Opening activities happening on the last day of April, the eve of the festival, although there are years when it opens on first day of May.
Generally it is a week-long festival. It also commemorates the feast of St. Monica of Hippo, the patron saint of the city. It also marks the season for harvest during summertime.
History of Dinengdeng Festival
Dinengdeng Festival comes from the word dinengdeng, a popular recipe of a vegetable dish.
Tobacco Festival in Agoo
Prior to Dinengdeng Festival, the city of Agoo held Tobacco Festival for years. Authorities decided to change tobacco, a crop that the province also cultivates and produces, as the centerpiece and theme of the fest.
The decision was prompted by the fact that numerous towns were putting up festivities of the same crop. Moreover, as tobacco is widely cultivated agricultural produce and similar tobacco celebrations were fast becoming a dime a dozen, the city’s celebration may lose a distinctiveness that other more popular festivals like Panagbenga Festival in the region do.
Dinengdeng Festival began in 2004. It was established to give a toast to the city’s way of life particularly its culinary culture.
Dinengdeng as a recipe takes center stage. It is a dish that can be quickly whipped up because ingredients are readily available and can be sourced from local markets or found in backyard gardens.
It is prepared with mixing boiling water with bagoong, an aromatic fermented fish sauce whose sharp taste serves as seasoning and becomes the base of the soup. Various vegetables can be added including aubergine, pumpkin, string beans, okra, Moringa oleifera, and others. It is served with meat and/or pieces of fried or grilled fish.
This dish is popular in the region. Traditionally, it is cooked in clay pots called banga which has become a motif of the festival. It is also a food that can be considered commonplace, yet at the same time every household seem to have their own version and way of cooking it. In fact, the festival includes an activity where participants are challenged to come up with many ways to cook up the recipe.
Alongside the secular revelries is the feast of St. Monica of Hippo, the patron saint of the city. It is held every fourth of May, well within the calendar of the Dinengdeng Festival. St. Monica was the mother of St. Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo.
Dinengdeng Festival Activities
Dinengdeng Festival’s activities reflect the harvest season, religious fervor, cultural heritage, and rich culinary tradition in the city of Agoo. A few activities include sporting events, live concerts, coastal clean-up, car and motor show, parade, street dance, talent contests, cultural dance showdown, and others.
One of the big activities is the cooking of dinengdeng using a huge banga that can provide food for hundred guests. Big events occur in Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University – South La Union Campus (DMMMSU-SLUC) Sports Complex.
Here are other highlights.
Miss Agoo is a beauty pageant. It is a prestigious search for the best female candidates in the city who embody style, wit, and beauty.
Pammadayaw ti Umili
Pammadayaw ti Umili is a recognition given to outstanding individuals residents of the city who have shown excellence and achievements in their respective fields.
How to reach La Union
La Union can be reached through buses from Metro Manila and Baguio.
- La Union Tourist Destinations/Sites as of March 2019. Provincial Government of La Union. 2019. Retrieved September 10, 2022
- Garcia, William Jun. ‘Dinengdeng’ showcases in La Union festival. The Manlia Times. April 30, 2017. Retrieved September 10, 2022
- Alegre, Ace. Pride of Ilocanos–Giant Rice Cake, Dinengdeng. Bulatlat. May 7-13, 2006. Retrieved September 10, 2022
- Agoo. La Union Tayo. Retrieved September 10, 2022
- Elias, Jun. 101 dishes featured in Dinengdeng Festival. Philippine Star. May 3, 2009. Retrieved September 10, 2022
- Message of President Aquino to the Municipality of Agoo, La Union on the occasion of their Annual Patronal Town Fiesta and 11th Dinengdeng Festival, April 25, 2015. Official Gazette. Retrieved September 10, 2022
- This week’s festivals. Philippine Daily Inquirer. April 30, 2017. Retrieved September 10, 2022
- Fajardo-Flores, Anne Hazel. Dinengdeng Festival, a symbolism of culture of Ilocano people. Amianan Balita Ngayon. May 14, 2017. Retrieved September 10, 2022