Last April 28, 2017, I went to Dagupan City to witness the annually celebrated Festival of the North. Ever since the city started this festival, I took it upon myself to go out and get sweaty to take a few pictures. I think the festival started 9 years ago (I’m not exactly sure if I remember correctly), and I have chronicled most of the street dances since then. I had to go out around 1 o’clock so I could survey the streets and find a good spot where I could watch the street dance competition for the Festival of the North in Dagupan City.
My sisters and mom rarely watch the street dance competition with me, because it’s super hot and there are tons of sweaty people walking around and laughing loudly. I guess I have always been a fan of such things, so it never really bothered me.
Knowing that all route going to the main road of Dagupan will be closed at 12 noon, I left our house in Calasiao before 12. It took me about 15 minutes to reach the gasoline station near the Victory Liner Terminal where I got off. From there I tried looking for a good spot where I can take pictures.
SPOTTED: Manang in blue (older lady in blue) looked impatient as we all waited for the street dancers to grace the streets of Perez Blvd.
At first, I decided to walk towards the University of Luzon, where the first stage of jurors was located. I figured that I should stay here to see the highlight performances of the dancers. It was around 1:30 in the afternoon when I reached UL.
At around 2:30, a member of the Bureau of Fire and Protection Dagupan started pouring water on the streets. They always do this before every street dance competition starts. I think this routine is supposed to lower the temperature of the pavement.
At 3 pm, my dad texted me and said that he would meet me to watch the street dance too. I really wanted to stay at UL, but knowing that my dad was all tired from his classes, I didn’t want him to walk all the way back to the other side of the city, just to watch the dance with me. I decided to find another place nearer my dad’s university. We stayed in front of the bus terminals going to Manila.
In the previous years, the city government officials led the parade. This time, members of PNP-Dagupan were spotted instead. They were shortly followed by the University of Luzon Drum and Lyre Club.
Then there’s Miss Dagupan 2017, Crista Pulo. She was smiling and waving at the camera.
I also saw the Kapuso stars, Mikael Daez, Janine Gutierrez and Kris Bernal. Honestly, I don’t know the two other actors except for Janine.
At past 4 pm the street dancers arrived at our location. In total, the streets of Dagupan was graced by 10 festival dance groups:
- Dinamulag Festival (Masinloc, Zambales)
- Abel Iloko Festival (Caoayan, Ilocos Sur)
- Damili Festival (San Nicolas, Ilocos Sur)
- Pandan Festival (Mapandan, Pangasinan)
- Bangus Festival (Dagupan City, Pangasinan)
- Tinugbo Festival (Pugo, La union)
- Talong Festival (Villasis, Pangasinan)
- Halaman Festival (Guiguinto, Bulacan)
- Basi Festival (Naguilian, La union)
- Pamulinawen Festival (Laoag, Ilocos Norte)
There was a lot of colors from the 10 dance groups. My top favorites for best in costume were Talong Festival, Bangus Festival and Mapandan Festival.
It was a happy celebration. Even though their costumes were heavy and they were dancing under the scorching sun, the dancers from the different towns in Luzon did not fail to showcase the culture and tradition of their hometown.
The parade was ended by dancers and drummers from the event sponsor plus a super awkward float. I think they used this float back in the Panagbenga Festival in Baguio City last February.
I never really tried watching the exhibition at the Plaza. My dad and I were quite tired walking and running around just to catch a glimpse of the dancers whenever they performed in the streets, so went straight home.
We only got to watch the exhibition via What’s Up Dagupan’s FB live coverage. Kudos to this FB page. Thanks to their video, I didn’t feel so left out. I love their superb coverage. It was blurry at some parts of the show, but I guess that’s because of the signal fluctuation.
Best in Costume, Best in Props, Best in Street Dancing
PandanFestival, Mapandan Pangasinan
Pamulinawen Festival, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte
Halamanan Festival, Guiguinto Bulacan
Talong Festival, Villasis Pangasinan
Mango Festival, Masinloc Zambales
Basi Festival, Naguillan La Union
Tinungbo Festival, Pogo La Union
Bangus Festival, Dagupan City
Pandan Festival, Mapandan Pangasinan
To be frank, I was a bit sad because unlike the early years, the dancers didn’t dance a lot, especially in areas where there weren’t any dance stops (the stages where dancers were judged for their performance). I have always loved tapping my feet and feeling all festive vibe whenever there’s a celebration like this, so it was such a huge downer for me that there weren’t a lot of action.
Maybe for next year’s Festival of the North in Dagupan city, I would try to squeeze myself in the flock of people near the dance stops. Also, I would like to comment on the huge distance between each dance groups. The event organizers could do so much better. I would have preferred a continuous flow of performances.