By: Alex P. Vidal
“Good ideas are not adopted automatically. They must be driven into practice with courageous patience.” – Hyman Rickover
THE good news is the Kasadyahan Festival will no longer be a second class citizen.
If plans do not miscarry, it will have its own identity and territorial waters, no longer as a curtain-raiser for the well-fed Ati Festival.
Dinagyang Festival’s spoiled brat, Ati dance contest will always be the main attraction of Iloilo City’s biggest festival held every fourth weekend of January to honor the Christianization of the natives and to respect the Holy Child Jesus.
Kasadyahan will remain a second fiddle forever.
It’s time to cut and cut clean.
Both events have been jointly held as the week-long Dinagyang Festival’s highlights (Kasadyahan on Saturday and Ati on Sunday) for several years now and buttressed by the Department of Tourism, the private sector, and primarily by the Iloilo City Government.
Kasadyahan’s emancipation from the Dinagyang Festival is, to quote Victor Hugo, “(nothing more powerful than) an idea whose time has come.”
Despite living separate lives starting next year, both festivals will be the winners in many aspects: it will be easier to manage and promote each of them as they won’t compete in the allocations of the budget for corporate and government sponsorship; and they will add color to the annual calendar of events of both the DOT and the City Government.
Although Kasadyahan has its own unique presentation and aesthetic featuring Panay’s culture and history, it has been thriving behind the shadow of the more prominent and remunerative Ati dance contest, which actually carries the Dinagyang Festival’s household name.
It has been observed that Kasadyahan also paled in comparison to Ati dance contest when it comes to the cornering of juicy sponsors and endorsers.
By reinvigorating and packaging Kasadyahan in another stripe and dimension, it will stimulate awareness among the tourists and investors and produce dramatic effects in the local economy.
The decision to split the two gigantic cultural and religious festivals was hammered out during the Stakeholders’ Consultative Meeting of the Iloilo Festivals Foundation, Inc. (IFFI) in July 2019, as reported recently by the Daily Guardian’s Emme Rose Santiagudo, who interviewed the former Department of Tourism Undersecretary Salvador “Dong” Sarabia Jr. regarding the split.
Now the executive director of Iloilo City’s Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Exhibitions (MICE) Center, Sarabia Jr. confirmed that Kasadyahan may be held separately in a lean moth “because it’s more cultural.”
Even the kidnappers and killers of prominent Ilongga businesswoman Roberta Cokin would have been “benefited” if the government had insisted on pushing through with the reported plan to release rapist and killer Antonio Sanchez based on recent ruling issued by the Supreme Court (SC) that orders the retroactive application of the number of days credited to prisoners for their good-conduct time allowance (GCTA).
The ruling was based on the Republic Act (RA) 10592 amended provisions of the Revised Penal Code and allowed the credit of preventive imprisonment and revision of GCTA of persons deprived of liberty.
We are glad the government has abandoned the absurd move.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)