Opening Salvo is Ilonggos’ call to the technical or dry run of the Dinagyang street dancing. I was lucky to have glimpsed this local tradition a week before the actual Dinagyang Festival which is scheduled on 24-26 January 2014 here in Iloilo.
It is the province’s version of the Ati-atihan Festval celebrated in nearby Aklan. It is a local term for merry making which got its full recognition back in 1977. Prior to that, it is knows as Iloilo’s Ati-atihan. According to dinagyangsailoilo.com,
“Iloilo Ati-Atihan dates back to the year 1967 when a replica of the image of Señor Santo Niño was first brought from Cebu by the San Jose Parish in Iloilo City. The image, accompanied by devotees from Cebu, was enthusiastically received at the Mandurriao Airport by the people of Iloilo.
In 1969, the Ati-Atihan contest became a part of the cultural aspect of the celebration with only four tribes participating. Since then, the celebration has progressed into a more colorful and pompous affair that includes the participation of more tribes and groups…”
Of course, there were a lot of locals lining up the streets to see the practice. They were as excited as non residents like me trying to get a good “seat” at the hotel’s stairs. I actually didn’t end up at the stairs but near the drummers to see all the sways and swaggers the dancers were doing. I think my ear drums are no good after being near those real drums.
And this young man is as much as the participant and as well as the spectator.