Be original: Iloilo festivals shouldn’t be just ‘copycats’ of Dinagyang

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The Iloilo Provincial Tourism Office (PTO) gathered on Monday the municipal tourism officers for the First Iloilo Festival Summit after the observation that festivals in Iloilo municipalities are slowly becoming a “copycat” of the Dinagyang Festival,

The summit, held at the Casa Real de Iloilo, aimed to demonstrate to around 100 municipal tourism officers and municipal festival events organizer the strengthening of their respective festivals’ unique identities, said Provincial Tourism Officer Gilbert Marin.

“We wanted to do this long time ago because we wanted that each festival of every municipality will be entirely unique and connected with their respective culture,” Marin said in an interview.

The summit also became a venue for municipal tourism officers to create linkages for the promotion of their respective festivals, he said.

Over the years, Marin assessed that municipal festivals had generally improved in terms of concepts but the PTO anticipates seeing fresh choreography, props, and costume on festival performances.

Participants in the summit will be taught in determining the effectiveness of costumes being the “very important criteria in judging festival performances.”

Understanding the musical meaning, culturally-specific movement practices, and its influence on the choreographic content of performances are also taught to municipal tourism officers.

“Municipal festivals are being choreographed and directed by city choreographers who also handle Dinagyang performances. We will explain to them the uniqueness of choreographs of their festivals as compared to the Dinagyang,” Marin said.

At present, the province has 40 festivities. Marin said the three municipalities namely Batad, San Rafael, and Janiuay are being urged by the PTO to also establish its own municipal festivals.

The PTO is always present during the celebration of the 40 festivals for them to “monitor the growth and development of their festival.”

“We constantly remind them if we notice they are becoming modernized and no longer sticks to their culture, or slowly becoming a “copycat” of the Dinagyang Festival,” he said.

Marin anticipates seeing unique Iloilo festivals and positive results after the summit. (PNA)