Diyandi Festival sa Iligan | Iligan City
Truly, there’s nowhere else in the Philippines where Christians, Muslims & Lumads come together to celebrate the feast of a holy angel than in Iligan City. This is Diyandi Festival — the gathering of cultures into one festive space, rejoicing diversity bound by one adoration for St. Michael the Archangel.
Iligan City is home to Christians, Muslim Maranaos & Higaunon Lumad. Its small town charm tells the stories of every Iliganon narrated through its alluring cascades, delectable cuisine & wonderful diverse cultures. Its aspirations are expressed in its thriving art scene as well as in its common faith in Señor San Miguel.
Diyandi Festival: Dance to Your Own Beat
Among Iliganons, this devotion to the leader of the army of God transcends beyond the religious doctrines of each group. It comes from various folktales that recount the divine protection of Señor San Miguel of its olds settlements from floods & pirate attacks.
Although in the Muslim Qur’an, the patron of chivalry was mentioned as a “mala’ikah” or the spiritual being that obeyed Allah’s command.
Diyandi Festival coincides with the worldwide feast of St. Michael the Archangel. Moreover, in Iligan, the traditional celebration showcases the various cultural elements such as Comedia de San Miguel. It is a play that reenacts the battle of the archangel with Lucifer in a dance form called “eskrima”.
Also, it demonstrates other fundamentals such as the “yawa-yawa” (devil-like) & the chanting of religious orations in Maranao & Higaunon languages.
To begin with, Diyandi Festival was inspired from an all-female performance. In the ritual, two rows of Iliganun women, impersonating Maranao males & Higaunon females devote prayers to Señor San Miguel.
It is performed during the ceremonial “pagkanaug” or when the image is brought down from his pedestal into the side of the altar. This also marks the beginning of a 9-day morning novena called “pamukaw”. Then it ends with “pagsaka”, the sacramental ascent back to his podium.
The word Diyandi originally appropriated from the Higaunon pacts of appeasement now takes on various meanings. In the current social milieu where cultural festivals are templates of urban tourism, Diyandi had come to mean, a celebration.
This involves the frenzies of rave parties, beauty contests as well as culinary showdowns. In addition, there are trade fairs, concerts & all the shebang of experience economy that Iligan offers to its carnival-loving people.
Diyandi Festival Street Dancing Showdown
Usually held every 27th of September, the street dancing competition is one of the much-awaited events during Diyandi Festival. It is at this time when the streets of Iligan become a moving theatre. Flooded with dancers, musicians, acrobats & throngs of revelers, the city turns psychedelic.
Today, many of the elements of the traditional Diyandi are done in highly stylized ways. Contingents from various barangays dazzle the audience with synchronized movements, orchestrated music & acrobatic spectacles. Although it attempts to present the tri-cultural narratives of its people, but obviously it is the spectacular entertainment factor that draws in the crowd.
While each team is free to do its artistic exhibitions, the effort to keep the Diyandi components must be there. The “yawa-yawa” then the “anak-anak” rituals prologue it. But the appearance of Señor San Miguel & his battle with the “yawa” always highlights the entire tableau.
I am a proud Iliganon. I have seen how the celebration evolved through the years. Some elements may have been lost or embraced new contexts. And various interpretations of Diyandi Festival may have sprung but one thing remains unfazed & that is the eternal devotion to our Señor San Miguel.
In our hearts, we shout, viva!
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Betwixt and between the arthritic 40 and a horrendous body mass index of positive 30, escapism and yummyeology are my real-life double post-graduate degrees conferred with the highest honors. I lived nearly half of my life in fancy suitcases, jetsetting between reality and fantasy... read more