By: Emme Rose Santiagudo
THE new group that will organize the annual Dinagyang Festival is now looking into the possibility of separating the Kasadyahan Cultural Competition from the annual tourism event on January.
The suggestion came up during the Stakeholders’ Consultative Meeting of the Iloilo Festivals Foundation, Inc. (IFFI) on Friday.
During the forum, IFFI headed by its chairman Rito Carlos Peña and president Jobert Peñaflorida sought recommendations and suggestions from the media, academe, government, national institutions, tribe leaders, and designers on the conduct of the annual event.
Among the salient points that was introduced during the forum was the possibility of holding the Kasadyahan Competition on another month instead of coinciding with the annual Dinagyang festivities every January.
According to the stakeholders, Dinagyang Festival can stand on its own even without the Kasadyahan Competition.
Moreover, the stakeholders added that separating the two events would also draw more tourists to the tribes’ competition.
Since the inception of Dinagyang, the Kasadyahan festival, which happens on the third Saturday of January, served as “sideshow” to the highly-anticipated Ati tribes competition that unfurls the next day.
Kasadyahan initially featured cultural performances by colleges and universities in Iloilo. It later widened its base by accepting festivals from other provinces and cities not only in Western Visayas but other parts of the country.
Kasadyahan’s weaning period from Dinagyang began four to five years ago when the Department of Tourism (DOT) introduced some innovations.
DOT Regional Director Atty. Helen Catalbas welcomed the idea, adding that the Kasadyahan Competition can be held sometime in September in line with the National Tourism Month.
“Whatever they will be decided I will support because that is the mandate of the DOT to support community efforts. I have no problem with the transfer of festival,” Catalbas said.
According to Catalbas, separating it from Dinagyang would also provide a new identity to the Kasadyahan Competition.
“Kasadyahan should have a distinction by its self indi lang sya bridesman kundi kon iseparate sya iya gid ya it is its own identity. Ang Kasadyahan nag-level up gid ya and I believe that is the more cultural side of Dinagyang melting pot and ang mga festivals are well represented sa Kasadyahan,” she said.
Catalbas added that more festivals would also mean more economic benefits to the hotel, transports, and other sectors in the region.
However, Catalbas underscored the challenge of separating the Kasadyahan from Dinagyang since the Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation Inc. (IDFI), the previous organizer of the festival has been providing financial support to the participating groups.
“IDFI has supported Kasadyahan financially. I cannot say for now if the same financial support will be extended by the new foundation but if IDFI wants to support it, then why not,” she said.
If both IDFI and IFFI refuse to provide financial support to Kasadyahan, Catalbas said she will look into the possibility of holding the competition somewhere under the new name.
“There is nothing that prevents the DOT-6 from holding this. We can hold this in Capiz, or in Kalibo in Aklan or Bacolod City,” she said.
Meanwhile, IFFI assured that they will discuss the suggestions and recommendations during the forum through follow up meeting and dialogues with the sectors involved.
“Kami ang inyo suruguon. Naghambal si mayor sa amon pamatian gid inyo nga problema. Amo ni ang IFFI gintukod ni Mayor Jerry para solbaron ang mga problema sa Dinagyang,” Peña said.