Two weeks ago, I experienced the Sinulog Festival, here in Kabankalan, and the following weekend I met up with my other Peace Corps friends in Iloilo for the Dinagyang Festival! Both festivals are a tribute to the "Señor Santo Niño," or in other words, the widely celebrated in the Philippines, baby Jesus. In Kabankalan's history, the early Christians in the city were often subject to pirate attacks, and it is believed that the Santo Niño intervened by driving the pirates away with a shining sword. Ever since then, Kabankalan has celebrated the Sinulog with charcoal-covered tribal dancers, parades, drums, and of course, figurines of the Santo Niño. The city residents also like to cover people's faces with charcoal during the highlight of the festival on Sunday. (If you're a foreigner, you get double the charcoal!)
It rained through most of the dancing, and unfortunately I got my cell phone pickpocketed while pushing my way through the crowd. But still, I managed to have fun attending the parade, getting my face covered in charcoal, and eating lots of food with my coworkers in Kabankalan!
The Santo Niño:
And some dancers preparing for the parade:
Some of the costumes were really elaborate!
These girls were the first to get me with some charcoal... don't they look devious?
Some of the dancing in the parade.
And this is what I looked like by the end! It took forever to get it off...
The following weekend, I met with some other Peace Corps Volunteers in Iloilo for the Dinagyang! Also complete with tribal dancing, although I didn't get my face smeared with charcoal that time. It was really nice to visit with some of my friends!
Here's some photos from one of the dance festivals, the Kasadyahan. The dancers came from different towns in the province. Their dances were very good, with really amazing costumes and props. Each dance had a different concept that was related to what the town is known for. Most of them were related to fishing or agriculture. One had to do with the war for independence from Spain.
Finally, here are some older pictures from the camping trip I described in my last blog post. These are from the hike to the waterfall. The pictures are of my students, my coteacher, and myself. (Told you my students were adorable!)
Ok, tapos na (all done) with the photos. Take care, hugs and kisses to everyone back home!