Aliwan Fiesta 2013, Revisiting the Philippines’ Mother of Festivals

Dinagyang Festival, Aliwan Fiesta 2013 Campion
Dinagyang Festival, Aliwan Fiesta 2013 Campion

Aliwan” is a tagalog word which means to amuse or entertain. A term fitting for this so-called “Mother of Festivals” called Aliwan Fiesta, running annually in Manila for 10 years (since 2003) which aims to gather some of the best festivals in the country and present them in one place. An ambitious task but successfully realized by Manila Broadcasting Company (MBC) and Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). Maybe it’s the cheery and festive nature of Filipinos that made it successful every year.

Young performer amidst the props by Meduyaya Festival
Young performer amidst the props by Meduyaya Festival

The Aliwan Fiesta 2013

It took me 4 years to watch the Aliwan Fiesta again. I like festivals but it’s not something I would intentionally look for. If it’s there then I’d see it. Since I’m in Manila on the weekend right smack April 13, 2013, I decided to watch and shoot the Aliwan Fiesta. My bad for not reading up since I ended up going to CCP first which was the end stop for the parade. I had to walk the 4km stretch of Roxas Boulevard to the Luneta Grandstand. Fortunately the sky was overcast, the wind breezy and with part of Roxas Blvrd closed, it was one of those rare days I could walk in the middle of the street.

It's all about the Sto Niño
It’s all about the Sto Niño

A Multi-Cultural Gathering

The venue was great opportunity for a lot of photographers to take photos of festival participants in their wonderful costumes. There are 17 contingents from all over the country competing for the main Street Dancing Event. There’s the Floats Competition and the Aliwan Festival Queen.

Dancing to the beat of the drums
Dancing to the beat of the drums

The Street Dancing Competition

The event was supposed to start at 3pm but after the opening ceremonies the dance competition officially started past 4pm. Unlike my last Aliwan, contingents have to parade first before performing, it was much better now that they performed first with their energies still up before they parade to CCP.

Since I didn’t have a media pass, I and my friends went at the back near the stage for a good spot. I just wanted to watch the performance as well and not squeeze in the photographers area on the side. I have to say I was looking forward to the Dinagyang Performance but the first batch before them was quite good. The Zamboanga Hermosa was a stunner of an opening, the Padang Padang impressed me with their gigantic props and Adivay of Benguet was so entertaining. But when Dinagyang performed it was so mesmerizing that I was moved to shoot them just to capture their energetic performance.

We didn’t finish the whole program and found out later that Dinagyang Festival din win the top prize again for the 4th consecutive year. It was a really entertaining night I saw a few foreigners enjoying their time watching this cultural spectacle. Aliwan Fiesta really is great way to take a glimpse of the cultural richness of our country.

Are you bored little one?
Are you bored little one?
Kids from Tondo taking shade from their props
Kids from Tondo taking shade from their props
Still looking fresh even from the afternoon heat. Girl from Adivay Festival
Still looking fresh even from the afternoon heat. Girl from Adivay Festival
Love that mango swirl on her cheek
Love that mango swirl on her cheek
Pasaka Festival Performs
Pasaka Festival Performs
Dinagyang waves hi
Dinagyang waves hi
Dinagyang ladies enjoying their time
Dinagyang ladies enjoying their time
Such a fiery performance
Such a fiery performance
Drumroll please
Drumroll please

Check more of the Aliwan Fiest 2013 photos here.

3 Responses to “Aliwan Fiesta 2013, Revisiting the Philippines’ Mother of Festivals”

  1. Hans Offermans

    So colourful! Is this every april, in Manila? Must go see it. Hans&Rodel from Bacoor.

    Reply

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