Wednesday, February 13, 2008

First Time Revelry in Dinagyang

(January 26-28, 2008)

UP Centennial Kick Off Celebration

My plane Cebu Pacific touched down in Sta. Barbara Airport at around 9:30am. I was surprised to find out that it’s a very new airport of international standards that has opened last year. It is one hour ride away from the city. There are shuttle buses that are available but a little expensive. I took a multicab and transferred to a jeepney going to SM City and just paid the minimum fare of Php7 each ride. I went straight to University of the Philippines (UP) Iloilo campus to see my friend Vicente Tan, a professor of the said school. He treated me with a lunch at a nearby resto. We went back and rode a jeep to downtown plaza to join the parade of UP community as a kick off celebration of UPs 100th year. A program was held later in the campus and guest speakers were Sen. Francisco Pangilinan and UP President Emerlinda Roman. A brand new car was unveiled to the public as a major prize in a future raffle draw. There were dance numbers presented by the dance core group and the Dinagyang’s Tribu Familia Sagrada.

Later at night, Vinnie and I went to join Coco and friends for a dinner at Imay’s resto at Smallville and had a bottle of beer at Bourbon Street.

Dinangyang Festival

I went all by myself to the town center to witness the Dinagyang Festival. Several tribes were there to compete for the grand prize. Seats on the bleachers located on the judging areas are for sale from Php500-600 per seat. What I did was to catch them at Iznart street where they began their dancing bouts.

Dinagyang is a mardigras that is on its 40th year of celebration. This is being held annually to honor the patron saint Senor Santo Nino. Being adjudged as the Best Tourism Event of the Philippines for 2 consecutive years, many tourists come over to witness the colorful event.

A Visit to UNESCO’s Miagao Church

One of the four barouque churches in the Philippines is the Miagao Church or the Church of Santo Tomas de Villanueva declared as one of UNESCOs World Heritage Sites. It has an amazing structure that stood the test of time. Built in 1787 and later damaged by fire and earthquake and restored in the 1960s. Prior to this, I had the chance to visit the UP Miagao Campus wherein I went with Vinnie who will be meeting his class.

Side Trip to Bacolod City

I took the ferry Weesam at 11am to Bacolod and I paid 260 pesos including terminal fee for an economy seat for a one hour boat ride to my destination. I went around downtown and saw the church and the plaza. I was surprised again to know that they have a brand new airport here of international standards. It is located in Silay City. Getting a taxi to airport would cost you Php300-400 but a jeep or minibus would only cost around 25pesos. I was lucky that someone from the airport offered me a ride from Silay when they saw me looking for a tricycle.

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