January is festival month in the islands of Cebu and Panay and, unfortunately, for the third Sunday of the month, one has to choose: Sinulog in Cebu or Ati-atihan in Kalibo. The following Sunday is much easier as Iloilo celebrates Dinagyang.
These three are the major festivals of January and it’s only Sinulog that I’ve been able to witness as well as shoot. But it’s becoming more and more stale for me.
Year on year, the dances are just becoming the same, the costumes, while elaborate and well conceptualized, are really not original with the festival queen morphing to designs being worn in Rio’s Carnival.
Or am I just having Sinulog fatigue, having covered it three times in a row a few years ago. Besides, the Sinulog Foundation is already asking P750 pesos for every wannabe photographer who want to cover the event for the photo contest.
On my part, signing up was important so that I can get hold of the ID and have instant access within the parade route. It affords one to be in the middle of the action but I always prefer to steer clear of other photographers. Swarming, or as photojourns call, wolf packing, is not just my cup.
Since last year, I’ve been thinking of doing another shoot but this time, beyond Sinulog. Ati-atihan has always fascinated me, especially having witnessed the pre revelry parties and marches around the plaza. Those images of merrymaking have been imprinted in my mind.
Dinagyang on the other hand is purported to be one of the best. Colorful and probably interesting. With these two coming in the heels of each other will, if I will eventually cover these two, afford me to go around Panay island.
Very tempting considering that I still have lots to explore this big place, from Antique, to Iloilo, from Aklan to Roxas and interesting outlying islands like Gigantes and Caluya. Will I ever make it? I just hope so and now, I’m crossing my fingers that my schedule will permit me.