My Very First Aliwan Festival April 16, 2011

It was already past 5PM I was stuck covering a party for a client. Our contract expired about an hour ago but I am lenient with giving my clients with extra time to wrap things up but this time they haven't even sang the birthday song yet. I felt like I wanted to just run away... but then I haven't been payed yet... lol.

At about 5:30 when I had the chance to finally take off. Walked my way out of this very fine village in Quezon City, rode a tricycle then a bus bound to Taft avenue. I got off at Pedro Gil and took the LRT all the way to Vito Cruz. From the train station I walked my self a good 4 to 5 blocks maybe instead of taking the shuttle to the Cultural Center of the Philippines as traffic was really bad because of closed roads.

After walking a few minutes the crowd walking gets thicker. Suddenly I heard drums started beating into rhythm  at last I have finally reach my destination! Hello Aliwan 2011!

I am not a festival goer kind of traveler. Why? Well, I live in Valenzuela in a barangay very near to two well attended feasts, The San Roque and The Obando festival. Maybe most of you have not heard of the first one but I'm sure that you know the fertility festival of Obando.

Festival Dancers

The first one celebrates the feast day of the barangay's patron saint, yep just a barangay not the whole town which maybe the reason why not every one is familiar with it. The festival includes a street dance with the devotees and not just those who entered the contest. Anyways I will post something about it after the celebration.

The later celebrates the three patron saints of Obando and yes it is the longest feast in the country. The thing that I don't like about Festivals is the huge crowd the come together all cramped up in one small area. But then again I thought, hey I wanna see what I have been missing hence my journey to the CCP.

This is the first time that I am attending the Aliwan Festival which was popularized as the the Mother of All Festivals as most of the festivals around the Philippines compete of being the best festival in the country by presenting their festival street dances.

I wasn't able to get a good seat because of my situation earlier so I maximized the time that I had and took pictures of the street dancers on their way to the CCP.
Suralla Festival Dancer
I got dissatisfied with the photos that I was getting on the streets as I didn't even had a tripod or a monopad with me so I really couldn't get a shot without using my flash, and I am really bad with night flash photography. So I decided to walk further to the performance area where they present their dances to the judges.

Ibon Ebon Festival Dancer
Ibon Ebon Festival Dancer

Maguidanao Float

Just as I expected a thick crowd was there and I couldn't get any closer to the fence as four to five people fronting me.
The Festival Stage and Performance Competition Area

Halamanan Festival Dancers Performing

I really couldn't get a good shot so I just decided to just take videos of it.

Halamanan Festival dancers in action

They installed big LED screens near the performance area so those who can't see it live can just watch it on the screens. I was able to catch the last few seconds of the Dinagyang Festival performance and oh it was so majestic.

Pangbenga Dancers getting ready to take the stage

As I continue to watch the dances with the drums beating in all might as I was just right behind them, I can't help but get teary as I realized that the Philippines is so beautiful and rich in culture. I regret not giving enough effort to travel to watch festivals as I may not have the opportunity to see them sooner. I may have to leave the country for the United States where I don't know what is waiting for me. I don't even know if they have festivals as rich and colorful as ours.

Performers from Mindanao

After seeing the Dancers from Maguindanao (if I am not mistaken) I decided to eat since I have not ate anything since breakfast to make it to my client's party. I went around the fast food chains in the area and they were all jam packed so I just decided to go home and rest.

On my way back walking to Vito Cruz I was still able to catch the Dancers from Mindoro with candles in glasses on their heads as they dance. I took a few pictures and kept on walking. Finally I was able to catch a Jeepney going home.

Lesson learned through this experience is to travel and not limit your self to things that you can while you can. Learn about the culture of your country. I was specially touched by the performances of those coming from Mindanao. It made me realized that the Philippines is so beautiful, so go around and experience it for your self and stop just watching it on an idiot box.


Aleah said...

Where are your pics? :) And when's the San Roque fiesta? I'll read the manual and practice taking pics in the next few weeks :)

Batang Lakwatsero said...

sayang sir, hindi tayo nag-pang-abot... sayang hindi mo npanood ng buo yung dinagyang.. ganda nun super..

at nga pala.. pag meron na ako slr papaturo din ako sayo hehe :)

ian said...

Hi Aleah! - hehehe posted the article by accident. Pressed publish instead of save as draft.... I'm adding the pictures and videos as of the momment. The San Roque festival is in barangay Mabolo just ride a bus to Malanday then take a jeepney with obando or polo sinages just ask the driver to get you off sa mabolo...

@Ivan - oo nga eh nakita ko lang sa screen yung dinagyang sa ccp... hehehe sige ba... i would be happy to share whatever I know kahit na konti pa lang din... hehe..

thanks guys for dropping by.

adventurousfeet said...

next year nalang ako manonood ng aliwan :)

Chyng said...

uy, i was also there too!
those kids (and teachers) are awesome, not just in terms of their performace, but for theri dedication to be part of this event.

gawa din ako ng blog entry ko for this =)

chino said...

isa lang masasabi ko ang ganda ng pagkakatimpla.... gusto ko rin sana makapunta dito kaya lang nasa thunderbird kami nun eh tsk tsk first aliwan ko pa naman sana dibale may next year pa naman

ian said...

@chyng - tama! I also admire yung mga taga Cordillera as they proudly wear their native costumes...
@chinchan - you always make me laugh twing sasabihin mo yang timplayan na yan... hahahaha... saya nga daw sa thunderbird eh....

chinchanlakwatsero said...

isa lang masasabi ko ang ganda ng pagkakatimpla.... gusto ko rin sana makapunta dito kaya lang nasa thunderbird kami nun eh tsk tsk first aliwan ko pa naman sana dibale may next year pa naman

adventurousfeet said...

next year nalang ako manonood ng aliwan :)

Rachell said...

this picture helps me a lot for my research paper. thank you po.