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Iligan Diyandi Festival

“Wara-wara Sa Iligan! Tara Na!”

Come, Celebrate 29 Days Of Fun!

The Iligan Diyandi Festival is the official title for the city’s month long cultural celebration. It concludes with the feast day of Saint Michael the Archangel on September 29.

The festival was established to promote Iligan’s cultural identity. You see, Cebu has Sinulog, Davao has Kadayawan, and Iloilo has Dinagyang. Iligan has none. Of course, Iligan should have one.

So in 2004, the Iligan City Council passed and approved a resolution establishing Diyandi Festival as the tourism name of Iligan.

Today, the fiesta celebration developed into a much bigger and more culturally charged celebration.

What is in a name?

Remember it was not long ago the Iligan Fiesta was only known simply as “pista sa Iligan” (fiesta in Iligan). A simple celebration of its patron saint, Saint Michael the Archangel.

Also, keep in mind before naming the celebration, research was done by the world-renowned creative director of the Integrated Performing Arts Guild (IPAG), Professor Steven Patrick Fernandez on Diyandi dance.

The word Diyandi is not new to folks in Iligan. It was used to refer to the celebration of the patron saint, Saint Michael the Archangel. Diyandi simply means celebrate. Mag-diyandi means, to celebrate.

Diyandi Festival

Iligan Diyandi Festival

Thus, the word Diyandi gives the perfect trademark to Iligan’s extended celebration of traditions and culture. And, the Diyandi Festival was born!

Every year during September, Iligan tourism is at its peak. Tourists and Balikbayan (returning resident) folks flock to Iligan to get a taste of the much talked about Diyandi Festival. It is the busiest and most culturally gratifying experience second to Christmas in Iligan.

Diyandi Dance Iligan Diyandi Festival

Iligan Diyandi Dance

Today, the Diyandi dance – performed by an all-female group is the highlight of every novena, during the Pagpakanaug and Pagpasaka, and before the presentation of theKomedya.

Drum Up the Beat for a Culturally Significant Event!

While the feast day of Saint Michael is the most awaited event, September is filled with various activities to include:

      • dance contest
      • Trisikad racing contest
      • ballroom dancing
      • cooking contest
      • cultural shows
      • Miss Iligan Beauty contest

Trade fairs, sports competitions, concerts, street parties and clean-up drives also add to the festivities. And many more. Check out the scheduled events for the Diyandi Festival Sa Iligan 2010 right here!

You will begin to think that everyday is a party!

September 20 – The Pagpakanaug

Just before the novena, the Diyandi dance is performed. It officially marks the beginning of the 9-day novena. It is also followed by the Pagpakanaug (the descent) – the ritual transfer of Saint Michael’s image from its niche to a pedestal located on the side altar. This happens at exactly 8am and followed by a Holy Mass at the Saint Michael Cathedral.

Thousands of devotees gather to witness the ceremony. The Pagpakanaug also signals the start of the 9-day novena.

The early dawn parade by the city’s band is to rouse the residents for the dawn novenas, starts on September 20. It marks the first day of the novena ending on the feast day of Saint Michael. Every morning for nine days you are reminded of the daily novena offering. This is called the pamukaw.

September 27 – Kasadya Street Dancing

Kasadya street dancing, the merry-making event and is the main attraction.

Kasadya Street Dancing Iligan Diyandi Festival

Iligan Kasadya Street Dancing

The dancers gather at the parking lot near the port. This is where they start. And they end up at the Buhanginan Hill – Anahaw Amphitheater.

There are many varied groups, dressed in colorful costumes each performing a different well-rehearsed dance.

…thump your feet when the dancers dance in the streets!

Kasadya Dancers

Iligan Kasadya Dancing

Central to the Kasadya festival, is the re-enactment of the battle between good and evil – between Senor San Miguel and the devil. But, the most interesting and familiar performance is the Eskrima; it is a dance with a fighting style.

Eskrima – a unique method of Filipino martial arts. It is an expression of the older methods of Filipino fighting arts which uses the sticks and dagger. The movements are “smooth, circular, and fluid, there is no strain on the joints.”

Iligan Kasadya 2009Iligan Street Dancing 2009

The street dancing competition brings about the different styles and dance forms of local talents as well as other Mindanao tribal dance forms.

The festival also offers residents, young and old, and performing groups from other cities the opportunity to participate for prizes and bragging rights.

September 29 – Iligan Fiesta
“Viva Senor San Miguel, Viva!”

The celebration begins at 7am with a procession of Saint Michael the Archangel. During the procession, devotees dance to the beat of the drums while chanting “Viva Señor San Miguel, Viva.” Onlookers cannot help join and chant as they watch the procession go by.

After mass and as you walk around the city, you will see how the residents prepare for the Iligan fiesta. They go all out. Iliganons are fiesta loving people! And in all fiesta, every household celebrate it with the best delectable foods they can buy.

All these together, they make the Diyandi Festival a fusion of pre-Hispanic traditions and Catholic beliefs. Thus making Iligan a booming artistic community attracting national and international tourists.

“Wara-wara Sa Iligan! Tara Na!”

Jeepney In The Philippines

A Glimpse Into Filipino Culture!

Can you remember the time when you used to take the jeepney in the Philippines every day? I can.

Everyone knows the jeepney is the most practical and cheapest way to get around in the Philippines.

In Iligan today, you can take a jeepeny ride for about eight pesos depending on the distance traveled. Jeepney routes are painted on the side or on a signboard placed on the windshield in front of the driver.

With all the decorations of sorts, be aware that sometimes the name of the jeepney route is very hard to see.

Jeepney In The Philippines

Iligan Jeepney – Fiesta


At the end of World War II, the United States’ military began heading back home. They left behind surplus of US military jeeps – some old some new.

Filipinos stripped down what once a “drab green willy” and painted them with brilliant colors. And to accomodate for passengers, they added bench seating.

What used to be green, now brightly colored vehicles became an expression of the new owner’s personality.

The jeepney in the Philippines became the major mode of transportation. And today, the Philippine jeepney has become a symbol of Philippine culture.

Jeepney in Iligan

In Iligan, each jeepney runs a certain route known as “boundary”. They are usually painted on the side of the vehicle. See examples below, remember V.V. means vice versa.

City Proper – La Salle – Villa Verde, V.V.
City Proper – Tibanga – St. Mary, V.V.

Jeepney In The Philippines

Iligan Jeepney

In every instance, getting around Iligan is easy. Just stand alongside the road, raise your hand and voila! A jeepney is bound to stop in front of you.

You might have to catch a sikad , tricycle, or a habal-habal if you don’t live close to the major road.

Once you get on, hold on to the bars just in case the driver makes a sudden stop before you are seated. You would not want to end up on another passenger’s lap. Unless, he or she is your dream Romeo or Juliet. (Wink)

When Inside the Jeepney

Know that you can pay the driver anytime you want. If you are the farthest from the driver or conductor, you might have to ask the passenger closest to him for some help. You can expect your change to be return the same way.

So, next time you sit close to the driver, expect some passengers asking you for some assistance. This is the norm when you ride the jeepney in the Philippines.

Let’s face it, drivers rely heavily on passengers’ honesty to earn good money. So to encourage passengers to pay their fare, they post this sticker.

Jeepney In The Philippines

Iligan Jeepney

“God knows Judas not pay…”

“Basta driver sweet lover” means “Every driver is a sweet lover”
They hope that this would stir up passengers’ conscience.

It is amazing what you can learn on what’s going on around town just by riding a jeepney. And it is not from the jeepney’s radio either. It is through what locals call, “radyo baba” (baba meaning mouth).

It’s not uncommon for strangers to strike up a conversation with another passenger. And one can’t help listen as passengers seated facing each other shoulder-to-shoulder and sometimes even knee-to-knee.

Trust me! You have no idea the lessons and stories I have picked up from years of riding the jeepney. Some are happy, some sad, some appalling, some hilarious – it’s life’s drama unfolded.

Tips When Riding a Jeepney

You waive your hands to get in to a jeepney. What do you do to get off one?

Well, all you have to do is simply tap or knock on the roof and say, “pa daplin lang or para” simply means, stop.

That’s how you tell the driver to stop.

Simple, isn’t it? (Note: this would only work if your jeepney driver speaks Visaya).

If the driver doesn’t hear you, expect other passengers to yell to get his attention.

Don’t see any designated jeepney stops? I’ll let you in a little secret…there are none. Really, there are no designated jeepney stops. Drivers will just roll ever so slowly allowing his passenger to get off.

Before long you’ll be an expert getting on and off the jeepney in the Philippines.

Finally, this brings us to the last quote:

“Basta driver sweet lover”

You already notice that each jeepney in the Philippines is distinct from the other. The ornaments, ranging from plastic fruits hanging on the rear view mirror to a puppy with head bobbing up and down reflect the driver’s personality.

Jeepney in the Phillipines

So I leave you to guess the personality of the driver who sticks this sign, “basta driver sweet lover”. In translation, means “every driver is a sweet lover”.

Iligan Restaurants

The Food Trip!

Feeling hungry? Check out some of Iligan restaurants and bistros.

When you feel hungry but tired of the same processed food prepared by fastfood chains, let Iligan City’s finest restaurants and dining establishments break you free from all that.

Strolling around Iligan’s coolest destinations and enjoying its scenic views can also get someone’s tummy brewing with hunger.

Normally, that’s a bad thing, especially when there’s no easy access of food around.

Luckily, in Iligan, there’s always an antidote for that – food trip, anyone?

The setback of Iligan restaurants is relaxed and non-intimidating. They are quick and easy to find.

Almost all restaurants are located within the city proper. And getting there is not a problem, as public transport like jeepneys and taxis can easily reach them.

Iligan – fine city with fine dining

Yes, if you want fine dining, make your choice with Maria Christina Hotel and Restaurant, Tatay’s Grill ‘n Bar and Café Hermoso. Make sure you call for a reservation.

And sizzle with the sizzling foods served at Yom’s Grill and the tried and tested Camaron rebosado (fried shrimps) of Gazpacho’s Food House.

Try a variety of cooked chicken

Then try out Iligan’s sumptuous chicken houses. Don’t miss out on this one, visit Sunburst Fried Chicken.

Iligan Restaurant Sunburst Fried Chicken

They offer one of a kind fine dining, famous for their fried chicken and cozy ambience. And of course Chrisven Food Haus and Dear Manok are not left behind in terms of flavor.

And after a day shopping in Iligan, take a break and satisfy your sweet tooth on cool spots where you don’t need to be dressed up to wind down.

These easy and low-maintenance Iligan restaurants offer unique coffee blends, delicious cakes and pastries. Aruma Coffee Lounge has an indoor (air-conditioned) and outdoor seating, plus quick service while the unpretentious crowd amp the hip factor of this resto bar and gallery.

Take a bite of Iliganon’s pizzas and their Maranao delicacy beef randang – makes you want to come back for more.

Or try Michelle’s Cakes and Pastries’ sylvannas or Peek ‘n Berry Pastries’ baked macaroni and drink with Zoey’s refreshing shakes and Halo-Halo (mixture of fruits and sweetened beans topped with crushed ice and ice cream). Very refreshing and you’ll surely ask for more!

Take a lunch-out, break for a cheap fill

We scout the city for small food stops that tipped happy, thrifty eater’s lists. We’re pretty sure these joints will become your new found faves too. They serve Filipino foods like sinigang (meat stewed with mostly tamarind and other vegetables), pinakbet, paksiw and lechon baboy/manok (roasted pork/chicken) dipped in vinegar and garlic.

Your choices are the Big Dipper Restaurant, Quick-Cha Corner, Kuzina Iliganon or Epay’s Lechon Manok.

Chinese food anyone?

If you opt for Chinese foods, then why not get yourself served at Lai-lai Yeung Chow Restaurant and play poker afterwards in their outside setting or get a taste of JY Dimsum House delicacies. Their menus are fairly priced and their foods are full of taste. Pork and Shrimp Siomai, noodles, Dim Sum, Congee are just a few of the Chinese foods offered in these restaurants. I don’t know about you , but I’m getting hungry!

There! We’ve dished out the places where “yum” and “mmmmmm” are known to be made when it comes to dining in Iligan City.

Now, try any of Iligan restaurants for yourselves. They’re looking forward to serve you!

And when you ready to party ‘til dawn, check out one of the hottest night spots in town.

Just recently, Iligan City now has one less grooving nightspot – Club ZINC – they closed their doors for good not too long ago. Yes, you are going to miss sipping some of their one-of-a-kind-name drinks!

Not to worry though, there are still plenty of clubs that will sure fire up your nightlife in Iligan!

Iligan Nightlife

The party begins after dark…

When the sun goes down, Iligan nightlife comes ALIVE!

Get the most of your nights in Iligan… plenty of opportunities for excitement with the added bonus of it being cheap.

While nightlife in the Philippines is known to be a unique experience, Iligan nightlife is no different. You will find everything you need to enjoy yourself.

Whether your joy comes from sitting on the street with an outdoor cafe watching the locals stroll by, or satisfy your mood to dine at one of Iligan’s finest restaurants, or you like to dance…

…ultimately your night will wind up to be one unforgettable experience you will be talking about with family and friends for years.

Eat, drink and have FUN!

Dining and drinking are probably the first things that come to mind. Fear not, the food in Iligan is delicious and amazingly low.

Iligan restaurants serve the best Philippine foods and can satisfy the most discerning tastes. See our choices here.

Most bars and clubs cater to young locals. The city’s younger generation is a hardworking bunch, and knows very well the importance of cooling down after a day’s work.

More and more bars and nightspots are popping into the picture, eager to reward the hardworking Iliganons and entertain its visitors.

Many bars are open late, and clubs are open even later.

Before you go for the night out, the question you need to ask is how will you get to back to your house or hotel without a car? If you don’t have private transportation, a taxi is your best bet. I highly recommend it!

Nightlife in Iligan…is alive and kicking!

Numerous dance clubs dot the city. Those looking for places to party in Iligan will enjoy spending a little time here where there is plenty of partying going on.

Your first nightspot to try should be the Iliganon Bar – tucked away in a quiet location in Pala-o, this charming bar is one of the more easygoing bars in town.

There are still great places to meet friends and share a pitcher of beer. Most of these places have open bar with live music played on the stage. Will have them posted soon!

Looking for more places to party in Iligan? Why not spend some time with friends at Darren’s.

Iligan nightlife offers a little something for everyone!

Whatever you’re looking for in terms of Iligan nightlife, you are sure to find it here.

With the speed at which the city is developing, it’s only a matter of time before newer, hipper bars make it to the scene – and when they do, you’ll hear about it here, first!

Iligan Bus

Ride the Iligan Bus – from Iligan to Cagayan and back.

If you want to travel by land from Iligan to Cagayan and vice-versa, take one of the Iligan bus.

What used to be Fortune & Diamond now to Rural Transit & Super Five…

Indeed, land travel has become more convenient these days. It has greatly evolved from the “Fortune” and “Diamond” bus eras of my younger days. Now…now please stop doing the math about my age. I am still young; I just happen to have a good memory for the days past.

Anyway, now are the days of Rural Transit and Super 5.

These are the two bus companies plying the Cagayan and Pagadian routes from Iligan. I must say that competition between the two has made land travel more convenient for the riding public.

Please note however, that unlike in the past when buses would traverse the city’s main road, you now have to go to the bus terminal to get a ride.

For northbound buses, the terminal is in Tambo and in Camague for southbound buses.

But don’t worry, the terminals are accessible by jeepney or taxi or even by “sikad”.

Ride In Comfort, Ride the Bus!

It used to be that air-conditioned buses were non-existent. Now, the Iligan buses are not just air-conditioned, the seats can even be reclined!

It is even equipped with a TV & DVD player so you can watch a movie while on the road. That is if you prefer not to sleep. And the fare? Just P120 or USD2.50 to Cagayan! Not expensive I may say.

But for those who still prefer to travel al fresco, despair not. non-aircon buses are still very much around. I even have friends who prefer to travel this way. They feel that the open air makes them feel less motion sick.

You see my friends took the aircon bus to Cagayan once. At first they were excited about taking the Iligan bus but when the wheels started turning the excitement soon turned to agony. They felt sick that they keep peeping at the window curtains to check where they are. Later on, they told me it was the longest bus ride of their lives. When they reached Cagayan, they were as white as a writing paper! The trip really took its toll on them.

And before I forget, they told me to remind anyone who is taking the non-aircon bus ride to make sure you take a hairbrush or a comb. They arrived Cagayan with a new do!

On the other side, it is good thing that bus companies didn’t completely phase out the non-aircon buses. Everyone can still enjoy the roadside scenery of the beach, of coconut trees, of the sea dotted with bathers, fishing boats on the shore, schools and the scenery of everyday life.

And traveling to Cagayan (which am familiar with) the scenery is made even more enjoyable with: – the bibingka (native rice cake) peddlers in Manticao, the fruit vendors at Midway, the fish markets and seaside restaurants at Opol.

Now riding an Iligan bus really makes traveling a real pleasure!

…dali na! Biyahe na ta!