Monthly Archives: January 2012

Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo City, Philippines

From Tribu Paghidaet101_0261

From Tribu Buntatalan-on 101_0318
From Tribu Lun-ok
From the winning tribe – Tribu Pan-ay
Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo is in the same subject of celebration with Kalibo Aklan’s Ati-atihan and Cebu’s Sinulog which are all about thanksgiving and a celebration in honor of Seňor Sto. Niňo (the child Jesus).  They are all celebrated in January.

The government has more than a month long schedule of activities with a three day festival highlights:

Fluvial Procession
The fluvial procession is the religious highlight.  It is on the Friday of the Dinagyang week.  The devotees carry assorted images of the Seňor Sto. Niňo (the child Jesus) and ride in bancas from the river towards the pier where the foot parade would start and then back to the church.

The Kasadyahan (merrymaking) is the cultural highlights and is being held on the Saturday of the Dinagyang week.  It is a cultural parade that depicts the culture of the early people in the province of Iloilo.  It is conceptualized by the local residents and provincial government in the late 1900s.  Private corporations, non-profit organizations and dance groups in Iloilo support this special celebration.  The government gives special cash prices to the winners to encourage the local groups to participate.

Ati-atihan Parade and Competition
The Ati parade and competition is another cultural highlights and considered the biggest event.  It is being held on the Sunday of the Dinagyang week and participated by more than ten groups of tribes.  The parade is very colorful with dramatization of offerings and prayers in honor of the patron saint Sto. Niño amidst the drum beats and shouts of “Viva Señor Santo Niño” and “Hala Bira”.  The performance of each tribe is spectacular with an impressive choreography, costumes and music.

Dinagyang Festival has been noted by the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts and tagged it as the “Festival of Excellent Folk Choreography”.  The festival has gained national prominence and recognition by winning the national street dancing competition.  It is now a vehicle to promote Iloilo as a tourist and investment destination along with its grand mansions and old churches.

The photos above are taken from the actual parade of this year’s Dinagyang Festival which I took along Bonifacio Drive (near Museo Iloilo) after each tribe performed in this place which is also the third judging area. More photos of the Dinagyang parade can be viewed from here.  And street scene photos during the Kasadyahan night can be viewed from  here.






Bukayo is a very sweet delicacy that is very popular especially for kids.  It is made from young gelatinous coconut (buko) simmered in water and white or brown sugar.  During the early days it is usually eaten after meal as a desert, but the younger generations eat them just like the common “junk foods”.

The jar of bukayo in this photo is taken from a “Sari Sari” store (convenience store) in the neighborhood in a province wherein you can buy it at PhP 1.00 per piece.  However in the city, it is very rare to buy a bukayo per, piece they are selling it per pack.  It can also be found in high end supermarkets but the price is more expensive.

Here’s one Bukayo recipe that I got from the net:


  • 2 coconuts
  • 1 kg brown sugar
  • young coconut juice (buko juice)
  • all purpose flour or corn starch


  1. Boil together the buko juice and sugar until sugar dissolves completely and mixture thickens.
  2. Cook grarted coconut in a pan with a little oil until it turns slightly brown.
  3. Add syrup and thicken with a little flour or cornstarch diluted in water.
  4. Keep stirring so that syrup coats the grated coconut completely, mixture thickens and bukayo gets cooked completely.
  5. When cooked, transfer bukayo to a bowl.
  6. Form into small balls while hot.
  7. Use plastic wrap or wax paper to cushion your hands from the hot bukayo.

Sinulog Festival in Cebu Philippines




Facts about the Sinulog Festival in Cebu, Philippines

  • It is being held annually every third Sunday of January in Cebu, Philippines to honor the patron saint Seńor Santo Nińo de Cebu (Lord Holy Child of Cebu) and the arrival of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in the Philippines.
  • Cebu is in the Central Visayas (Region VII) in the Philippines and is founded on April 27, 1565.  The capital is Cebu City. Cebu has a Roman Catholic Archdiocese, and has numerous historical churches, including the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, the San Carlos Church, the Santo Rosario Parish Church, San José-Recoletos Church, and Sacred Heart Church as well as several other non-Catholic churches, mosques, and temples.
  • Part of the tradition is a fluvial parade where the image of the Child Jesus will be leaving His home in the Basilica del Sto. Niño and will be paraded to His foster father in the St. Joseph Parish in Mandaue City. The Niño stays with His father for a day and a night.  After the overnight stay with His father, He will be voyaging His way to His mother in a nearby island in Lapu-Lapu. The ceremonies in Cebu begin with this early morning fluvial procession, reenacting the coming of the Spaniards.
    The Holy Child Jesus is usually kept in a glass case bedecked with blossoming flowers, which will be carried by a “galleon” towards His destination.  The procession ends at the Basilica where a re-enactment of the Christianizing of Cebu is performed.
  • Sinulog is essentially a dance ritual which remembers the Filipino pagan past and their acceptance of Christianity.  The word Sinulog comes from the Cebuano adverb “sulog” which means “like water current movement;” it describes the forward-backward movement of the Sinulog dance. The dance consists of two steps forward and one step backward, done to the sound of drums.  The festival features some the country’s most colorful displays of pomp and pageantry.  The participants garbed in bright-colored costumes dance to the rhythm of drums, trumpets, and native gongs.
  • The event has become a tourist attraction.

The photos above are taken from the actual parade of this year’s Sinulog Festival.  I took these photos along Mango Avenue in Cebu where the grand Sinulog parade is passing.  I took more than 200 photos of this event and it can be viewed from here.

Suman at Halaya

Christmas Eve (Noche Buena)


New Year’s Eve (Media Noche)


Suman at Halaya is another pair of Christmas holiday food that Filipinos habitually eat together like the “Bibingka and Puto Bumbong”.  The first photo is taken from our Christmas eve table (Noche Buena) while the second photo is taken from our New Year’s eve table (Media Noche).  Both delicacies are sticky so Filipinos traditionally have them in their table especially during New Year’s eve because of the (funny) belief that sticky foods make the luck sticks as well.  Some seriously believe this, some for fun but most have them because they are just simply delightfully good to eat.

The suman and Halaya in the first photo were bought from the local (commercial) market while the Suman and Halaya in the second photo are “home made”.  “Home made” here means that I personally know who cooked the suman and halaya.  The suman is from a neighbor who is known for making and selling suman in our neighborhood.  while the halaya is from a friend who especially brought it from Laguna – a provincial town just outside the city. 

Suman can be simply called as a “sticky rice in banana leaf”, while Halaya is an “ube jam”.  Suman comes in variety but the most popular during the holiday season is the plain one.  Here are some recipes of these two delicacies that I got from the net.

Suman sa Ibus (Simple Recipe)

* 3 cups malagkit rice
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 2 cups thick coconut milk

Cooking Instructions
1). Soak malagkit in water for an hour or until grains are swollen. Drain.
2). Add salt and coconut milk. Mix well.
3). Prepare ibus then fill with rice mixture. Seal tubes and tie with strips of the ibus.
4). Arrange the suman in a big saucepan and cover with water. Cover the pot and
boil for 2 hours or until cooked.

How to wrap a Suman Sa Ibus:
* Fold the end of the buri leaf by 1 ½ inches.
* Fold the bottom edge into a triangle.
* Start rolling up the buri leaf in an overlapping manner.
* Roll up the buri to make a tube.
* Attach a small piece of wooden pick to secure the tube.
* Fill the tube with malagkit.
* Seal the ibus tube.
* Tie with strips of buri.

Ube Halaya Recipe


  • 1 kilo ube yam root
  • 1 can (14 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 2 cans (12 ounces) condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla (optional)

Cooking Instructions:

  1. On a pot, boil the unpeeled ube yam in water and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain and let cool.
  2. Peel and finely grate the ube yam.
  3. Heat a big wok in medium heat.
  4. Melt butter or margarine, add the condensed milk and vanilla flavoring. Mix well.
  5. Add the 1 kilo grated ube yam,
  6. Adjust the heat to low
  7. Keep on mixing the ingredients for about 30 minutes or until sticky and a bit dry (but still moist).
  8. Add the evaporated milk and continue to mix for another 15 minutes.
  9. Let cool and place on a large platter.
  10. Refrigerate before serving the halayang ube.

Cooking Tips:

  • You may spread additional butter or margarine on top of the jam before serving.
  • For the sweet toothed, sprinkle a little sugar on top of the jam after placing on the large platter.
  • Instead of manually grating the ube, you may cut it in cubes and use a blender to powderized the ube.


  • 1 kilo ube, boiled and grated
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 cups evaporated milk
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • butter for greasing


  1. In a thick-bottomed pan, combine grated ube, coconut milk, evaporated milk and sugar.
  2. Cook over medium fire until very thick.
  3. Stir constantly to prevent sticking.
  4. Mold in greased pans. Cool.


  1. Prepare 3 cups of mashed ubi, or powdered ubi mixed with water.
  2. Blend this together with one cup of evaporated milk, 1 tablespoon of margarine, 1/2 cup of wheat flour and 2 cups of sugar.
  3. Cook over low heat, and stir constantly for 25 minutes.
  4. Before removing from heat, add lemon rind.
  5. Place in a small bottles and seal tightly. Only a couple of hundred pesos worth of ingredients are needed to produced six small bottles of marketable halaya.