2019 Haw-as sa Dumangas, Part 1

I’M A PROUD Dumangasanon.

And I support the town’s annual Haw-as Festival.

This year, the celebration starts on Oct. 26, Saturday, and ends on Nov. 1, Friday.

We kick off with a motorcade in the morning of Oct. 26, but the grand opening happens at 2pm with the street dancing competition at 3pm.

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I love big parades.

And I like street dancing whether it’s a competition or not.

If the previous years are an indication, the Haw-as Festival street dancing competition is awesome — colorful costumes, jaw dropping choreographies, passionate performances.

I like the big smiles of the performers in street dancing.

Despite the heat (or the sudden rain on certain years), the performers (mostly students) always give their best. 

This is a free public event that you should watch.

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At 6:30pm of the opening day, there’s Sugbahanay sa Plaza, a boodle fight of mostly grilled seafoods…

…although I’ve also seen pork adobo, chicken inasal, achara, and eggplant or langka salad served in years past.

The event is always led by Mayor Ronaldo Golez (now on the first year of his fourth term), his Vice Mayor (Almar Marfito is serving his first term starting this year), and the Sangguniang Bayan members.

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The boodle fight is ideally for dignitaries and the town’s special guests, but no Dumangasanon has ever turned down out-of-towners who want to partake of the free food in the plaza. 

I say, it’s worth trying to gate crash this party.

Free food while supply lasts!

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Alternatively, you can enjoy our version of food fest and Oktoberfest. 

There will be food and non-alcoholic kiosks around the plaza.

And if you like alcoholic drinks, there’s nightly band/s to entertain you on the blocked street between the Municipal Hall and my family’s PRIMA City building. 

Drinks and food services start around 6pm, and lasts until 2am on opening night.

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For the rest of the week, the festival will impose a midnight curfew.

Well, last order by midnight. 

But I don’t think they’ll kick you out if it takes you an hour to finish your last beer.

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For the locals, there’s Farmers and Fisherfolks forum in the morning of Oct. 27.

But come for the first WAFA Con in Dumangas — my contribution to the Haw-as festivities.

WAFA Con is Writers Artists Filmmakers and Artisans Convention.

It is a whole day event which aims to establish Dumangas as a center of arts and culture in the province of Iloilo, but particularly in the 4th congressional district.

I envision a gathering of creative artists and writers for networking and linkages, or just plain camaraderie.

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WAFA Con is, of course, a pet project of The Peter Solis Nery Foundation for Hiligaynon Literature and the Arts, Inc.

After seven years, the Foundation has gathered enough momentum to finally convene the creative community, not just of Iloilo, but of the whole Western Visayas region as well.

Luckily, we have found an ally this year in the Dumangas LGU headed by Mayor Golez.  

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In my Oct. 17 table talk of the event with Mayor Golez, I was proud to report that the WAFA Con is truly a regional event with the Peter’s Prize actually awarding winners from Capiz, Antique, and Passi City, among other places.

And we are hoping guests coming from Bacolod will push through. 

(It’s also MassKara season, so I won’t be hurt if they don’t cross the sea.)

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Regarding the region-wide implications of the WAFA Con, the good mayor quipped, “Don’t limit it to the region. 

“If people from Batangas or Laguna attend the event, let it be put on record. 

“We want to position Dumangas as a center of artistic and cultural excellence. 

“This town has already produced a lot of famous artists, filmmakers, and writers.

“We want to continue that tradition in the next, and future, generations.”

The Mayor will keynote the Peter’s Prize awards ceremony of the  WAFA Con.

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The complete events of the Oct. 27 WAFA Con are as follows:

Filmmaking workshop from 8am to 12nn at the Dumangas National High School grounds.

Poetry workshop from 1pm to 5pm at the Dumangas Gymnasium.

The registration fee for each of the workshop is P50.

50 percent discount will be given to students and teachers of Dumangas schools upon presentation of valid ID.

On-site registration only on the day of the event.

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No food will be served at the workshops (so we can keep the registration fee at such low cost). 

I advise that you bring your own baon, or bring extra money to buy your meals from the kiosks around the plaza.

You’ll never go hungry in Dumangas.

Worst case scenario, I’ll provide the coffee.

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Following the Sunday afternoon poetry workshop with the region’s best poets, there will be poetry readings, book launches, book sales, literary talks and musical-literary performances.

Confirmed poets to attend the WAFA Con are Peter’s Prize medalists Felino Garcia, Melecio Turao, Alex Delos Santos, Jesus Insilada, and this year’s winners of the Peter’s Prize for Poetry. 

Obviously, it’s a gathering of the region’s best.

It’s something you wouldn’t want to miss.

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(The details of the Haw-as Festival weeklong schedule of events continues next issue, Wednesday). ([email protected]/PN)

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