Cabatauan town’s entry in the Kasadyahan, the Saturday edition of the Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo City in Central Philippines was impressive for one which joined the competition for the first time.
The town features the “tinuum”, a dish of Visayan chicken, actually, a broth of ranged or native chicken locked in a pouch of multi-layered banana leaves, flavored by lemon grass, tomato, pepper, onions, garlic and ginger, and steamed preferably inside earthen pot.
One observation though is that the presentation, done on January 22, 2011, carries a historical hang-up; the creator of the cultural and perhaps, most of its performers, are still much the “indio” of the Spanish period who looks down and with disdain on its very soul and adulates what its colonizer and oppressor imposes.
In one segment of the show, a disease strikes at a community, many fall ill and some die. The indio prays to its native diety and seeks the help of healers who hold rituals but failed to heal. Next, the indio prays to its patron saint, a White, Male, Christian Saint, and the ceremony works: everybody in the village is healed.
The White supremacist, Male and Christian super-ego still lingers in the collective subconscious, despite the end of Spanish colonialism in 1898, of majority of the indios (pardon the term, the right one should be Filipinos).
The colonized native is helpless without its supremacist colonizer. And this anti-historical, colonial theme keeps on recurring in the Dinagyang Festival, which, in the main reaffirms the colonial and chauvinist dogma propagated by the competing “tribes”