This first week of May, the top festivals of the country will converge in Manila to compete for the title of Aliwan Fiesta 2008 champion. For those who don’t know yet, Aliwan Fiesta is the ultimate competition of festival champions with their beauty queens and floats. The highlight of the Aliwan Fiesta 2008 is the street dance competition, where spectators get to experience a non-stop explosion of color, sound, culture, and synchronized movement during the street dance competition.

This year, two festival champions of Iloilo and a special contingent, which will be taken into the limelight later, will be joining the Aliwan Fiesta 2008.

Representing the City of Iloilo will be Tribu Paghidaet, champion of the Dinagyang Festival 2008 – Ati Competition.

Paghidaet Aliwan Fiesta 2008
Tribu Paghidaet to join the Aliwan Fiesta 2008. Click here to view more pictures of Tribu Paghidaet.

Here’s a video of Tribu Paghidaet’s performance during the Dinagyang Festival 2008 (Actual performance during the Aliwan Fiesta 2008 will be a bit different from what you’re about to see):

Also joining the Aliwan Fiesta 2008 is Saad Festival of Leganes, winner of the Kasadyahan competition during the Dinagyang Festival 2008. “Saad” is vernacular for faith, Saad Festival is a celebration in honor of their patron saint, San Vicente Ferrer, who is believed to have powers in healing illness and suffering. Leganes, approx 15 kilometers from Iloilo City, is the destination of thousands of pilgrims, who visit the church of Leganes claiming the miraculous healing of Vicente Ferrer through palapak or “the act of setting the image to one’s head.”

Saad Festival of Leganes Saad Festival of Leganes to join the Aliwan Fiesta 2008. Click here to view more pictures of Saad Festival of Leganes.

Iloilo’s third contingent to join Aliwan Fiesta 2008 is Kasag Festival of Banate and the reason why their entry is described as “special” is because it is still not certain whether they are listed in the official list of festivals joining the Aliwan Fiesta 2008. To recount, the contingent from Banate was able to join two big festivals in Iloilo this year namely Dinagyang Festival and Pintados de Passi Festival, where they finished 1st runner up in both events.

Kasag Festival of Banate during the Pasundayag of Festivals
Kasag Festival of Banate during the Pasundayag of Festivals

The first time that Banate’s entry into the Aliwan Festival was publicly announced was during the recent, Pasundayag of Festivals during the Semana sang Iloilo. The announcement was confirmed by the tribe’s choreographer Rommel Flogen and the tourism officer of Iloilo Province.

Click Here to view a video of Kasag Festival’s performance during the Pasundayag of Festivals 2008:

I quickly told Eric of Byahilo about the news. He said that Kasag Festival of Banate was not included in the official list of festivals during the press conference of the Aliwan Fiesta 2008. He further contacted the organizers and as of April 14, they had confirmed that Kasag was still not in the list. I’ll be updating you guys with this matter if I get any more confirmation.

Meanwhile, representing Iloilo for the Reyna ng Aliwan 2008 will be Vena Supena Ardales winner of Miss Dinagyang 2008, and Iloilo Festival Queen 2007.

Miss Dinagyang 2008 Vena Supena Ardales

For a little background, here are the winners of the Aliwan Fiesta 2007:

Grand Prize: Lumad Basakanon, Sinulog Festival of Cebu City
1st runner up: Tribu Ilonganon, Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo City
2nd runner up: Alikaraw Festival of Hilongos Leyte
Runner up: Desposorio Festival of Hagonoy Bulacan
Runner up: Zamboanga Hermoza Festival of Zamboanga City
Runner up: Kalilangan Festival of General Santos City
Runner up: Pasalamat Festival of Pagadian City
Runner up: Padang padang Festival of Parang Shariff Kabunsuan
Runner up: Babaylan Festival of Bago City negros Occidental
Runner up: Kahilwayan Festival of Santa Barbara Iloilo