Aliwan Festival is a cultural festival held in Metro Manila, Philippines every April. It is a three-day grand fiesta that brings together contingents from different regions, provinces, cities, and towns in the country.
Major competitions include street dance, float, and festival queen search called Reyna ng Aliwan. Special awards in best folkloric performance, best costume, and best musical accompaniment are also given.
A recent addition is the Aliwan Digital Fiesta Queen which is a separate beauty tilt from Reyna ng Aliwan.
History of Aliwan Festival
Aliwan Festival comes from the word aliw, which means entertainment. It is organized by Manila Broadcasting Company, Cultural Center of the Philippines, City Government of Manila, and City Government of Pasay.
The very first festival was held in 2003. It was created by Manila Broadcasting Chairman Fred J. Elizalde to allow the staging of festivals in the country in the national capital and engage audiences of the company’s various media holdings.
Over the years, it has become a gathering of the best and most popular festivals in the Philippine archipelago. Participating contingents are given the opportunity to proudly showcase the festivals from their locality, bolster their image in the national stage, become ambassadors of their respective province, city, or town, and grab prizes for their winning performances and entries.
Delegates go through rounds of elimination starting from the local festivals from which they are selected or have won. Each contingent is made of a hundred dance performers, and dozens of staff, props people, and artists of various musical instruments.
Rehearsals leading to Aliwan Festivals can be rigorous in the hope of increasing their chances in grabbing the most coveted prizes. Local governments are also involved to make sure their delegates are in top form for the ultimate events in Metro Manila.
In 2020, 2021, and 2022, the live activities of the yearly festival were cancelled because of COVID-19. Meanwhile, Aliwan Fiesta Digital Queen was launched beginning in 2020.
Aliwan Festival Schedule of Activities
Events in Aliwan Festivals are colorful, vibrant, and exciting. They gave inhabitants in the nation’s capital the chance to watch cultural festivals from other places without the need to travel long distances. Activities include bazaar, concert and variety shows, live recording of radio programs, photography, and fireworks display.
Here are some of the highlights.
Aliwan Fiesta Digital Queen
Aliwan Fiesta Digital Queen is a competition in search for the best virtual festival queen. It is a category independent of the Reyna ng Aliwan as contestants need not travel to Metro Manila to participate. They can submit application and their entries to different events completely online.
A few of the areas of competition include pride of place (where they present the richness of the culture of their hometown), talents and skills, advocacy of a chosen social cause and charity, and evening gown.
Festival Dance Showdown
Festival Dance showdown is the venue where contingents perform their ritual-dance routine representing their local festivals. They are judged according to a set of pre-determined criteria. Winners are declared before the end of the Aliwan Festival.
Float parade is a street presentation during the Grand Parade of colorful, proud, and decorated moving floats of the participating contingents. It is also a competition and the winner is judged and given prizes before the end of the festival.
Reyna ng Aliwan
Reyna ng Aliwan (meaning Queen of Aliwan) is the search for the best female lead dancer. She is also referred to as the festival queen. Candidates are representatives of provinces, cities or towns. They embody and promote the best of the festival that they represent.
Where to go
Activities occur in major streets in Metro Manila particularly along the route of the grand parade from Quirino Grandstand to Star City in complex of Cultural Center of the Philippines.
How to reach Metro Manila
Metro Manila, particularly Pasay City, can be reached via air, land, and sea. One can book a flight to land in Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport or Clark International Airport. Buses are also available for land-based transport.
Lastly, one can buy a ticket from different parts of the country in ferries and ships that embark in the North Harbor, South Harbor, and the Manila International Container Terminal.
- The best of festivals at Aliwan Fiesta 2018. The Manila Times through PressReader. April 15, 2018. Retrieved August 4, 2022
- Aliwan Fiesta: Home of Festival Queens. The Manila Times through PressReader. April 15, 2018. Retrieved August 4, 2022
- Aliwan Fiesta ’07: The mother of all RP festivals. Manila Bulletin through Web Archive. March 25, 2007. Retrieved August 4, 2022
- Aliwan Fiesta: Festival of champions. Malaya Entertainment through Web Archive. September 23, 2008. Retrieved August 4, 2022
- Fiesta! Manila Broadcasting Company. June 16, 2018. Retrieved August 4, 2022
- More Fun at Aliwan Fiesta 2013. Official Gazette. April 10, 2013. Retrieved August 4, 2022
- 11th Aliwan Fiesta to crown streetdance champs. ABS-CBN News. April 13, 2013. Retrieved August 4, 2022
- Cordero, Ian Paul. Guimaras’ Manggahan 3rd in 2019 Aliwan competition. Panay News. April 29, 2019. Retrieved August 4, 2022
- Adina, Armin P. Aliwan Fiesta Digital Queen to mount biggest edition this 2022. Philippine Daily Inquirer. July 10, 2022. Retrieved September 12, 2022