Getting high on Dinagyang
Iloilo City — With its slogan On Higher Ground, this year’s Dinagyang Festival ended on a happy note. Local and foreign tourists who flocked to this western part of the Visayas are still “feeling high” from the various activities held in celebration of the feast of Sto. Niño. Ilonggos, too, enjoyed the fanfare including GMA’s free show dubbed as Dinagyang Kapuso Night that drew an enormous crowd at the Freedom Grandstand.
Local artists like Pinoy Idol finalist and true-blue Ilongga Sue Ellen, Istayl Naton! hosts Angelia Ong, John Arceo, Mamo Monyika and Dino Vasquez entertained the crowd with song numbers and antics that added glee to the night.
Back stage, Sue Ellen relates that she has now fully recovered from the heavy blow that struck her and her family. She considers the flood waters and fire incidents — that left them homeless months ago — as part of “those trying times.”
“Since the lot is not originally ours, we decided to rent an apartment instead,” says Sue, who returned to Iloilo and continues her studies at Central Philippine University taking up Education after her Pinoy Idol stint.
“Life is much easier here but I still perform in Manila once in a while. I did a show with Ogie Alcasid (and Ramiele Malubay) last month,” she continues. “And of course, I sing on occasion like this as a Kapuso. But more often, I sing here with the church ministry. I really enjoy singing.” So does the crowd who applauded her energetic number Please Don’t Stop the Music.
Various games made every Kapuso’s spirit soar high. And as the night grew livelier, rain started to fall heavily, yet it was not enough to spoil the evening fun and excitement.
All — young and old — stood still, seemingly unmindful of any health problem the rain may bring. They shrieked in excitement, stomped their feet with joy and clapped their hands the hardest when Luna Mystika stars Heart Evangelista and Mark Anthony Fernandez appeared and performed one after the other on the makeshift wooden stage.
“This happens rarely (to see celebrities in person) so we might as well enjoy the moment even if it’s raining,” an Ilonggo fan says.
Mark, while singing Nandito Ako under a wide umbrella, gave away shirts to the jampacked crowd.
“Ayos ba kayo diyan?,” he asked with concern. The audience, in turn, responded with delight.
It was Mark’s third time to join Dinagyang. This time, Mark thanked everyone for the warm welcome and invited the audience to continue supporting Kapuso shows especially Luna Mystika where he plays Dexter, the love interest of Heart’s Celestina.
Heart, on the other hand, was touched to see Ilonggos soaking wet all throughout the show. She greeted them pleasantly and belted out a song accompanied by a band. The heavy downpour also didn’t stop her from going up on stage even if she has just recovered from sickness. Heart, too, at one point, tried to keep the umbrella away to interact well with the crowd but failed because she might be electrocuted from the microphone she was holding.
“I’m so happy to be here. Thank you for all the support and please don’t fail to watch Luna Mystika,” Heart says.
As the Kapuso Night ended, happiness vividly reflected on everybody’s faces. The Ilonggos’ warm welcome, in turn, conveyed a feeling as intense as the pounding of the drums we often hear come Dinagyang time.
By Bot Glorioso
Updated January 30, 2009 12:00 AM