The Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo City defended its crown after besting 14 other festivals in the Streetdance Competition of this year’s Aliwan Fiesta.

Represented by Tribu Pan-ay of Fort San Pedro National High School, Dinagyang was declared the grand champion and took home a cash prize worth P1.5 million. It also won the Best in Costume award.

According to Eric Divinagracia, Iloilo Festivals Foundation Inc. (IFFI) artistic director, Dinagyang’s winning performance highlighted the strong devotion of Ilonggos to Senior Sto. Niño, a symbol of the birth of Catholicism in the Philippines more than 500 years ago. 

“[It’s] all for Sto. Niño. The story develops from the discovery of Panay [Island] to Dinagyang, showcasing our strong devotion,” he said.

The competition was held on Saturday, June 29, in Pasay City.

The Dinagyang Festival was also declared as the Tugtog ng Aliwan champion and took home the BingoPlus Choice award on June 27.

In a statement, City Mayor Jerry Treñas hailed the back-to-back victory of Dinagyang.

“This remarkable achievement is a testament to the commitment and hard work of our community, performers, artisans, and organizers, showcasing Iloilo’s vibrant culture and rich heritage on the national stage with unparalleled passion and grace,” he said.

“Through their outstanding performance, they have not only brought honor to our city and province, but have also strengthened the bonds that unite us as Ilonggos,” the mayor added.

The victory marks Dinagyang’s eighth championship at the Aliwan Fiesta, which is dubbed as the “Festival of Champions.”

“As this is already Dinagyang’s 8th championship as the country’s best festival, it is definitely ripe for the world to see in the international arena,” said Treñas.

Meanwhile, the Tultugan Festival of Maasin, Iloilo was named second place in both the streetdance and musical ensemble competitions.

The festival also won the Best Musical Accompaniment award and received P750,000 in cash.

Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. said the success of the two festivals “highlights their significance as cultural landmarks that unite and inspire communities across Western Visayas.”

“We look forward to further elevating Iloilo’s cultural prominence and continuing to celebrate our heritage through festivals like Dinagyang and Tultugan,” he added.IMT