Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Great Literary Show through HIRINUGYAW-SUGUIDANONAY Festival in Calinog

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

The Hirinugyaw-Suguidanonay Festival in Calinog 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. This type of celebration is the most prestigious held annually in this beautiful heritage municipality.

The tribal dance competition is the heart of the festival celebration designed especially for literature lovers, to inspire them to go on to greater things. The event has been enthusiastically endorsed by educators and teachers.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

Hinilawod is a great source of information about the culture, religion and rituals of the ancient people of the Sulod, a thriving indigenous community living along the banks of Halawod River in Central Panay. DR. F. LANDA JOCANO, a renowned Filipino anthropologist who did a comprehensive study on Hinilawod by living with the Sulodnons in the mountains for years so to gain the respect and approval of the people there.


a Sulodnon's garment

The Sulod tribe inhabits the mountains of Central Panay, Tapaz, Capiz, Calinog, Lambuanao, Iloilo and in Valderrama, Antique Province.  They speak in Sulod dialect, a combination of Kiniray-a and Hiligaynon. The Sulod women wear Patadyong (checkered cloth hand-woven in Panay) for their lower garment, a red top with long narrow sleeves, usually made of cotton with harmonious colors in various patterns. On special occasions, the women a headdress locally known as Pudong---a narrow headpiece of red color with old coins; a Biningkit or a necklace made of various-colored glass beads and silver coins strung together; and wrist-like accessory of various colored glass beads. They are known for their dances, the Binanog and Kuratsa.

Hinilawod, translated in English as “Tales from the Mouth of Halawod River” is one of the longest epics known with 28,155 lines in verses. It is even longer than the Iliad which has only 15,700 verses. This literary masterpiece, originally chanted in Kiniray-a (a native language prevalent in the mountains of Panay) from memory would take three days when chanted in its original form.

The verses that recounted the exploits of triplet Sulodnon demigod brothers (sons of Datu Paubari, ruler of the Halawod and the beautiful Alunsina) of ancient Panay, Labaw Donggon, Humadapnon and Dumalapdap.



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. The apprentice needs to have a personal relationship with the Babaylan by being there all the time, watching the Babaylan while working and being involved in everything the Babaylan is doing.


Calinog is a peaceful town with ancient cultural traditions. The Hirinugyaw-Suguidanonay Festival is a reflection of its historical roots. It is as an opportunity to revive the literary and intellectual spirit of the Ilonggos. The only one of its kind, it has not only brought together literary talents but also writers, poets and cultural figures from the region over.

Hirinugyaw-Suguinonay also helped to focus attention on and encourage respect for local traditions. Literature, dance and music, which most people associate with our local culture is a powerful tool in assembling and reinforcing our identity.


Entering its seventh year, the festival draws visitors from across the province. With this year’s theme, “Si Sr. Sto. Nino Pasidunggan, Kulturang Tumandok Amligan, Kalamidad Pakigbatuan, Padulong sa Kauswagan,”the celebration kicked off in January 25 (Friday) with the Torch Procession and Lighted Sto. Nino Contest and the Presentation of Hamtong nga Lin-ay kag Ulitao and Linghuron nga Lin-ay kag Ulitao; January 26 (Saturday) with Biodiversity Exhibit and the Cultural Presentation of District II; January 27 (Sunday) with the Cultural Presentation of District I; January 28 (Monday) with the Talent’s Night of Hamtong nga Lin-ay kag  Ulitao and Linghuron ng Lin-ay kag Ulitao; January 29 (Tuesday) with Adlaw sang Panguma; January 30 (Wednesday) with the Cultural Presentation of WVSU-Calinog Campus; January 31 (Thrusday)  with the Coronation of Linghuron nga Lin-ay kag Ulitao kang Hirinugyaw-Suguidanonay Festival 2013; February 1 (Friday) with the Coronation Night of Hamtong nga Lin-ay kag Ulitao Kang Hirinugyaw-Suguidanonay Festival 2013; February 2 (Saturday) with the Festival of Mini-Sounds; and February 3 (Sunday) with the Tribal dance competition at 9 a.m. and the Festival of Sounds at 1 p.m.

To get to Calinog, numerous jeepneys and buses run daily from Pavia People’s Terminal in  Barangay Ungka-II, Pavia, Iloilo or at the Bus-Jeepney Terminal fronting Christ the King Memorial Park in Jaro, Iloilo City.

No comments:

Post a Comment

PAPISIK Restobar: Showcasing Authentic Ilonggo Cuisine

Papisik Native Chicken Native chicken, duck and goat meat are a staple of most rural Iloilo cuisine especially on special occasions...