ZAMBALES | Dinamulag Festival ~ Celebrating Zambales’ Mango Festival

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Dinamulag Festival Zambales

The glittering yellows worn by the dancers shimmered, reflecting the hot afternoon sun. Drumbeats rumbled across the asphalt road fronting the natively dressed capitol building as Zambaleños cheer the festival queen holding a basketful of ripe golden mangoes. Her contingent, intricately dressed in gold and greens, gyrated and jumped as they parted the crowd—the queen twirling, her unwavering smile beholden to her audience.

Dinamulag Festival Zambales
GETTING READY FOR THIS YEAR’S DINAMULAG FESTIVAL IN ZAMBALES

Zambales is a province I've visited countless of times, but witnessing the Zambales Dinamulag Festival was a first for me. And what a first it was.

Dinamulag Festival Zambales
DINAMULAG FESTIVAL CELEBRATES THE BOUNTIFUL HARVEST OF MANGOES IN ZAMBALES

Dinamulag Festival celebrates one of Zambales' claim to fame, mangoes, during the month of March or April. Every summer, the province is flooded by ripe golden mangoes, the most famous of which is the Dinamulag variety of carabao mangoes—in fact the term damulag directly translates to the word carabao.

 

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Dinamulag Festival Zambales
THE COSTUMES ARE DERIVED FROM DINAMULAG, A CERTAIN TYPE OF CARABAO MANGO

Their mangoes have been hailed as one of the sweetest by none other than the Guinness World Records. A few might raise objections over this, especially since the mangoes from Guimaras also has a stake on having the best mangoes in the Philippines, but hey, take it up with the Guinness guys.

Dinamulag Festival Zambales
THE ZAMBALES MANGO FESTIVAL STARTED IN 1999

The Dinamulag Festival, also called the Zambales Mango Festival, has been around since 1999, celebrating its 20th year this time. It encompasses the whole province of Zambales, its thirteen municipalities joining the yearly festivities.

Dinamulag Festival Zambales
THE DINAMULAG STREET DANCE COMPETITION IS DUBBED AS THE ZAMBAYLE

The month-long celebration is usually held at the provincial capital of Iba and includes talent searches, zumba sessions, beauty pageants, float parades, flairtending battles, sandcastle making, trade fairs, pet shows, cycling competitions, and culminating on the much-awaited street dance competition which they dub as the Zambayle.

Dinamulag Festival Zambales
FRENETIC STREET DANCING IN FRONT OF THE ZAMBALES CAPITOL BUILDING

The street dance itself is not to be taken lightly. I was actually surprised at how good the contingents were. From their costumes, to their musicality, the story-driven performances, and of course, the dancing—which was nothing short of astounding. The choreography was energetic, well-thought off, and extremely infectious.

Dinamulag Festival Zambales
YELLOWS AND GREENS DOMINATE THE COLORS OF THE DINAMULAG FESTIVAL

I especially applaud the authenticity of their chosen garbs. While not a few festivals resort to outlandish costumes bordering on alien-like appearances for the sake of upping the ante, the Dinamulag street dance competitors steer clear of that cliché, drawing their inspirations instead on the festival's root, the mango harvest. A few contingents even go further, diving deeper into the original Zambaleño dwellers, the Aetas—taking in their signature curly hair and beautifully bronze skin tones.

Dinamulag Festival Zambales
EACH CONTINGENT REPRESENTS A MUNICIPALITY IN ZAMBALES

The dancing started in the middle of the afternoon at the provincial capitol grounds, each contingent representing their municipalities. A mini performance was held on the plaza before they paraded and sashayed along the highway leading to the Zambales Sports Complex.

Dinamulag Festival Zambales
IBA’S AETA-INSPIRED GARB

They then jigged and gyrated in front of the stadium for the judges and multitudes along the bleachers before lining up for the final performance.

Dinamulag Festival Zambales
THE PERFORMANCES LAST FROM MID AFTERNOON TO THE EARLY EVENINGS

There were seven municipalities competing for this year's Zambayle and the clear favorite was Masinloc—and with good reasons—they have won ten straight times before being asked to sit back and do an honorary performance during last year's festival. Now, they're back on the score board.

Dinamulag Festival Zambales
THE FINAL PERFORMANCE IS SET ON THE ZAMBALES SPORTS COMPLEX

The final dances were much longer and more intricate than the first two. Props were utilized—from simple mango trees, to gargantuan ships, and gigantic birds. It was quite the spectacle! Something we totally didn't expect from a relatively small festival.

Dinamulag Festival Zambales
THE MASINLOC STREET DANCERS

Masinloc definitely isn't resting on its laurels, but there are other groups who also did real well. Two of these are Iba’s Ibaele Street Dancers with their Aeta-inspired costumes, and San Felipe’s Panagkakadua-an Street Dancers whose choreograph and synchronicity were simply jaw-dropping.

Dinamulag Festival Zambales
DRESSED UP CAPITOL BUILDING FOR THE DINAMULAG FESTIVAL

The crowd roared in approval after each performances. The judges jotted down scores, and everyone waited in anticipation for the result.

Dinamulag Festival Zambales
THE SAN FELIPE PANAGKAKADUA-AN STREET DANCERS WON THIS YEAR’S ZAMBAYLE

San Felipe won the hearts not only of the crowd but of the judges as well. The long-time champions, Masinloc, came in second, and Iba on third place. A well-fought danceathon along the streets of Iba which won new converts to Zambales' Dinamulag Festival—mine included. Everybody's definitely a winner!

 

 

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