Aliwan Fiesta

Aliwan Fiesta

Aliwan Fiesta is an annual event that gathers different cultural festivals of the Philippines in Star City Complex in Pasay City wherein contingents compete in dance parade and float competitions, as well as in a beauty pageant. Organized by Manila Broadcasting Company (MBC) together with Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and the cities of Manila and Pasay, the event is dubbed as "The Mother of All Fiestas," with prizes totaling to P3 million (roughly US$70,000). Aliwan Fiesta, which began in 2003, aims to showcase the richness of different Filipino cultures and heritage not only to the people in Metro Manila but also to the rest of the world.cite news| title=Aliwan Fiesta ’07: The mother of all RP festivals| date=March 25, 2007| publisher=Manila Bulletin| url=| accessdate=2008-07-16] The contingents, meanwhile, aim to promote their respective regions both economically and tourism-wise.cite news| first=Bennie| last=Recebido| title=Tagalog News: Sorsogon City Pili festival dance troupe kalahok sa Aliwan fiesta| date=April 27, 2007| publisher=Philippine Information Agency| url=| accessdate=2007-07-28languageicon|tl|Tagalog] It was originally organized as a visual extravaganza for the Christmas season, but it has since been held during the summer months of either April or May.cite news| first=Jeffrey| last=Valisno| title=Fiesta islands| date=May 2, 2008| publisher=BusinessWorld| url=| accessdate=2008-02-27] "Aliwan" is a Tagalog word for "entertainment" or "amusement."


Aliwan Fiesta is divided into three categories: Cultural Street Dance Competition (the main event), Float Parade, and "Reyna ng Aliwan" (Queen of Aliwan) beauty pageant. Each of the country's 17 regions have the option to send up to two contingents representing its respective cultural festival, as well as an option to send a representing float and or beauty pageant contestant.cite news| first=Maricar M| last=Calubiran| title=P2.5M at stake in Aliwan Fiesta| publisher=The News Today| date=April 20, 2007| url=| accessdate=2008-07-27] However, the roster of entries for the cultural dance and float competitions are limited. In 2008, the number of slots for cultural dance was increased from 20 to 24 groups, which was completed as early as January. Each contingent in the cultural street dance competition—totaling up to 100 dancers as well as hundreds of musicians and support staff members—have undergone stringent elimination cycles during various local festivals before being chosen to compete in Aliwan Fiesta. The highlight of the event is when all competing festivals show off their dance skills while parading for four kilometers (about 2½ miles) along Roxas Boulevard from Quirino Grandstand to Aliw Theater grounds located near CCP. The festivals range from the well-known such as Dinagyang of Iloilo City, Sinulog of Cebu City, and Panagbenga of Baguio City, to the obscure but just-as-interesting feasts like Alikaraw of Hilongos, Leyte, Padang-Padang of Parang, Shariff Kabunsuan, and Pamitinan Festival of Rodriguez, Rizal. Side events also include a bazaar featuring different regional products, a photography contest, an inter-scholastic dance competition (interpreting dance tunes played on MBC radio stations), Filipino street games, and a fireworks display.cite news| title=Aliwan Fiesta: Festivalof champions| date=April 4, 2008| publisher=Malaya| url=| accessdate=2008-07-27]

Meanwhile, the participating floats are only allowed to use local textiles, produce, flowers, and other products specific in their representing city in decorating the vehicles. Each float, portraying local folklore and indigenous traditions, is topped by a participant of "Reyna ng Aliwan" serving as muse.cite news| first=Lex| last=Artifex| title=Aliwan Fiesta: A celebration of diversity| publisher=The Daily Tribune| date=April 27, 2008| url=| accessdate=2008-07-28] The beauty pageant contestants have competed a day before the parade.cite news| title=Reyna ng Aliwan| publisher=Abante Tonite| date=April 13, 2008| url=| accessdate=2008-07-28]

The top ten contingents in the cultural dance and float competitions receive cash prizes, with the top float winner receiving P500,000 (roughly US$11,000) and the winning cultural dance group getting P1 million (about US$23,000) as well as the bragging rights of becoming the champion of Aliwan Fiesta. Meanwhile, the "Reyna ng Aliwan" receives P100,000 (roughly US$2,300).


The Sinulog Festival of Cebu City has the most number of wins in the cultural dance category with three straight championships from 2006 to 2008. Meanwhile, Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo City (who won in that category in 2004) has been runner-up to Sinulog during those same years. Other Aliwan Fiesta champions include Halad Festival of Midsayap, Cotabato (2003) and Pintados de Passi of Passi City, Iloilo (2005).cite web| title=Feature about the Municipality of Midsayap|| url=| accessdate=2008-07-28] cite news| first=Nelson| last=Robles| title=Dinagyang, Pintados robbed in Aliwan Festival| publisher=The News Today| date=May 3, 2006| url=| accessdate=2008-07-28]

Coffee table book

MBC presented a coffee table book in 2008 entitled "Aliwan Fiesta: Celebrating Life In These 7,107 Islands". It was documented by cultural affairs specialist Susan Isorena-Arcega, featuring various photographs taken during Aliwan Fiesta's first five years. The book aims to tackle the Filipino's festive psyche, the multi-pronged treatise on what the Philippine festivals are rooted in, and the display of cultural heritage through dance and craftsmanship.


Iloilo City-based columnist Nelson Robles claimed that Cebu City's Sinulog Festival won its first Aliwan Fiesta championship because the judges were "intimidated by the presence of Department of Tourism Secretary Ace Durano who allegedly secretly lobbied for Sinulog Festival" to win the competition. Durano is a former congressman of Cebu Province. Meanwhile, an altercation between the musicians of Sinulog Festival of Carmen, Cebu and Alikaraw Festival of Hilongos, Leyte, happened in 2008. Representatives of Sinulog claimed that they were attacked by the team members of Alikaraw, while the latter said it was the other way around. The fight was quickly pacified by the organizers.cite news| title=Two dance groups clash during Aliwan Festival|| date=May 5, 2008| url=| accessdate=2008-07-28languageicon|tl|Tagalog]

External links

* [ Aliwan Fiesta List of Winners]
* [ Official website]
* [ Photos of Aliwan Fiesta 2008, as featured on CNN's iReport]


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