Dinagyang, Manggahan Festival dancers to perform in New York

by Tambi Wycoco

NEW YORK – Two major cultural festivals from Western Visayas are set to perform in the annual Philippine Independence Day on Sunday, June 3, 2018.

Ner Martinez, president of the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI), confirmed the three-year consecutive national Aliwan Festival first prize winner Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo City will be featured anew. They have been part of PIDCI’s cultural festival for the past several years.

Joining them in their debut appearance in New York City is the Manggahan Festival dancers from Guimaras Island Province. They bagged the first runner-up prize in the same national Aliwan Festival in 2017 competition. In the much awaited upcoming annual competition in April, they are heavily favored to win the top prize. They were the recipient of the Championship crown of the previous two years (2017 and 2018) first prizes of the Iloilo Province Kasadyahan Festival, a major regional annual competition among the same genre of national dance groups.

The Dinagyang Festival dancers have consistently wowed their audience with their colorful costumes as they danced in a choreographed formation and patterns as well as chanting to the sound of loud drum beats and improvised percussion instruments. The dancers were featured throughout the Parade from its starting point on 38th Street up until its turn-off point on 27th Street on Madison Avenue. Later in the day, they were again featured at the Cultural Festival open-air stage on Madison Avenue at 23rd Street drawing praises and expression of satisfaction and great joy from the crowd.

Meanwhile, Manggahan Festival derived its name from the principal product of the province – mangoes – which is known worldwide for the best mangoes as featured in the 1995 Guinness World Record’s Sweetest Mangoes. The Manggahan Festival dancers usually perform during the annual Mango Festival of Guimaras in May, an annual week-long celebration that commemorates the conversion of the former sub-province of Iloilo into a full-pledge province.

The dance presentation showcases their creativity while telling the story of the province’s glorious history, vibrant culture and interesting way of life, proving that Guimaras, apart from sweet mangoes, is home to a world-class fiesta that is very much “tasteful.”

The Iloilo City Dinagyang Street Dancers and the Guimaras Dance Group Manggahan will be accompanied in their trip to New York by provincial and city officials of the two provinces led by Guimaras Provincial Governor Samuel T. Gumarin, MD, MPH and Iloilo City Mayor Jose S. Espinosa III, among others.

PIDCI with the support of the Philippine Consulate General in New York will be leading the 120th Philippine Independence Day Anniversary Commemoration with the theme “Honoring Our Heroes, Inspiring Solidarity Among Us All”. This year’s Grand Marshal is Maj.Restituto N. Estacio, MD, FS, FACIP with Ambassador Mario L. De Leon, Jr. as Honorary Grand Marshal.

PIDCI also announced this year’s schedule of activities:

  • April 13, 2018 – Cheers to Freedom Happy Hour, W Hotel Times Square, The Living Room, NYC
  • April 22, 2018Mrs. Kalayaan Coronation Night, They Graycliff, Moonachie, NJ
  • April 28, 2018Grand Marshal Gala, Crown Plaza, Cherry Hill, NJ
  • May 12, 2018Diwa ng Kalayaan Coronation Night, Ramada Plaza, Newark, NJ
  • June 3, 2018Flag Raising/Independence Mass, Philippine Center, NYC
    Philippine Independence Day Parade, Madison Ave., 38th St. (moving South)
    Philippine Independence Day Street Fair, Madison Ave. & Park Ave., 26th Street, NYC
    Philippine Independence Day Cultural Festival, Madison Ave. & 24th St., NYC
  • June 9, 2018Philippine Independence Ball, Hilton at Meadowlands, East Rutherford, NJ

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