The Dinagsa Festival of Cadiz, Negros Occidental
Cadiz City known as the Dried Fish Capital of the Philippines is a second class city in the province of Negros Occidental. Currently there are improvements on infrastructure (specifically the commercial and fish ports) that is considerably being accomplished by the local government thereby expected to open new opportunities towards economic growth. Cadiz is the center of the agro-fishery resources of Negros and together with these infrastructural improvements it is projected to further the City’s competitiveness.
In the year 1861, historical records state that when Spaniards came to this town they named it to one of Spain’s northern seaport as it reminds them about the place back in their country. During the Spaniards to the Americans and Japanese colonization, the people of Cadiz never did give up but fought against it by taking part in the revolution. There economic growth together with the whole country’s’ were once at stake but taking the chance they know and hope that one day they will all have the freedom they were fighting for. And on July 1967, after all their struggles, Cadiz was inaugurated as a City by virtue of Republic Act no. 4894.
Dinagsa Festival at its Best at Cadiz City
Dinagsa came from a Hiligaynon word means “dagsa” meaning to gather together or to come in groups. It is noted that on May 5, 1967 there where numbers of whales that were gathered on the towns shore. They usually measures forty feet long and eight feet in height. The first group was followed by another 10 whales five days after the first dagsa. Thus the city is called the City of Whales.
The Dinagsa festival is in honor of Cadiz’ patron saint, Senor Santo Nino de Cadiz. The formation of the festival was with the idea of bringing the people away from there then growing vices on “Sabong” or cock fight during the fiesta. The parish priest of Cadiz at that time was urged to formulate an event that would really focus the attention of the people to honoring the parish patron saint. There came the idea of Dinagsa Festival.
Together with the local government the festival was planned and formulated with different programs. The highlight of the event is the “ati” – an ethnical dance. The devotion to the Child Jesus were already widespread (Cebu and Aklan have their own version of Ati-atihan) and that in the forms of an ati or an Ati-atihan street dance devotees shows there glorious faith to the Patron.
Activities during the event are cultural shows, showcasing of Cadiz agricultural produce, live bands, and the street dancing competition. During the street dance competition, townsfolk and tourist also enjoys the “Lamhitanay” – an old age tradition where people smears paint to each other. Everybody enjoys the fun during this activity and ends up colorfully dirty, sweaty yet full of smiles.
If you want to relax and unwind after the festival, you can also visit and enjoy the waters of Lakawon Island Resort in Cadiz Viejo. [Lagawan.org]