Doon Po Sa Amin: promoting love of place

By Marie Katherine Villalon
Ati-ati contest participant. Glen Jumayao photo

Dinagyang Festival, Iloilo City’s world-class festival held every fourth Sunday of January, has reached greater heights and has wowed many foreign nationals. But, the time has come for it to touch the very grassroots of the province where it was born so  that it can be enjoyed more by the locals.

Ben Jimena, Iloilo City Tourism Development officer, revealed that there will be changes in the celebration of Dinagyang Festival 2015.

First, Dinagyang Festival 2015 will be less noisy. “We have noticed that drumbeats are no longer ‘in’ in the international scene. People leave when it is too loud. So, we will now discourage a very loud Dinagyang performance,” he said.

Second, other festivals will be invited and expensive props will be discouraged. In line with this, a new event will be launched; the Festival Costume Expo. “We have invited 30 major festivals all over the country to bring their costumes. One way of knowing a place’s local culture is to look at what they wear and the colors they use,” Jimena said.

Meanwhile, the Koronadal and Tacurong festivals will participate in the Kasadyahan National Festival, a cultural presentation that will be held a day before the Dinagyang proper.

Third, the festival will highlight its religious roots and bring the image of the miraculous Senor Santo Nino closer to the locals.

“The image will pass the MIGEDC towns. This way, there will be more local participation,” Jimena said.

MIGEDC refers to the Metro Iloilo-Guimaras Economic Development Council that is comprised of Iloilo City and its nearby towns Oton, San Miguel, Leganes, Pavia and Sta. Barbara.

Share the beauty of your town. Join Smart's Doon Po Sa Amin contest.

Dinagyang Festival 2015 will also highlight the “Sadsad”, a religious merrymaking activity. “This is a very popular event already. Many people said they fulfilled their wishes after participating in the ‘Sadsad’.  Women getting their wish of having a baby and students passing their important exams are just a few of the many stories that participants have shared.

The merrymaking is held in front of the San Jose Parish Church across Plaza Libertad, Iloilo City Proper every year on the eve of the Dinagyang Festival.

“To make Dinagyang sustainable, it has to be different every year. But, the stage ticket price is still the same. The kiosks will be rented for the same price and will be available through outright payment in December,” he said.

The tagline for Dinagyang 2015 is “Sum it up to the top.”

On top of Dinagyang Festival, Iloilo City has other sources of pride, such as the beautiful Esplanade, open spaces at the Fort San Pedro, bike lanes along Diversion Road, and creation of the Rivercraft Pavilion geared for tourism and transportation. Because of these, Iloilo City won the Livable Design Challenge organized by the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

“Dito po sa atin sa Iloilo Iloilo, may nangyayari to make us proud,” Jimena concluded.



Meanwhile, Ms. Elsa Subong, head of the Philippine Information Agency in Iloilo City, stressed that instead of posting our angst on social media, why not post information that would make people feel good about their place?

“It is better to write about your delights of your place instead of sad posts on Facebook,” she said. “Live more. Let us make life better. Make life more successful with this,” she said.

Jimena’s presentation of Dinagyang Festival 2015 is one of the highlights of Smart Communications’ re-launching of “Doon Po sa Amin” project. It is a contest, which allows everybody to feature, in multimedia form, what is special about their place.

Smart Communications urges everybody, “Be your hometown’s ambassador. Put your hometown on the map.”

Doing so would not only promote positivity vibes online, it will also give you the chance to win many prizes.

How to join
If you are high school or college student or a budding filmmaker or film enthusiast, you can take part in the Doon Po Sa Amin contest. First, form a team of 8-10 members.

Second, create. You can pick any of these categories for your entry: activities to enjoy, food to eat, history to uncover, people to meet, places to go, plants and animals to discover or community projects to support.

Third, shoot. Present your entry in any of the following formats or combine them together: animation, documentary, music video and/or short film. Submission of entries is until November 30, 2014.

To register, click on: Doon Po Sa Amin.

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