At Megaworld Iloilo Business Park, the spectacle is symbolic of the province’s march to progress
In this year’s Dinagyang Festival, which people said was much grander, the Parade of Lights became the highlight at Megaworld Iloilo Business Park (IBP) in Iloilo City.
The festival is a religious and cultural celebration in honor of the Sto. Niño, and also to commemorate the arrival of Malay settlers in Panay Island.
Where most of the traditional tribal dances in the islands are held in broad daylight, the parade started at night—the better to appreciate the neon-colored lights embellishing the more than 20 floats that paraded down the stretch of Megaworld Boulevard.
The parade was held within the 72-ha IBP township in Mandurriao, Iloilo City.
This year’s Dinagyang also saw the Kasadyahan Cultural Competition, which highlights the culture and traditions of various regions in the islands, the Miss Iloilo Dinagyang, and the Ati Tribe competition.
The Parade of Lights was introduced to the festival by the Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation Inc. in 2018, with the event culminating at IBP. The competition has drawn more than 10,000 spectators to the business park.
“In partnership with the Dinagyang Foundation, Megaworld was very happy to be part of this annual tradition,” said IBP vice president for sales and marketing Jennifer Palmares-Fong at a press briefing.
“Every year we are looking to improve the festival for locals and tourists to have a memorable time in Iloilo... With these events, we are able to showcase to the world that Dinagyang, Iloilo, and Iloilo Business Park as a world-class destination.”
With the parade starting in the old city, and ending with the march to the new business park, the Dinagyang Parade of Lights is seen as an allegory of Iloilo’s march to progress.
IBP is now a bustling township, which has the Iloilo Convention Center, Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Art, various BPO buildings, hotels, condominiums, malls and entertainment centers.
After the Parade of Lights, revelers watched the grand fireworks display, seen throughout the township.
The party continued at the Festive Walk Parade with performances by Ely Buendia’s band Apartel, UDD (Up Dharma Down), among others.
International DJ Jetfire also performed at the Viva Music Fest, with other acts like Kamikazee, and James Reid and Nadine Lustre.
Visitors at the IBP were also treated to a culinary feast at the strEAT Party Food Festival held beside the Festive Walk Parade. People lined up for barbecue, grilled seafood, isaw, burgers, nachos and more, while listening to chill tunes by live bands.
Media guests stayed at Richmonde Hotel Iloilo at IBP.
The Festive Walk Mall is a thoroughly modern structure, with big brands, supermarkets like The Marketplace by Rustan’s and Savemore.
The Festive Walk Mall is Megaworld’s largest lifestyle mall development outside Luzon.
Visitors of the Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Art can view works by Salvador Dali and Marc Chagall, as well as BenCab, Juvenal Sansó, Charlie Co, Ramon Orlina and Michael Cacnio.
Palmares-Fong described how the IBP sparked a renewed vigor for Iloilo’s economy. “With the creation of the township, with all the BPO offices and businesses opening up, there has a been a sort of reverse migration here to Iloilo.”
Palmares-Fong herself is from Iloilo, and has worked in Manila for years, but decided to go back to work in her home province.
“People used to leave Iloilo and look for jobs in Manila or abroad,” she said. “Now we are seeing people going back to Iloilo, since the opportunities here are better than before.”