“Men are like the stars; some generate their own light while others reflect the brilliance they receive.” – Jose Marti
We all know that Iloilo City’s Dinagyang Festival 2020 was the only annual festival that survived and was held in January this year before the coronavirus disease 2019 (COIVD-19) pandemic eviscerated the holding of all other religious and cultural festivals, including mammoth sports and corporate events slated in 2020.
Dinagyang Festival 2020 made it in the neck of time before the pandemic-induced lockdown and social distancing protocol was imposed all over the Philippines, as well as in other parts of the world, when COVID-19 fatally rolled out like a prairie fire.
Because the pandemic had refused to go away, there were fears the holding of the crowed-drawer Dinagyang Festival 2021 two months from now would be scrapped.
COVID-19 is still a threat anywhere in the world with 54,473,877 people have been infected and 1,313,468 have died as of November 17.
Not until some intelligent and creative Ilonggo executives came up with a brilliant idea to still hold the event next year by going digital.
This became known to the public when the Iloilo Festivals Foundation, Inc. (IFFI) officially introduced Dinagyang Digital 2021 on November 13, with the theme “One Dinagyang, One Iloilo, Halad kay Senior Sto. Niño.”
By going digital, Dinagyang Festival 2021, to be hosted by Miss Iloilo Philippines 2020 and Ambassador of Dinagyang Digital 2021
Rabiya Mateo, will not become a “super spreader event” even as IFFI president Jobert Peñaflorida made an assurance the virtual celebration in the new platform will be fully supported by the Iloilo City Government, Parish of San Jose de Placer, and the Department of Tourism (DOT).
“Dinagyang can now be seen from across the country and around the globe,” vowed Peñaflorida, a lawyer and former ABS-CBN Iloilo news anchor.
The festival’s Virtual Opening Salvo and Virtual Religious Sadsad are reportedly set on January 15, 2021 and January 23, 2021, respectively.
Peñaflorida said, “On January 24, 2021 is our Virtual Dinagyang Mass, followed by a full day Dinagyang Digital 2021.”
Featuring the city’s “wonderful sites,” the activities will be livestreamed on Facebook and other social media platforms.
The 2021 edition of the festival will showcase “world-class virtual performances.”
Peñaflorida disclosed further: “We have gathered our best Ilonggo directors, videographers, and choreographers to work together to deliver pre-filmed performance videos featuring our devotion to Sto. Niño, the indigenous people – the Ati and Panay Bukidnon -performance from our Ilonggo artists, individual performances from our select tribes, collaborative tribe performances, and our tribute to the frontliners and the city of Iloilo.”
We laud Peñaflorida and other brilliant IFFI officials for helping save the Dinagyang Festival 2021.
‘NO VACCINE BEFORE THE DINAGYANG 2021.’ Although it has been reported that about more than 1 billion people could be immunized against coronavirus by the end of next year with shots from the first two companies to reveal positive results, after the latest vaccine was shown to be nearly 95 percent effective in trials, there’s no assurance that the vaccine will be available in the Philippines before the Dinagyang Festival 2021 on January 15-24.
The Philippine government reportedly intends to borrow $300 million for the purchase of the coronavirus vaccine, as revealed by President Rodrigo Duterte following recent reports that a vaccine developed by Pfizer and German partner BioNTech was 90 percent effective.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, US top infectious disease official, meanwhile, has hailed “the light at the end of the tunnel.”
This was after the US biotech firm Moderna announced “impressive results” for its mRNA vaccine on November 16, a week after interim results for a Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine showed 90 percent effectiveness.
The inclusion of high-risk and elderly people in the Moderna trial reportedly suggested the vaccine would protect those most vulnerable to the disease.
Peter Openshaw, a professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, described the results as “tremendously exciting”.
Moderna’s vaccine could potentially provide a major advantage over Pfizer’s, which requires ultracold freezing between -70C (-94F) and -80C from production facility to patient though it is reportedly more expensive.
If the Philippine Government can make a deal with vaccine companies early next year and the Filipinos will be able to avail it immediately, the Dinagyang Festival’s old format might hopefully be revived in 2022.
The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two dailies in Iloilo./WDJ