Sinanggiyaw Festival is a fun celebration being held every 4th of October in Dumanjug, Cebu, Philippines.
The festival basically features a festive mood showcasing the fertility of its land and abundance of the town’s farm products.
Certainly, since the area is becoming more of an urban than rural, the aim is to promote the place for more visitors to come, see and tell the world about what it can offer and other resources they have for travelers to avail of.
The word ‘sinanggiyaw’ comes from the two Cebuano words: sinanggi (the harvested crops or the way/method of harvesting the crops) and ‘-yaw’ the last syllable for ‘sayaw’ for ‘to dance’.
In short the two terms can be translated as “to dance like the harvesting way”. The street dancing competition can literally show you the harvest method through their dance steps and choreography.
Not only the harvesting methods, but the steps and choreography basically follow the three seasons or in farming: planting, harvesting and thanksgiving.
For this last aspect, the original settlers celebrate thanksgiving to nature and creator for the abundance of nature. With the coming of Christianity, this thanksgiving celebration or ritual is being transformed into the religious aspects of Christian celebration.
Just like in most ‘fiestas’ around the country, this festival is celebrated to coincide with the town’s patron saint’s religious feast day – St Francis of Assisi.
This festival is believed to have been celebrated without fail annually since in 1855. It means that it is one of the oldest celebrations in the province and one that is being modeled by other towns in the province.
Most probably, the festival is more of a religious thanksgiving and celebration back then and not so elaborate if compared nowadays. However, the religious tone of thanking (God) for the abundance and harvest remain to be the fundamental theme of the celebration.
Certainly, the poblacion is the center where the governmental functions and the church are centrally located. As Dumanjug Town celebrates the festival, it is their church is considered both their landmark and center of the events.
Sinanggiyaw Festival is quite interesting and entertaining to watch. It is not only meant to attract more visitors from everywhere but also to showcase local culture, costumes and traditions in general.
However, basically, the festival is consists of choreographed street dancing, showdown (usually a ritualistic sort of group dancing presentation in a huge hall – could be a stadium or other open space in town), beauty queen contest and other interesting games wherein groups or individuals can win a prize.
Just in case you don’t know, the street dancing presentations are performed by mostly young competitors from elementary to high schools. They take time and energy to master their routine and deliver their best talents during the competition.
The dancers wear very colorful and elaborate costumes and use props to enhance better their vibrancy and charm. Every group contingent is being led by a queen dancer who usually leads the group and perform dance steps quite a bit different from her group members.
As aforementioned, the theme of the performances revolves around the three aspects of farming: planting, harvesting and thanksgiving.
Sinanggiyaw Festival does not only aim to promote the town’s resources and abundance but also to help the younger generation to become more aware about the good things that come from their land as a resource.
In addition, the festival aims to awaken the locals’ mind to be aware of the environment’s need for protection from any pollution and to take care of nature and environment.
To promote the sense of communitarian and familial unity, the festival also aims to make the locals become aware of their communitarian roles. Through the festival, the local community will recognize their functions and roles and what they can offer to their community.
They are encourage to participate in various aspects and events not only during the festival but primarily during the preparation period which takes so much planning, thinking and energy not only among organizers but also supporters and workers.
In addition to the communitarian aspect, the festival also offers families chance to participate in the events and its preparations. Usually, the events does not only include one member of the family but the whole of them.
As much as you can enjoy the vibrant and frenzy dance performances and other fun competitions during the day, you will also enjoy exploring and searching (or eating and tasting) the products being displayed.
You will see booths being set up by the road or street areas that display farm products and other products locally produce. You will find such products more environmentally-friendly and healthy since they are mostly organic products.
Some agricultural products you will see include: bananas, camotes (sweet potatoes), corn, rice, coconuts, and vegetables among others.
Aside from food products, you will also enjoy investigating handicrafts being produced by talented local craftsmen. You can just either look at them or buy some to support their makers.
Such products include: wood crafts (furniture products, etc.), handy crafts, home decors, garment products and others which can serve as souvenirs from the place itself. (Better support local products than the mass produced ones, isn’t it?)
Dumanjug town is about one and a half or two-hours travel from Cebu City. It is about 73 kilometers south of Cebu. You can easily take a bus from Cebu South Bus Terminal at this metropolitan.
When you decide to see the festival or simply explore the place, here are some of the sites, popular things (food, etc.) and attractions you might be interested in…
Bisnok or Bisayang Manok (“Du, manok tinuhog”)
Some thought this business is the origin of this place’s name. The three syllables could be coming from ‘du’ (nickname for any young guy), ‘man’ for chicken, and ‘hog/jug’ for tinuhog (barbecued). Who knows!
St Francis of Assisi Parish Church
It is a great place to explore if you are an avid historian or any sort of profession interested in antiques or historical sights. The church is built in 1854 with coral stones, lime stones, black hard wood among other materials available by then.
Dona Josefa Paras Garcia Heritage Park
Many attested that this areas has been used as the cuartel (quarter) of the Americans during the Spanish-American war. It is now transformed into a friendly picnic area. Around it you can find food shops, stalls, and souvenir shops.
SaDumanjugNi Home Stay
If you want to experience sleeping in a room built over a hundred years old, this could be your chance. This building is an ancestral house and business office for Dumanjug Hand Painted Linens. Try it!
There will be more of these popular places featured in this website.
Garcia Ancestral House - coral stone foundation
Cantarini Art Gallery – Italian arts
Camboang Marine Sanctuary
Thanks a lot for reading down to this part. Hope this helps your search.
Have a wonderful exploration, and until your next visit here!