Iloilo Dinagyang Digital Festival 2021 has caught the global audience and the Ilonggos, both here and abroad, in awe – it made them proud to be an Ilonggo.
The dramatic video presentation of a pre-filmed tribes performance solicited thousands of positive feedback making the Iloilo Dinagyang Digital 2021 a Sunday buzz on social media. The reactions? Jaw-dropping! Amazing! Wow! Excellent! Brilliant! Unbelievable! Nakakaproud to be an Ilonggo! – I am proud to be an Ilonggo!
Some Ilonggos were moved to tears as the video rolled down on their mobile phones, laptop, and TV.
“I miss Iloilo. I miss the streets. I miss the food. I miss the Ilonggos. I miss Dinagyang,” a collection of one-liner comments from Ilonggos that scattered on the comments section of various Facebook posts during Dinagyang.
The Iloilo Dinagyang Digital 2021 presentation was interchangeably rendered with narratives of professional Dinagyang Festival workers who shared their respective experiences and struggles at the onset of the pandemic, and how the power of faith, devotion and prayers guided them to stand up, fight on, and survive.
“We May have a totally different kind of celebration today, far from the rowdy and festive streets of Iloilo, but one thing has remained the same, and that is our strong faith in the Lord Almighty,” conveyed Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas through the Facebook page Iloilo Dinagyang.
On the other hand, Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor, Jr. also shared that “we may not hear the drumbeats as loud as before or feel the festive mood that characterizes the usual Dinagyang Celebration, but we still have to be thankful that we are given the chance to celebrate our devotion to Senor Sto. Niño.”
It is the first time for the 53-year old Iloilo Dinagyang Festival to have tribes performances presented virtually. The performance were pre-filmed under a bubble environment last year, a necessary health measure to prevent the transmission of the Coronavirus. Hence, the Iloilo Dinagyang proceeded while similar big ticket festivals held every January stood down.
In January 2020, or shortly before the lockdown, eight tribes participated during the festival highlight. This year, however, performances were prepared per district. It showed interpretations of the Dinagyang story by tribes of La Paz, Lapuz, Jaro, Mandurriao, Villa Arevalo, Molo and City Proper.
The Ilonggos were surprised by the way it was prepared and then presented. The interaction online showed how the Ilonggos had embraced digital technology as a way to connect with relatives and friends and it likewise revealed how the digital platform can strengthen camaraderie during moments of celebrations and events like the Dinagyang.
Iloilo Dinagyang Digital Festival is for the love of art; hence, world-class
“The video production was world-class and motivated by the Ilonggos’ love for art,” said Los Angeles-based Ilonggo film editor Louis Gumapas.
“I couldn’t believe it! I’ve never seen a local production with a local crew making a world class TV production. I was moved and touched by the new concept of Dinagyang that we use to know. Indeed, the beginning of the new era,” said by the 25-year veteran film editor Gumapas.
Louis Gumapas is an alumni of the College of Mass Communications of West Visayas State University. Likewise an artist being a member of the WVSU Little Theater during his student days and one who received a training on modern dance from Ballet Philippines.
“Am I just being nostalgic of the Dinagyang or it is really the performance, the colorful costumes, the places or the production value?” asked Gumapas over messenger while virtually conversing with this writer.
Dinagyang Digital 2021 is truly a 360° presentation
Last year, choreographers of the Dinagyang Festival showed a 360-degrees performance with judges positioned on different parts of the venue. According to Eric Divinagracia, “the 360 degree performance really means an open space for more people and a way to democratize the space.”
Divinagracia, headed the artistic and tribes committee of the Iloilo Festival Foundation, Inc. in 2020. He is the chairman of this year’s Dinagyang Digital Production.
Yet the 360 degrees presentation was best illustrated by the Iloilo Dinagyang Digital 2021 after it showed “Iloilo City from the roof top down under the bridge. Amazing!,” Gumapas remarked.
The quick exchange of awe and praises among Facebook friends of Gumapas included no less than another artist, creative and film-maker Elvert Bañares who right away expressed a comment of appreciation on the shoutout post.
See also: Operationalizing a trash-free Dinagyang
Bañares is one of the co-chairman of the 2021 Dinagyang Digital Production. Bañares and Gumapas are BS Broadcast Communications classmates at WVSU.
Dinagyang Festival made Iloilo City a ‘Modern City of Love’
“As a film editor, I use technics to tell a credible story. Judging from the presentation, the Iloilo Dinagyang Digital 2021 will really put the local artist on the global map,” underscored Gumapas.
“It has the right tone, timing, and color to portray the cinematic material in order to convey the message. The combined technical qualities blew my mind, especially on the manner they incorporated artistic performance and intertwined it with historic landmarks and folklore stories of Panay Island,” he pointed out.
Before moving to United States, Gumapas served as a video editor of ABS-CBN from 1996 to 2000. He also worked as video editor of a 3-episode “Indonesia Beyond the Reefs” for the National Geographic Channel, among many, during his stint in Singapore from 2000 to 2004 under the Moving Visuals Company.
“The brilliant Dinagyang Festival presentation is the reason why Iloilo City is called a City of Love. We can call it now as a ‘Modern City of Love’ for the Ilonggos has brought the world-class Dinagyang Festival to a new era,” highlighted Gumapas.
“Kudos to the organizer, film crew and all local artist who constantly strive to give their best effort to achieve greatness! Dedicating one’s life to do something very special; to bring joy to everyone despite of risk and fears; reminded me that to do the same thing,” said Gumapas.
The Dinagyang Digital Festival 2021 is a manifestation of Iloilo City’s creativity and innovative ability to pivot to the digital platform on moments of global disruptions like the COVID-19 pandemic. The successful Dinagyang 2021 shared Iloilo City’s preparedness to adopt to the new normal.
“Indeed the strength of Iloilo is a fact that we carry in our hearts and in our minds, the fighting spirit of the Dinagyang warriors, strong and determined, and at the same time powerful and prayerful,” shared lawyer Jobert Peñaflorida, president of the Iloilo Festivals Foundation, Inc.
See the full program of the Iloilo Dinagyang Digital Festival 2021 here: https://www.facebook.com/iloilocitygov/videos/274267657364888
*Photos are screen grab from the live performance video as posted at the Facebook page of Iloilo Dinagyang