DIYANDI is a ritual performed by an all-female group outside the Cathedral during the Pagpakanaug, before every novena and before the start of the Komedya, or Comedia de San Miguel, a folk stage play depicting the celestial battle. The 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 – Maranaos, Higaonons and Christians.
Other curious dance-forms, also performed during the San Miguel Fiesta, include the Eskrima (a dance simulating a fight between San Miguel and his enemies, and the Yawa-yawa, literally, devil-devil), a dance from depicting the celestial battle between the forces of good and evil as impersonated by St. Michael, the Archangel and Lucifer.
Sometime in 1986, it was somehow felt by the local fiesta committee that there was a need to further popularize the folk-dance forms of the Iliganon. Thus was an idea born: the concept of a street dancing festival that will not only preserve certain traditional art forms but promote them as well. In an age when culture and tradition are battered by the incursions of modernity, the significance of such undertaking as a completion of traditional art forms cannot be belittled.
Now called the KASADYA (street dancing and merrymaking), which showcases these rich and varied cultural traditions. Highlighted by the traditional Diyandi, Eskrima and the street drama. KASADYA that was started, as a local form of entertainment has become a major tourist attraction of Iligan drawing crowds to about 50,000 people both local and tourist alike. It is considered as a non-income generating project having the most number of spectators both in the streets and in the showdown venue proper as compared to other tourism related activities.
It is to be noted that the San Miguel Fiesta focused on KASADYA was acclaimed by the BBC Holidays (a monthly consumer magazine published in the United Kingdom and the only publication officially endorsed by the prestigious British Broadcasting Corporation) as a tourist destination. It cited the tribal pageantry mixed with Christian piety famous with brightly costumed participants miming a fight with unseen adversaries to cries of "Viva Senior San Miguel". Other participants, dressed as warrior angels, march solemnly. It added that it is very unique because of the miracle play called the Yawa-yawa, performed in vernacular dialogue and depicting Lucifer's unsuccessful revolt against God and the good angels. Other national and local publications also cited KASADYA as a tourist attraction in Iligan.
The feast of St. Michael the Archangel every 29th of September is a grand celebration in Iligan. In fact, it has transformed into a month-long festival, the DIYANDI FESTIVAL SA ILIGAN.
Held every 20th of September at exactly 8:00 in the morning. The lowering of the Patron Saint from the center altar to the side altar for his bath and change of clothes and signaling the start of the nine-day novena, is a sight to behold and a tradition unparalleled. Although conducted inside the Cathedral, it is spearheaded by devotees and participated by local government officials whereby the City Mayor receives the Patron Saint's helmet, the Congressman receives the spear and the Chief of Police, San Miguel's shield. All this occurs with a ritual and a specific count amidst thunderous chants of VIVA SEÑOR SAN MIGUEL!
Daily Diana or Pamukaw
This is an event held every September 27, with participating contigents from and outside Iligan. Performers parade through the city from the port area to end up at the Anahaw Amphitheater at the foot of City Hall where they perform in a final showdown in front of judges. Big prizes are always at stake.
September 29 -The procession attended by throngs of devotees in all assortment of costumes and mascara dance, prance and shout in mock battle celebrating the confrontation of Señor San Miguel and Lucifer. Every now and then, during the procession, devotees shout fiercely "Viva Señor San Miguel!"
The procession stretched for approximately two kilometers. It started and ended at the St. Michael's Cathedral, with a route that took the devotees around the city through old streets, main thoroughfares, and two public markets.
All images appeared on this page were taken during the previous Diyandi Festival sa Iligan Celebrations by yours truly.
Diyandi Festival 2010 - ‘Wara-wara sa Iligan! Tara na!’
Diyandi Festival 2009 - 'Tuyhakaw Iligan, Cge Go!'
Watch out for Diyandi Festival sa Iligan 2011!