“Aliwan” is a tagalog word which means to amuse or entertain. A term fitting for this so-called “Mother of Festivals” called Aliwan Fiesta, running annually in Manila for 10 years (since 2003) which aims to gather some of the best festivals in the country and present them in one place. An ambitious task but successfully realized by Manila Broadcasting Company (MBC) and Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). Maybe it’s the cheery and festive nature of Filipinos that made it successful every year.
The Aliwan Fiesta 2013
It took me 4 years to watch the Aliwan Fiesta again. I like festivals but it’s not something I would intentionally look for. If it’s there then I’d see it. Since I’m in Manila on the weekend right smack April 13, 2013, I decided to watch and shoot the Aliwan Fiesta. My bad for not reading up since I ended up going to CCP first which was the end stop for the parade. I had to walk the 4km stretch of Roxas Boulevard to the Luneta Grandstand. Fortunately the sky was overcast, the wind breezy and with part of Roxas Blvrd closed, it was one of those rare days I could walk in the middle of the street.
A Multi-Cultural Gathering
The venue was great opportunity for a lot of photographers to take photos of festival participants in their wonderful costumes. There are 17 contingents from all over the country competing for the main Street Dancing Event. There’s the Floats Competition and the Aliwan Festival Queen.
The Street Dancing Competition
The event was supposed to start at 3pm but after the opening ceremonies the dance competition officially started past 4pm. Unlike my last Aliwan, contingents have to parade first before performing, it was much better now that they performed first with their energies still up before they parade to CCP.
Since I didn’t have a media pass, I and my friends went at the back near the stage for a good spot. I just wanted to watch the performance as well and not squeeze in the photographers area on the side. I have to say I was looking forward to the Dinagyang Performance but the first batch before them was quite good. The Zamboanga Hermosa was a stunner of an opening, the Padang Padang impressed me with their gigantic props and Adivay of Benguet was so entertaining. But when Dinagyang performed it was so mesmerizing that I was moved to shoot them just to capture their energetic performance.
We didn’t finish the whole program and found out later that Dinagyang Festival din win the top prize again for the 4th consecutive year. It was a really entertaining night I saw a few foreigners enjoying their time watching this cultural spectacle. Aliwan Fiesta really is great way to take a glimpse of the cultural richness of our country.
Check more of the Aliwan Fiest 2013 photos here.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.