by - 10:55 AM

It takes patience to be able to fully witness the grand presentation of the festival of festivals at the Aliw Theater Grounds near the CCP Complex.  The sweat, shoving, temper and selfishness of some spectators is a test in itself.  Fortunately, we were able to manage.

The Aliwan Fiesta is an annual event organized by the Manila Broadcasting Company (MBC) together with the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and the cities of Manila and Pasay.  The fiesta is divided into three categories:  Cultural Street Dance Competition (main event), Float Parade and the Reyna ng Aliwan (Queen of Entertainment/Amusement) beauty pageant. 

Assembly was at the Quirino Grandstand. While some contingents prepare for the parade and the presentation, we can’t help but be amazed of the colorful and intricately-made costumes, props and floats.  Participants wear a smile despite the scorching heat of the afternoon sun.

We then went back to the Aliw Theater grounds to witness the festival presentation.  Having witnessed the street dance competition of the Sinulog Festival at Cebu City this year, I had little insights of what festivals to watch out for and I am certain that top contenders will come from Eastern Visayas.  There were no participants from Eastern Visayas last year and obviously for reasons that they are still in the process of recovering due to the onslaught of typhoon Haiyan.  This year, they are back to business.

Eastern Visayas contingents – Catbalogan City and Pinabacdao, Samar were applauded by the audience.  I was actually surprised of the execution and the over-all presentation.  It made me proud of my home region. The defending champion from Cebu City likewise maintains its charm while I admire the skill and talent of the children of Maguindanao for the Meguyaya Festival with the parting message of peace for the whole of Mindanao.

Here are the winners of the 2015 Aliwan Fiesta Street Dancing Competition:

1st Place: Mandaragat Festival (Catbalogan, Samar)

2nd Place: Sinulog Festival (Cebu City)

3rd Place: Mayaw-Mayaw Festival (Samar)
4th Place: Sakuting Festival (Dolores, Abra)

5th Place: Meguyaya Festival (Upi, Maguindanao)

Kalivungan Festival (Cotabato Province)
Candle Festival (Candelaria, Quezon)
Sagayan Festival (Datu Piang, Maguindanao)
Panagbenga Festival (Baguio City)
Pandang Gitab Festival (Oriental Mindoro)

Special Awards:

Best Musical Accompaniment: Sinulog Festival
Best Costume: Sinulog Festival
Best Folkloric Performance: Panagbenga Festival

As for the 2015 Float Competition:

1st Place: Sto. Nino Fluvial Procession (Samar)
2nd Place: Sagayan Festival (Datu Piang, Maguindanao)
3rd Place: Sakuting Festival (Dolores, Abra)
Float from Luna, Isabela
Panagbenga Festival of Baguio City
Sinulog Festival of Cebu City
Float from Cotabato City
Lakbay Quezon Float from Quezon Province
Mysterious Kutawato Cave Float from Cotabato City
Tatlong Republika Float (Singkaban Festival)of Bulacan

Special Awards:

Coca-Cola Best Float:
1st Prize: Sakuting Festival (Dolores, Abra)
2nd Prize: Panagbenga Festival (Baguio)
3rd Prize: Sinulog Festival (Cebu)

Manila Bulletin Choice Award:
Sagayan Festival – Datu Pian, Maguindanao

With the display of craftsmanship and world-class talents that we have witnessed, we can truly conclude how diverse and rich Philippine culture and heritage is.

We are indeed fortunate to have witnessed the same in just one night at the Aliw Theater grounds.  I just hope that next year, I would be able to witness the festival presentation smoothly without the unnecessary shoving and inconvenience.

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