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!”