Manila: Aliwan Fiesta, More Than Just Entertainment
Said to be “The Mother of All Fiesta” which started in 2003, this event showcases the different cultures of the Philippines. This event is organized to promote the cultures and tourism of respective regions.
It was past four when we reached the venue, because we were unlucky to be caught in one of the LRT’s frequent breakdowns and we have to take the jeep going to Luneta. As Roxas Boulevard is closed to traffic, we have to walk from the corner of UN Avenue to Quirino Grandstand. This is the second visit of the flock to the Aliwan Fiesta (the first one is in 2008) and we noticed the unusually thinner crowd. Perhaps it is due to the record heat we are experiencing at the moment.
The Aliwan Fiesta competition is divided into three categories: the Cultural Street Dance, Float Parade and the ‘Reyna ng Aliwan’ (Queen of Aliwan) beauty pageant. There are also side events like photography contests, and there are so many photographers which made us difficult getting the best shots. We have to squeeze ourselves in, negotiate and step on the fences just to take photos.
This is the most-awaited event where at least 100 dancers including musicians and props men show their best in the said event. Their colorful costumes, designs and over-the-top props reflecting their cultural heritages gives life to the event. The Manaragat Festival is proclaimed the winner of this year’s festival.
FLOAT PARADE AND REYNA NG ALIWAN
After performing the street dances each regions parade their floats which were decorated with cloth, flowers and various products. Each float portrays the local folklores and traditions of the ethnic groups and usually the Reyna ng Aliwan can be seen on the float. The floats slowly traverses the route from the Grandstand to the stretch of Roxas Boulevard, and finally to the CCP Complex where the winning entry is announced.
EDUCATING AND ENTERTAINING
Though the extreme heat coupled with frequent walking made us almost exhausted, we were still very satisfied. Aside from witnessing the different colors and the lively festivals of different regions we gained additional knowledges on the different cultures of the Philippines. We just learned that only a few festivals were selected each year due to the vast number of festivals around the country. If you want to witness the different festivals of the archipelago without going too far, it’s better to mark the Aliwan Fiesta on your calendars – you will not only be educated but also be entertained (‘Aliwan’ means ‘Entertain’ in Filipino).
The event was organized by the Manila Broadcasting Company (MBC), the company behind DZRH and Love Radio, together with Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and the cities of Manila and Pasay.
From Cubao take a jeep bound for Luneta. Or take the LRT-2 going to Recto, then from there take the LRT-1 (there is a footbridge connecting LRT-2 Recto Station and LRT-1 Doroteo Jose station) and alight at the UN Avenue Station. From here walk for about 800 meters going to the Grandstand.
Note: One side of Roxas Boulevard is closed to traffic. During this occasion it is best to find alternative routes to avoid heavy traffic.
Because the front of the Grandstand is packed with photographers, it is advisable to go early to be able to grab the best spot to take photos.
Aliwan Fiesta began in 2003 in an aim to showcase different Filipino culturea and heritage not only to the residents of Metro Manila but also to the world. The participants on the other hand aim to promote their respective cultures and traditions in an economical manner. This event was originally organized as a visual extravaganza for the Christmas season, but has since been held during the summer months of April or May. In 2010, this event was labeled (as seen by a banner at the Roxas Blvd entrance) as the Philippines’ Grandest Fiesta.