Dinagyang’s Pompous Ati Tribe Competition

Dinagyang’s Pompous Ati Tribe Competition

More than the revelry and pomp, Iloilo’s Dinagyang Festival focuses more on the religious aspect which is the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the replica of the image of Sto. Nino from Cebu. It also commemorates the arrival of the first Malay settlers in Panay Island and the bartering of these people with the natives called Ati.

The Ati Tribe Competition is the main event of the Dinagyang Festival and happens every fourth Sunday of January. The competing tribes all perform with chant-like music coupled with loud drum beats. They are dressed up in warrior-like, colorful costumes with the use of native instruments.

Having witnessed Ati Tribe Competition up close didn’t make me wonder as to why Iloilo’s Dinagyang has been awarded by various organization here and abroad. 

This year’s festivities featured ten competing tribes and guest performers from South Korea and New Zealand. After the introduction of honored guests and distinguished visitors, the competition started around past 9:30 AM.

Iloilo’s Dinagyang definitely captures the senses. The splash of bright colors greatly assaults those who are admirers of culture and the arts while its music will definitely make you dance to the heart-thumping beat. It was my first time to attend a Philippine festival of this magnitude. I knew it would be loud and eventful. But I didn’t have an idea it could be this grand.

Here are some highlights from this colorful and festive event.

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This trip was made possible by our partners, Air Asia and the Department of Tourism Region 6. Air Asia now flies to Iloilo 3x daily from Manila and 3x weekly via Clark. 



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