The annual festival gives light and color to Compostela Valley and puts smiles on the faces of its visitors
Montevista, Compostela Valley's Diwanag Festival officially opens on December 7, 2018, expecting to draw in more than last year's 237,000 tourists.
The skills and creativity of the Filipinos in general are more often challenged and shown during exhibits, contests and festivals, and Diwanag Festival is not an exemption to this.
Last December 1, 2018, the municipality of Montevista in Compostela Valley held its soft opening of their most-talked about Christmas festival, the Diwanag Festival.
Diwanag, a portmanteau of the words Diwa (spirit) and Masanag (bright), is really an apt name for the festival, since it radiates a bright Christmas spirit, giving happiness to anyone who feels lonely during Christmas.
Montevista held its first Diwanag festival in 1999. Since then it never ceases to give its people joy during Christmas because the municipality institutionalized the festival in December of 2005, making it a month-long celebration every December.
The ordinance also created a committee for the festival to ensure the smooth flow of all of its events, including the prizes of such event.
Each year, the festival’s committee assigns a theme so participants can easily make or design for their exhibit.
This year, the festival’s theme is “Churches in the World”, where participants, the barangays, create a replica of famous churches that are found in other countries, like France, Italy, and Korea. They build their churches with Christmas décor materials and light these up using various sizes of bulbs and Christmas lights.
One would wonder how pieces of Christmas decoration create magnificent creations such as the exhibits made by each barangay of this year’s festival.
And it was really a great sight to behold!
Churches you’ve never been to, but when you see the creation, you’ll be amazed at how the participants made their church a “real” replica of their model. You can even compare with the picture of the real church attached to the side of each entry.
Every detail of the church, save for its surroundings, was present in each entry. No wonder, Mindanawons are known for their creativity and skills.
This year’s number of participants has reached to 20, that means all 20 barangays of the municipality participated. Each barangay were given P70,000 as seed money to create their entry. And with this amount, one would wonder how they have been able to pull all their resources to create masterpieces.
The winner will receive P50,000 together with the seed money. However, those who will not make it will retain the P70,000 as their consolation prize.
Students were also given the chance to join with their best Christmas tree entry; the most beautiful and well-lighted gets the prize.
The municipality also adds up to the exhibits, putting up Christmas tunnel, a thousand lighted roses and many more.
This year’s Diwanag Festival officially opened last Friday, Dec. 7. But excitement and joy have already spread by giving bright Christmas spirit since Day 1 of December.
Influx of tourists
Last year, the tourism committee of Montevista, headed by Elsa Cantrall, tourism coordinator, revealed that there were around 237,000, up from only 20,000 in 2016, tourists who came to the municipality to witness what Diwanag is all about.
With this, Mayor Eutropio Jayectin of Montevista said, “”Nagpasalamat gyud ko sa social media kay tungod nila napakaylap sa kadaghanan ang atong Diwanag Festival (I am thankful to the social media for spreading about Diwanag Festival).” He attributed the success of last year’s festival to the social media.
However, with the influx of tourists coming to Montevista, will the municipality be able to cater to its tourists in terms of accommodation?
“Our municipality is a third class municipality, but we have neighboring towns in the provinces that can help us address this issue,” Jayectin said, adding that, “but we are still exerting more effort to accommodate them (visitors), and we will not rest in our effort to accommodate more.”
Diwanag Festival is conveniently located at the Montevista Municipal Hall’s grounds where it can accommodate more than 20,000 people at a time.
Starting December 1, 2018, entrance to the festival is free up to December 7. However, you need not fret, as on December 8 up to 26, its entrance fee is only P10.
So ready your car, or your shoes, and experience a bright Christmas spirit at Diwanag Festival of Montevista.