by - 2:14 AM

This is my first Aliwan Festival experience.  Aliwan means a venue for entertainment.  Does the festival really stand for what it is named for?  I say YES INDEED!

Known as the festival of champions, the festival showcases the culture of the various regions of the country transformed into street dances.  Religion, culture, tradition and merrymaking makes up the perfect ensemble for this annual event presented by the Manila Broadcasting Company and the Cultural Center of the Philippines, in cooperation with the cities of Manila and Pasay, the latter celebrating its 150th year as a city this year.

The Aliw Theater becomes one gigantic stage last April 13, 2013, with contingents vying for the grand prize of  one million pesos.  I arrived at 6PM, so all shots were taken during the Street Dance Competition at the grounds of Aliw Theater.

The Contingents for this Year

Metro Manila will be represented by two Sto Nino-centered fiestas:   the Dinagsa Festival of Muntinlupa  and  Baseco Compound’s Dalaksagaw, an acronym for “dasal, lakbay, sayaw, at sigaw” -- celebratory modalities instituted by the Augustinian friars of Intramuros who have jurisdiction over the area.

From the Cordillera Administrative Region, Baguio City showcases its myriad blooms for which Panagbenga has become immensely popular.  The municipality of  Kabayan, Benguet, in turn, will; present the Adivay – an Ibaloi term meaning “coming together to have fun” as the culmination of a thanksgiving ritual for a good harvest.   And from Masinloc, Zambales comes the Mango festival, portaying the legend of a golden-hearted girl who became the deity of a fruitless tree.

As residents of Catanauan, Quezon  present the wild revelry of the Boling-Boling festival,  Batanguenos aim to showcase agricultural products from the municipality of Sto. Tomas in the Mahaguyog festival, referring to mais, halaman, gulay, at niyog.   The town of Bansud, Oriental Mindoro will present the Pandang Gitab fesrtival, culled from the folkloric dance pandanggo sa ilaw which originated from the fisherfolk of Lubang island.  And for the first time,  the city of Antipolo  will make itself felt through the Ang Tipulo festival, immortalized by national artist Fernando Amorsolo in his painting depicting the town’s festive experience.

Another first-time participant is the Kabankalan Sinulog from Negros Occidental, which will tie up the people’s devotion to the Christ Child with an historical and legendary take on the “bangkal” tree from which the town derived its name

Iloilo fields two entries in the Dinagyang festival, represented by festival champion Tribu Panayanon, and the Paraw Regatta, represented by Grupo Lacsonians. Tribu Panayanon’s vignette plays up folk beliefs about a lunar eclipse and their reverence for the Sto Nino, while Grupo Lacsonian highlights the festivities during the annual boat race between Iloilo and Guimaras.

Three-time champion Lumad Basakanon comes back after a four-year hiatus rtoi represent the Sinulog of Cebu, aiming to solidify their mark as the first and only inductees into  the Aliwan Fiesta Hall of Fame

The Warays are not to be left behind as they make their presence felt with the Pasaka festival, involingprogress, good health and luck for the people of Tanauan, Leyte.

Perennial runner-up Zamboanga Hermosa bids to take home the crown with a masterful routine depicting the Subanon way of  life.  Pacman’s hometown, General Santos City, will deliver  a strong punch combining culture and industry through the Kalilangan festival, while the neighboring town of Midsayap, North Cotabato fields the Kalivungan festival, thanking the Almighty for a bountiful harvest despite a bout with pestilence among their crops.

Parang, Maguindanao presents its Padang-Padang Festival as a show of unity and peaceful coexistence among Muslims and Christians, just as the township of Buluan presents the healing spirit of the Sagayan.  Upi, in turn, honors the hard-working Tedurays largely responsible for the Meguyaya festival.

The Winners

Festival Float Competition

1st Place- Balandihan Float - Alang-alang, Leyte
2nd Place- Balinali Sang Gadung Float - Mangudadatu, Maguindanao
3rd Place - Gak't Kastill sa Banobo Float - Northern Kabuntalan, Maguindanao
1.  Pusaka Float - Maguindanao
2.  Float From Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao
3.  Sagayan Float - Buluan, Maguindanao
4.  Niyog-Puso ng Quezon - Catanauan, Quezon
5.  Penagbenga Float - Baguio City
6.  Panimbang A Tarakoku - Mother Kabuntalan, Maguindanao
7.  Sinulog Float - Cebu City

Street Dance Competition
1st Place - Dinagyang Festival - Iloilo City
2nd Place- Kalivungan Festival - Cotabato Province
3rd Place - Meguyaya Festival - Upi, Maguindanao
4th Place - Padang-Padang Festival - Parang, Maguindanao
5th Place- Adivay Festival- Benguet
Ang Tipuno Festival - Antipolo City
Mango Festival - Zambales
Pandang Gitab Festival - Oriental Mindoro
Pasaka Festival- Tanauan, Leyte
Sagayan Festival- Buluan, Maguindanao

Also won the Special Award of Best in Music and Best in Costume
Special Awardee for Best in Folkloric Performance
See you all next year!

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