ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews / 28 Sept)—For the participants of the street dancing competition here on Wednesday during the Diyandi Festival, the struggle, the hardships all paid off, despite being on the street practically all day, from sunrise until late in the afternoon.
Residents here were treated to the festive and colorful Diyandi Street Dancing and Merrymaking Competition as thousands lined up the streets to see performances from 10 contingents showing the culture of the tri-people of Iligan—the Higaonon, Maranao, and Cebuano-speaking settlers—through dance. There were also participants from Kauswagan in Lanao del Norte and Gusa in Cagayan de Oro City.
The street dancing competition, according to Mayor Frederick W. Siao, is one of the highlights of the month-long Diyandi Festival that people look forward to, “not only Iliganons but also to visitors.”
“Win or lose, we’re still happy. At least we have participated, our barangay’s very first ever,” said Queenie Joy Bagares, of Hindang National High School, in Iligan’s mountainous barangay that shares boundary with Lugait in Misamis Oriental.
“This is a form of thanksgiving to Senior San Miguel as we are so devoted to him,” added the designated “festival queen,” the one in front of the contingent wearing an elaborate colorful costume bearing the statue of St. Michael the Archangel, Iligan’s patron saint.
Bagares said they practiced for a month, even past school hours until 9 o’clock in the evening. “The practice was so tiring, yet we enjoyed the experience a lot,” she said in the vernacular.
With her heavy costume, she and the rest of the participants walked almost three kilometers of Iligan’s streets, stopping every now and then to perform in front of judges, and all the way to the Anahaw Amphitheater near City Hall for the final showdown.
“I am very thankful to San Miguel for hearing all our prayers,” said Niño Vincent Tate, the trainer of the contingent from Tomas Cabili National High School, who won in the local category with a cash prize of P300,000. He thanked the teachers, school administrators and the barangay council for helping them out.
Among the spectators by the roadside was Liberty Caparida, 85, of Barangay Dalipuga, about 11 kilometers from downtown.
She said that even before the street dancing competition started in the 1980s, as a kid she made sure that she would come to the poblacion during the fiesta every September 29 to witness the procession that featured costumed devotees of St. Michael in a street play battling forces of the devil, who were black with soot. The procession was then dubbed the “Sinulog,” long before Cebu used the term for its festival.
When the street dancing came in the 1980s, then known as the “Kasadya Street Dancing Festival,” Caparida brought her children and grandchildren to watch it, too. “That is my devotion to San Miguel, which I have passed on to them,” she said in Cebuano.
The delegation from Gusa in Cagayan de Oro won the top prize in the open category, along with other minor prizes, bringing home a total of P730,000. (Marivic Omandam Davis / MindaNews)