Dinagyang Festival Wins Grand Slam Prize

by Kobakila News

NEW YORK — The Dinagyang Festival, the star attraction in last year’s Philippine Independence Day commemoration in New York, danced away with the Grand Slam prize in the 10th annual Aliwan Fiesta in Manila, Philippines April 14 for the third year in a row and took home one million Philippine Pesos.

The Tribu Pan-Ay dancers, representing Iloilo City’s Dinagyang Festival, and anchored by students of Fort San Pedro National High School, beat 20 other street dance contingents fielded by festivals from all over the Philippines.

Having become a global phenomenon, and just as they did in New York last year, the Dinagyang Festival street dancers put on a spectacle that just couldn’t be beat for thousands upon thousands of audiences for the three-day Aliwan Fiesta.

As guests at the 113th Philippine Independence Anniversary Commemoration events in New York, they brought the Independence Day participation and attendance record to about 100,000.

The Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI), organizers of the annual months-long, multi-event Philippine Independence anniversary commemoration presented the Dinagyang Festival dancers as main feature in the Parade and the afternoon Cultural Festival on Madison Avenue on June 5 and as the highlight of the Philippine Independence Ball on the following Saturday at the Hilton New York Hotel.  Last year’s celebration was led by then PIDCI President Joji J. Jalandoni.

The 22-year-old event is now known as the largest free-admission outdoor gathering of Filipinos and their friends in the Diaspora, after being proudly touted as the largest Philippine Independence celebration outside of the Philippines for more than 18 years.

The three-day Aliwan Fiesta in Manila is a ten-year mega-event that this year was participated in by 21 groups of street dancers from Festivals far and wide, 21 floats (the top prize winner, Laoag City’s “Pamulinawen” float ingeniously made with garlic and other agricultural products of Ilocos Norte) for a huge gathering of 5,000 dancers, musicians, artisans, and others; culminated by a Grand Parade traversing Roxas Boulevard from the Luneta Grandstand winding up on Sotto Street in front of CCP’s Aliw Theater Complex.  The cultural extravaganza is organized and presented by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and Manila Broadcasting Company (MBC) in cooperation with the City of Manila and Pasay City.

Aliwan Fiesta also comes with a Reyna ng Aliwan Fiesta (Aliwan Fiesta Queen) contest whose winner this year is Angeli Dione Gomez from Toledo City, in Cebu.  This is the fourth straight year the Reyna ng Aliwan Fiesta came from Cebu in the Southern Philippines.

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PHOTO CAPTION:  Dinagyang Festival, grand prize winner in the 10th Aliwan Fiesta in Manila.  It was the third-year-in-a-row win for the Tribu Pan-ay students from Fort San Pedro National High School.  They won P1,000,000.

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