On Charred and Colored Spirits

“Hala Bira!” and “Viva Senor Sto. Nino!” stuffs the aria and vibrato of dancers charcoaled to the last brown of the skin and costumed in color from headdress to anklets jigging to the beat of bamboo clacks and drum booms. Cheerful watchers local and foreign annually gather to spec this Fourth-Sunday-of-January revelry in Iloilo City, Philippines.
Dinagyang, as the revelry is called, refers to the noun of the Hiligaynon verb “dagyang” or “to make merry.” Somehow it has pagan derivation as it reenacts how the mountain Atis entertains lowland Malays of Panay in exchange for food and goods. Somehow it is Christian in foundation as it salutes how the image of the Child Jesus or Sto. Nino saved Panay Isalnd from the Islamic archipelago sprawl. Somehow it is traditional by principle as it tries to re-integrate the dispersing, unclarified history of Ilonggo People. Somehow it is modern by purpose as it spoils the young hearts crave for nightings, flesh trade, drugs, gambling and bankruptcy.

Dinagyang – an unverified revelry of chaotic, charcoaled and colored spirits.
Watch a video below:


  1. Hi Wangbu. keep on doing this beautifull job! All the words of this post are full of rythm!!! Big up!

  2. I remember the "halabira"s. Me and some neighbors' kids back then would sing that every now and then just for fun. I sure do wish I did get to see the actual parade though. It must've been more exciting.