Iligan to Celebrate Diyandi Festival and Tourism Month in September

Once again Iliganons will celebrate the city fiesta on September 29, the feast of "Señor San Miguel," the armor-clad patron saint of Iligan, revered as its defender and protector against all threats

Thus, his feast is a grand celebration in Iligan. In fact, it has been transformed into a month-long festival -- the “Diyandi Festival sa Iligan.”

Agnes Clerigo-Maingat, city tourism officer of Iligan, said the city is also celebrating September as Tourism Month, basically with events that would attract visitors, domestic and foreign alike, to witness the merry-making and the feast of the city’s patron saint, Michael the Archangel.

The “Pagpakanaug” on September 20 will signal the start of the nine-day novena for the patron saint at the St.Michael Cathedral. The “Pagpakanaug,” or the ritual transfer of the image of St. Michael from its niche in the main altar toward a pedestal on the lower altar.

Respected by all ethnic groups, Saint Michael brings together Iliganons -- Christians, Muslims, Higaonons and Lumads -- as one family in faithful homage to him.

Diyandi is a ritual performed by an all-female group outside the cathedral during the Pagpakanaug, before every novena and before the start of the Komedya, or Comedia de San Miguel, a folk stage play depicting the celestial battle.

Thousands of devotees flock to the cathedral to witness the ceremonies and for a chance to don the helmet of St. Michael, believed to impart powers of the warrior-archangel to the wearer.

One of the more significant highlights of the fiesta celebration is an Iliganon tradition and cultural heritage -- the San Miguel Comedia. This religious musical play is one of the country’s last surviving zarzuelas and considered a priceless heritage.

The San Miguel Comedia depicts the fall of the proud and rebellious Lucifer in the hands of God’s faithful servant-warrior St. Michael the Archangel. Written by a Cebuano playwright, Iligan’s Divine Comedy of Señor San Miguel was first staged in 1890. Interestingly, the actors today are descendants of the original actors.

For the fiesta fare, from the elaborate and Indigay sa Iligan Lechon (on its third year), to the down-to-earth Palamiay ug Bingka sa Barangay, the Pagana a Taste of Iligan- Food and Drink Festival, the siren call is irresistible. It beckons all to come home and join the chorus of “Viva Señor San Miguel!”

“Viva Señor San Miguel! Discover and Experience Iligan “Like ILIGAN!” This year’s theme as conceived and implemented by the city’s business-led Fiesta Committee is as close to the heart of the Iliganon as it is to what St. Michael symbolizes. This campaign address, thumbs-up sign, is for the people in the world to visit, discover and experience what the beloved city of Iligan can offer. It aims to take advantage of the present technological phenomenon through Facebook.

Festive, colorful and full of life, the annual fiesta celebration continues to live up to the expectations and ideals of the city’s over 300,000 residents.

Mainstream highlights of the celebration are “Pamukaw,” or the early dawn parade of the city’s band to rouse the residents for the dawn novenas; the world-renowned “Kasadya” Street Dancing Festival falls on September 27; the Little Mr./Miss Iligan and Miss Iligan 2012 pageants on September 26 and 27; the Tartanilla Painting Contest; the Parada de San Miguel on September 28 – the first-ever to happen where every participating contingents wear festive attires depending on the motif, artistry and theme the group wants to project (formerly called the civic and military parade); and the San Miguel Procession on September 29.

After the Pagpakanaug, people may enjoy a ride using the Tartanilla Express, a mode of transportation in selected routes of the city as part of the city’s cultural heritage, with 10 decorated tartanillas in a row to choose from.

Added to this year’s events are the Pista sa Suba at Mandulog River/Bayug Island (Typhoon Sendong stricken areas); Bloggers Water Falling Adventure; the DEBRI(s)EFING ART (Found Nature Sculptures from Typhoon Sendong-TS); Coke Village Food Strip; and the First Iligan Tattoo Invitational Competition.

Adding more life and catering to a wider segment of the local populace are the various sports competitions like boxing, silent drill, volleyball tournament, open basketball tournament, badminton tournament, trisicad racing, bowling, First Motorcycle Circuit racing, Frisbee and the ‘Taboan’ Trade Fair, coastal clean-up drives, concerts and street parties.

As the repeated shouts of “Viva Señor San Miguel! Viva!” echo across the cathedral walls, and as the melody of “ Ang Iliganon nga Buotan” streams out of the windows, they reverberate into the streets, in every home, into the whole city – and even into the whole world, wherever Iliganons are.

“Viva Señor San Miguel! Viva!” -- this is the impassioned and joyous salute, the homage of the people of Iligan to its beloved patron saint -- defender, protector and faithful warrior of God. (Lorry V. Gabule/PIA-LDN)

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