The Opening: IWAG Festival 2022
Christmas is the most colorful and busiest month of the year for most of us. In this season, some places are filled with shining glow and anything that symbolizes Christmas. Gift-giving is everywhere, putting smiles on the receiver and the giver as well. There are lots of events, parties, and even festivals related to the season. No doubt it’s the most wonderful time of the year.
And to me, I couldn’t deny that I am one of those people who are looking forward to December. Not because I am expecting presents, but because here in my locality, we could feel more of the ambiance of Christmas with our lone festival being held here.
My hometown celebrates the IWAG festival or The festival of lights celebrated annually starting the 16th of December until the second week of January. And our little hometown is also known as the Christmas Capital of Western Visayas because of its glamorous lights and decorations during the Christmas season.
In my two years of writing here, I already published an article regarding what and how this festival is celebrated. You can check out the link to my old article about this here.
Yet today, what I will be sharing with you was our “own” experience with this festival.
Iwag is an Ilonggo term for light, it is called Iwag Festival because our little town is filled with lights during this event. Our plaza is decorated with different dancing lights and huge decorations.
Last December 16, Friday, my husband and I with our two boys walked our way to the plaza to witness the opening of the Iwag Festival. We left our home at 6:45 in the evening and since it was expected to be crowded, all the roads in the town were closed, and the people were left with no choice but to walk.
Besides, you cannot feel the festival if you cannot walk your way to the plaza.
While walking, there were lots of sound systems installed on the side of the road, and Christmas remix songs were played so the people will enjoy their walk.
As we arrived at the plaza, we found ourselves in the sea of crowds and we find our place to spot the fireworks display.
By the way, the whole vicinity was dark during the event, the only light we could glimpse was the lights coming from the program in front of the municipal hall, and people who will witness the said festival will have to wait until 8 pm to see the lights turned on along with the fireworks display.
As you can see in the photo above, the whole area was crowded with people and the whole place was dark because the lights aren’t turned on yet. The giant Christmas tree was not turned on yet too.
At exactly 8 pm, the area was lightened and the fireworks started to flash in our sight.
People were amazed during the fireworks display, and while watching, I saw my sons’ reaction while their eyes were enjoying the flashing of different lustrous colors of fireworks in front of them. They were so amazed and seemed nothing could distract them from watching.
Here are some of my shots of the fireworks display.
After the 8-minute fireworks display, the crowd started to move. We transferred to the lower area where there was little space to avoid the flow of the crowd.
Nonetheless, people were a little nice during the night unlike what we experienced years ago during the same festival where the people were very clumsy in pushing others forward despite the full crowd.
Also, I saw a police mobile patrolling to see the situation and the safety of the people during the event. There were also ambulance and medical respondents, including the firemen, and the mountain tigers’ rescuers in the vicinity in case of any emergencies.
As much as we wanted to stroll, too much crowd stopped us from doing so. Look how crowded it was, I couldn’t capture the view so well because of the crowd.
After that, we just decided to go home because the kids couldn’t enjoy too little space.
We walked back going home and while on our way home, we passed by these teenagers dancing to the music, enjoying every beat of the sound.
We also stopped by this small food stall, we bought bottled water, soda, and something to eat for the kids. However, the kids were looking for something else, and it was ice cream.
While walking again, we saw this mini store selling ice creams so we bought them the cornetto of their choice.
Despite the short stroll, the kids somehow enjoyed witnessing the opening of lights in the town. And of course, we will go back again one of these days, so I could make a virtual tour article regarding what you could glimpse in the plaza that makes our town lively again.
That’s it for now, it’s just a quick story of our experience of the Iwag Festival again. By the way, this festival just opened this year once again. Since our country or the world was hit by the pandemic for the past years, this festival was postponed consecutively for almost two years, if I remember correctly.
It’s so nice to witness and see the success of this festival once again. And so far, this year was the best flow of crowd and traffic execution too.
By the next time, I will write about this article again, I will for sure share more photos and make a virtual tour for all of you. For now, I cannot stroll around yet due to the sudden bad weather presently. Hopefully, before or after Christmas day, we could head back and enjoy all the views there.
Hope you enjoyed this quick article of mine for today, thank you for the kind support as always! Cheers and Happy Holidays!
Written by: @eommaZel
Ps: All photos attached are mine. 📸✨