Iwag Festival is the Christmastime festival in the municipality of Pototan in Iloilo, Philippines from December 16 to January 1. It is also called Festival of Lights, and its popularity has earned the town the nickname the Christmas Capital of Western Visayas. A two-week celebration, it attracts thousands of people and is considered one of the most awaited events in the year.
History of Iwag Festival
The first Iwag Festival was held in 1997. Its name comes from the word iwag, a term in Hiligaynon language that means light or illumination. The tradition of decorating and putting lights in the town plaza dates back to the 1960s during the time of Manuel Parco as a way to instill yuletide cheer. However, it was halted due to the energy crisis in the 1970s. It was then revived in the next decade and became an institutional tradition starting in 1997.
It is organized by the municipal government in cooperation with the private sector. The fest draws visitors for its outdoor nighttime landscape brought about by the many colorful lights that are installed in the town. Preparations begin as early as November.
Yet it was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2021, even when the event was still put on hold and the municipal government decided to hold a scaled-down decoration, three thousand people showed up when the lights were turned on. It was discovered that a fake news spread on social media that the festival was re-staged.
Iwag Festival Activities
During Iwag Festival, the town plaza is decorated with Christmas lights and it becomes a beautiful scenery in the evening. There are entertainment shows that are slated every evening, amusement rides, food stalls, and other activities. The plaza decoration is also notable. It features seasonal ornaments, animated lights, and lawn decors.
How to reach Pototan, Iloilo
The town of Pototan is about 30 kilometers away from Iloilo City, so you can book a light to the city’s international airports and then take a bus trip.
- Lena, Perla. Iloilo town’s Festival of Lights still off this Christmas. Philippine News Agency. December 24, 2021. Retrieved November 6, 2022
- No Iwag Festival in Pototan town due to pandemic. Panay News. December 27, 2021. Retrieved November 6, 2022
- Sornito, Ime. Pototan switching off lights for Iwag 2020. Panay News. November 28, 2020. Retrieved November 6, 2022
- Pototan: Town of rice and lights. Business World. December 22, 2019. Retrieved November 6, 2022
- Marin, Bombette G. Janiuay And Pototan: A Holiday Trail of Lights. The News Today. December 21, 2007. Retrieved November 6, 2022