Dalit Festival | Tangub City, Misamis Occidental
It’s hard to think of Tangub City without imagining Dalit Festival. And it’s also harder to think of Dalit Festival without recognizing Sinanduloy Cultural Troupe. After all, these are among the attractions that shot them to fame & got everyone flocking to this small city every September.
Yes, Tangub City is home to some of the best festival dancers & musicians in the Philippines. Sinanduloy has more than 10 championship titles at the annual Sinulog Festival in Cebu and even more under their belt in other festivals in the country.
And if you witness Dalit Festival, traces of their artistic prowess, impeccable precision & unimaginable pageantry are obvious impressions.
Dalit Festival: Dancing for Señor San Miguel
Dalit, which means, “to offer” is a festival that gives worship & thanksgiving to St. Michael the Archangel. They sing, dance & herald the archangel’s gift of abundance & protection. It is celebrated on his worldwide feast day every 29th of September.
Aside from the religious procession of its tutelary patron, the street dancing & showdown competition is one of the most awaited events during the month-long fiesta.It is at this time when Tangubanons spark the city streets with colors & music that are joyfully larger than life. Imagine the jubilation as everyone shouts, Viva Senor San Miguel!
Perhaps one of the unique features of Dalit Festival is its free interpretation of praise to God through the intercession of Señor San Miguel. Participants can openly lift their inspirations from ethnic as well as Hispanic heritage & express them in a captivating performance art.
Although each group’s artistic translation of thanksgiving varies, they must adhere to 3 basic Dalit-curated dance steps of praise, prayer & grace. They too must perform to a specific Dalit rhythm.
I have seen how much its festival evolved since I first witnessed it in the late 90s. From a humble field demonstration participated by students & teachers, Dalit Festival has immensely grown to a spectacular presentation today.
Precision & discipline are easy to spot in their performances that emphasize how much training efforts they give to put up a good show. On the streets, they dance tirelessly under the blistering heat, throwing in all the best moves & creating earth-shaking festive vibe.
Then there’s the showdown part that is not only a burst of spectacle but also an intense competition. This is the moment when each contingent goes all out in their performance. Certainly, there’s no time to breathe here because magic happens at the blink of an eye.
From quick costume change to set transformation in split second, everything is performance extravaganza! From synchronized movements to heart thumping drumbeats, the showdown is theatre acrobatics.
I must say that in terms of production value & performance discipline, the dancers & musicians of Dalit Festival is the best in all of Mindanao. It is also obviously at par if not besting other grand parades in the country.
The pageantry of Dalit Festival is amazing & truly it’s something that Tangub City is so proud about. It’s a landmark festival in Misamis Occidental that must be up on anyone’s fiesta bucketlist to tick off. So be here when it takes centerstage again next year as it promises more fun & excitement.