FESTIVALS with grand parades, colorful costumes, upbeat music and exciting dance movements are a great crowd-drawer. This is why almost every region, province, even city or municipality in the country has its own annual festival, which reflects its own culture, history and traditions. Festivals effectively draw tourists, both local and foreign, to the place, so people travel extensively just to catch these visual spectacles.
But imagine if there’s one festival that gathers different festivals from different parts of the country, including major ones like the Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo, the Panagbenga Festival of Benguet and the Sinulog Festival of Cebu—complete with parade, dance competition and float competition!
Aliwan Fiesta, an annual event organized by Manila Broadcasting Corporation every April, owns the distinction of being The Philippines’ Grandest Fiesta because it brings together more than 15 festivals of the Philippines in a street dance competition, float competition and beauty pageant. Highlight of the three-day event is the grand parade, which starts at the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park and ends at the Aliw Theater in the Star City Complex in Pasay City, where the competition heats up and the grand awarding takes place.
The festival began in 2003 and was so successful that it became an annual event that everyone looked forward to every summertime. This year was no different. Taking place from April 26 to 28, 2018, this year’s edition, the 16th in a row, once again drew crowds.
Its 17 contingents for the Street Dance Competition consisted of the Binirayan Festival of Antique, represented by Tribu Tatusan of Caluya; Dinamulag Mango Festival of Iba, Zambales, represented by Ibaile Street Dancers; Pandan Festival of Mapandan, Pangasinan, represented by Tribu Pandan of Pangasinan; Pangumagat Festival of Balud, Masbate, represented by Pangumagat Tribe; Rodriguez Dumagat Festival of Rodriguez, Rizal; Fiesta Republica of Malolos, Bulacan; Manggahan Festival of Guimaras, represented by Hubon Mangunguma of San Lorenzo, Guimaras; Panagbenga Flower Festival of Baguio City, Benguet, represented by St. Louis University; Bakood Festival of Bacoor, Cavite, represented by Teatro Baile de Bacoor; Meguyaya Festival of Upi, Maguindanao, represented by Bugabungan National High School; Bato Art Festival of Luna, Isabela, represented by Tribu Antatet; Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo, represented by Tribu Panayanon; Niyogyugan Festival of Quezon, represented by Hambujan Dancers of Dolores, Quezon; Abrenian Kawayan Festival of Bangued, Abra, represented by Tribu Dangdang-ay; Tagultol Fishing Festival of Atimonan, Quezon, represented by the Atimonan Community Dancers; Kasadyaan Festival, represented by Tribu Buraburon of Burauen, Leyte; and Pandang Gitab Festival of Lights of Oriental Mindoro; represented by the Municipality of Baco.
At the end of the grand parade that lent glam and glitter to Roxas Boulevard and culminated in a spectacular showdown at the Star City Complex, the Kasadyaan Festival of Burauen, Leyte, triumphed over everybody to become the Aliwan 2018 Street Dance Champion. In second place was the Manggahan Festival of Guimaras; while the Iloilo Dinagyang Festival landed in third place. The Meguyaya Festival of Upi, Maguindanao, and Binirayan Festival of Antique placed fourth and fifth, respectively.
Five runner-up contingents were chosen: the Abrenian Kawayan Festival of Bangued, Abra; Panagbenga Festival of Baguio City, Benguet; Pandan Festival of Mapandan, Pangasinan; Bato Art Festival of Luna, Isabela; and Pandang Gitab Festival of Oriental Mindoro.
Receiving special awards were the Kasadyaan Festival of Burauen, Leyte (Best Music); Manggahan Festival of Guimaras (Best Costume); and Abrenian Kawayan Festival of Bangued, Abra (Pride of Place Award, or the Best Folkloric Performance).
For the Aliwan Fiesta 2018 Best Float Competition, the Fiesta Tarakloban Float of Tacloban City, Leyte, emerged as the champion. Sinilatan Float of Cotabato City, Maguindanao, and Kapasiti Float of Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao, placed second and third, respectively. Taking home runner-up honors were Ipi-Sinulog Float of Cebu City; Catanauan Float of Catanauan, Quezon; Abra New Day Float; Tagultol Float of Atimonan, Quezon; Bangsa Maguiranun Float of Mother Kabuntalan, Maguindanao; Biton Float of Upi, Maguindanao; and Singkaban Festival Float of Malolos City, Bulacan.
The grand finals of the Reyna ng Aliwan 2018 had all the elements of a full-fledged beauty pageant, and all the contestants—local beauty queens and muses—were worthy of the crown. But after the different competitions, Chelsea Fernandez (representing the Sangyaw Festival of Tacloban City) brought home the prestigious title. Chanel Mistyca Corpuz (representing the Abrenian-Kawayan Festival of Abra) placed first runner-up. Second runner-up honors, however, went to three lovely ladies—Lady Justerinnie Santos (Singkaban Festival of Bulacan), Ashanti Shane Ervas (Niyogyugan Festival of Quezon), and Shaila Mae Rebortera (Sinulog Festival of Cebu).
Of the seven special awards given out to the Reyna ng Aliwan 2018 contestants, three went to the grand winner, Chelsea Fernandez, who took home the Best in Evening Gown, Best in Swimsuit and Miss White Rose awards. Second runner-up Lady Justerinnie Santos and Shaila Mae Rebortera won the Best in Festival Costume and Miss Unique Smile special awards, respectively. The other winners were Ella Mariz Cayabyab of the Boling-Boling Festival of Catanauan, Quezon (Miss Photogenic) and Novie Shane Leonerio of the Tuna Festival of General Santos City (Miss Friendship).