Iligan City Festivals

Diyandi Festival sa Iligan

Folklore depicts patron saint St. Michael the Archangel as the protector of peace.  During the 70s at the height of the sessionist hostilities in Mindanao, people believed that Iligan remained untouched and safe from rebel attacks because of the miracles of St. Michael.

One evening, when a hostile group was poised to attack Iligan City, the members of the group retreated because they could not find the city as it was transformed into a lake.  Another story told is that the Patron Saint makes his rounds in the evening as evidenced by his muddy boots and the presence of amor-seko grass on his clothes.

These are just a few of the many stories about St. Michael.  Even the story of his installation as patron saint of Iligan continues to inspire and endear him to each and every Iliganon.

Thus, his feast every 29th of September, is a grand celebration in Iligan.  In fact, is has transformed into a month-long festival, the Diyandi Festival sa Iligan.

The Diyandi Festival sa Iligan is the official title of Iligan City's month-long fiesta celebration in honor of St. Michael the Archangel.   The title was established in 2004 through the passage of a resolution by the City Councilors.

Diyandi - or celebrate - is a ritual dance performed by an all-female group outside the Cathedral during the "Pagpakanaug", before every novena and before the start of the Komedya (Comedia de San Miguel).   The Diyandi ritual depicts the courtship between a Maranao male and Higaonon female and culminating into an offering symbolic of their union and bountiful harvest to St. Michael the Archangel.  The ritual aptly describes the peaceful co-existence of Iligan's tri-people --- the Maranaos, Higaonons and Christians.


The celebration of the Feast of St. Michael officially or liturgically starts on the 20th of September with the celebration of a Holy Mass (7:00am) at St.  Michael's Cathedral and the "Pagpakanaug" or the ritual transfer of the image of St. Michael from its niche in the side altar towards a pedestal in from of the church.  The San Miguel image is bathed the night before in preparation for his ritual transfer.   The bathing is handled by the Mother Butler  Mission Guilds and his clothes are sponsored by the Labao Family as their  "panaad" (vow) to San Miguel.  Thousands of devotees flock to the cathedral to witness the ceremonies and for a chance to don the helmet of St. Michael, believed to impart powers of the warrior-archangel to the wearer.  The "Pagpakanaug" signals the start of the 9-day novena for the patron saint.

Inside the cathedral, sweet incense from the altar permeates the air while a sea of undulating,, swaying warm bodies move towards the pedestal where St.  Michael now stands.   Like a warrior-general rallying his army in battle against the enemy, the descent of St. Michael evokes a thundering chorus that echoes and reechoes the chant "Viva Señor San Miguel! Viva!".  The ritual reaches fever pitch when the City Mayor receives the patron's helmet, the Congressman receives the spear, the City Vice Mayor receives his cape and the City Police Director receives the shield. 

Comedia de San Miguel

The San Miguel Comedia is distinct and separate from the street performance.  An all-male play, the comedia reflects the Iligan's male chauvinistic nature.   Often referred to as the Drama ni San Miguel (or more popularly "yawa-yawa"), the comedia may have sprung from the generic moro-moro of Spanish-influence theater indigenized in the 19th century.

With codified conventions, this three-part play in Cebuano verse includes choreographed intros and extros (movements are characteristics of roles one plays in black-and-white categories of hero or villain), band accompanied music, the ingenious creation of theatrical effects (through pyrotechnics and mechanical gadgetry), colorful sets and backdrops, and the exciting batalla.

Based on Catholic lore, the play reenacts the batte in heaven between the Archangel Michael and Lusbe and the subsequent fall of Lusbel and his rebels to damnation.

Part One is the most essential portion of this drama.  Lusbel falls from the graces of God and is transformed into an ugly dragon with 7 head (representing the 7 Capital Sins).   Part Two is the "yawa-yawa" (literally translated "devil-like"),  is a lively portion separate from the plot of Part One.   Here,, demons in red and black clutch two-pronged spears and enact their impish antics to the delight of the audience.  

Starting with thte offering of gifts (an egg, a chick and a ginger), and the oration of praises in Maranao and Higaonon dialects, the dancers (in parallel formation) exchange positions from one line to the other.   With the accompaniment of the agong,, the dance climaxes in the holding of hands signifying the unity of the cultural communities' worship of the Señor.

The dance ends with the folksong "Ang Buotan nga Iliganon" (The Good Iliganon) which is Iligan's anthem of sorts.  (Steven Patrick C. Fernandez)

Kasadya Street Dancing






Grand Triple Day Celebration

Iligan City celebrates 3 successive events in May and June every year.    The National Flag Day on May 28,  Independence Day on June 12 and  Adlaw sa Iligan  on June 16.


Back to HOME

Make a Free Website with Yola.