide array of backgrounds and cultures. One benefit of this rich cultural diversity is the vast amount of varied cultural heritage festivals held across the region each year. This paradise land presents visitors with a rich tapestry of cultural events and festivals that showcase their rich and varied cultural heritage.

Fiestas in the City 2011 with cultural dancers from the Municipality of Badiangan, Iloilo

Folk dance and music is the core of Western Visayas region’s tradition and culture. Some local festivities have gained so much importance that people from all over the world flock to see them. The regional office of the Department of Tourism has enhanced the tradition by holding the annual Fiestas in the City celebration.

The Fiestas in the City, now on its 11th year, is considered to be the longest-standing tourism tradition held in Iloilo. It includes daily cultural performances, destination booth, culinary and pageantry will culminate this year in a week-long festival celebration from May 14-20 with the following schedule of activities: May 14 opens the festivity with a short program following the performances of Camerata of Iloilo rondalla group; the Kinaadman Chorale of John B. Lacson University and Janiuay Dance Troupe at the event center of SM City Iloilo. The destination booth simultaneously opens at the Toy Kingdom area of the same mall.

May 15 features the traditional embroidery of the Panay Bukidnon of Calinog, Iloilo and Anting-Anting Accessories of the Ati Community of Kati-Kati at 3 p.m. at the mall's activity center; May 16 opens with the cultural presentation of the Municipality of Leganes, 5 p.m. at the activity center with their pinaka-valenciana at the destination booth. May 17 highlights the island-province of Guimaras with “Sinulog sang Guimaras” at 5 p.m., SM City activity center alongside Passi City’s pinaka featuring Midway’s famous banana chips at the destination booth area beside Toy Kingdom; May 18 is all set for Anilao with “Dali Kamo Dayon Sa Anilao” alongside Tigbauan’s pinaka- white pansit.

The highlight of the celebration is the annual Sagala of Festival and Fiesta Queens featuring the different festivals and fiesta queens around Iloilo and Guimaras on May 20. This year, 15 queens representing the towns of Janiuay, Badiangan, Miag-ao, Lambunao, Sta. Barbara, Pavia, Oton, Leganes, Leon, Cabatuan, Tigbauan, the City of Passi and Iloilo and the Province of Guimaras will parade wearing their best Filipiniana-inspired gowns.

The Department of Tourism Region VI Office with SM City Iloilo has always provided a gathering place for Ilonggos especially for the youth to learn about their culture. It is also an avenue for elders to rekindle social and cultural vibrancy as they pass on their wisdom and experience to the younger generation.

As a member of the Ilonggo community, you are integral to the preservation of this legacy. Please support by witnessing the daily activities of the 11th Fiestas in the City celebration prepared by the different municipalities and provinces all over the region to ensure the continuation of this Ilonggo community tradition for the next generations.

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