Hirinugyaw-Suguidanonay Festival

Hirinugyaw-Suguidanonay Festival is an annual cultural, religious, and food festival in the municipality of Calinog in the province of Iloilo, Philippines. It starts January 24 and ends February 2. Its celebration is one offered to Sto. Niño and it is also a showcase of culture and identity of the indigenous people of Panay Bukidnon.

History of Hirinugyaw-Suguidanonay Festival

Hirinugyaw-Suguidanonay Festival is a twin festival. Hinirugyaw Festival was first held back in 1989 and Suguidanonay Festival was added to the yearly event in 2006.

Their names come from the local words hirinugyaw which means jubilation or merry-making or revelry, and suguidanonay which means storytelling. Each of these two represents different facets of the event, which is organized jointly by the parish of Immaculate Conception and the local government.

Hinirugyaw is a religious celebration dedicated to the devotion of Sto. Niño. There is one Sto. Niño parish located in the village of Badu. (The colonial era church in the town center is placed under the advocation of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception.)

The Hinirugyaw celebration is an expression of faith of the Holy Child among the people in Calinog. It is one of several festivals for Sto. Niño in Panay island that include Dinagyang Festival and Ati-Atihan Festival in Kalibo, Aklan.

Panay Bukidnon

Meanwhile, Suguidanonay is a tribute to the indigenous people called Sulod, Sulodnons (translates to people who live in room- or closet-like settlement, which refer to their territory) or Panay Bukidnons, a name that was created by expert Dr. Alicia P. Magos.

They are called with various names depending on their location and proximity to a river. In Iloilo, they are called Halawodnon, one who lives along Jalaur River which is also called Halawod.

In Aklan, they are called Akeanon after the Akeanon River. And in Capiz, they are called Panayanon for they lived in the floodplains of Pan-ay River. They speak a distinct language that is a mix of Kiniray-a and Hiligaynon.

They inhabit the central portions of Panay that are parts of several provinces of Iloilo, Aklan, Capiz, and Antique; most of their population are found in barangay Agcalaga in Calinog.

It is believed that these native inhabitants were of Malayan descent. They either were living in coastal communities and retreated into the interior mountainous lands by sailing upstream in the islands’ riverine systems upon the start of Spanish colonization or they lived in these lands since time immemorial.

As such, they remained outside of foreign rule and influence as deduced by the lack of adherents of Christian faith among their population. Yet they have assimilated with the larger society to some extent.

People of Panay Bukidnon are bearers of cultural properties such as their folk and courtship dance called binanog (way of the hawk), embroidery called panubok, binukot (maidens who were exempted from housework and secluded from society, and they kept oral tradition of the community alive).

The most famous aspect of their culture is the suigadanon (translates to epic) referred to as Hilinawod (translates stories of the Halawod River). It tells the adventures of three mythic heroes Labaw Donggon, Humadapnon, and Dumalapdap.

In addition to being a work of literature, it also contains rich references to their way of life, heritage, and tradition.

Hinilawod is a multi-volume epic made up of over 28,000 verses that was documented by anthropologist Felipe Landa Jocano, and it would take three days to be recited continuously.

A few in their community committed the story in memory such as Federico Caballero who was recognized as a National Living Artist in 2001. He was given honors during the Hirinugyaw-Suguidanonay Festival in 2005.

Linabugan Festival

Part of Hirinugyaw-Suguidanonay Festival is the Linabugan Festival. Linabugan Festival is a food fest. It gives attention to the food culture of Calinog particularly recipes that utilize labog, called roselle (hibiscus bifurcatus) in English.

The flower buds and leaves of the plant are used in making some of famed specialty dishes in Iloilo. Its taste profile is sour, so it is a main ingredient of indigenous chicken soup that is akin to a sinigang (sour tamarind soup).

Hirinugyaw-Suguidanonay Festival Activities

The schedule of activities of Hirinugyaw-Suguidanonay Festival contains a fusion of religious events and programs showcasing indigenous culture. Holy Mass is conducted daily from the beginning until its last day.

A procession of Sto. Niño is also part of penultimate activities. It is also studded with cultural shows and presentations that are organized by the different districts of the municipality, and in the final day Hirinugyaw-Suguidanonay Tribal Dance Competition that is one of the highlights of the fest. These presentations may be inspired by the passages and stories as contained in Hinilawod.

Other activities include torch parade (which is one of the kick-off activities), torch parade as one of the kick-off activities, various contests, concerts, live bands, and firework display. Beauty pageants are also one of its mainstays. For teens, they can join the Linghoron nga Lina-ay Kag Ulitao and young adults can join the Hamtong nga Lina-ay Kag Ulitao.

How to reach Calinog, Iloilo

Buy a plane ticket bound for Iloilo International Airport. From there, take a bus that will take you to the town of Calinog. It is roughly 50 kilometers away and would take about two hours of travel.


Hirinugyaw-Suguidanonay Festival Summary

NameHirinugyaw-Suguidanonay Festival
CelebrationCulture, History, Indigenous People
ChurchImmaculate Conception Parish
DateJanuary 24 to February 2
Duration10 days
Indigenous peoplePanay Bukidnon
LocationCalinog, Iloilo
OrganizerImmaculate Conception Parish, Municipal Government of Calinog
PatronSto. Niño