Words cannot describe the dazzling display of the Dinagyang Festival... there is just so much to look at. It's like you almost don't want to blink, in fear of missing out! From the choreography (note these kids are not professionally trained dancers/nor do they come from a dance background), to the vivacious beat of the drums, glittery makeup, embellished props, and of course the colourful costumes! This is a truly spectacular cultural event, and pretty easy to see why it has been consecutively named the best tourism event in the Philippines. So beach babes, add it to your bucket list when your island hopping next!

View from the Top - Boracay Island, one of the world's best beaches!

Before I give you some fashion inspo through the gallery, let me fill you in on what the cause for celebration is (the locals will love you even more if you appear to have some background info). It is where religion and culture collide in a dramatic and colourful fiesta (Philippines are die hard Catholics, the 3rd most devout Catholic Country in the world.. so non-believers be warned). Primarily to honour Santo Niño (baby Jesus) and celebrate the native settlers of Panay Island. It is held in Iloilo, Panay Island and some other places to check out while your on the Island is Guimaras Island (a 30 minute boat trip from Iloilo), and the famous white beaches of Boracay... before it becomes the new Thailand (about a 4-5 hour drive from Iloilo). 

Some tips:

  • Liaise with a local, or get in early to get your tickets to the Dinagyang. The performances occur over 5 stages, but the Freedom Grandstand is known for being the best. It's also where all the Filipino celebs, local politicians and international dignitaries view the parade. This year (2015) it cost P1,500 per person for a seat. 
  • Treat yourself to a pamper package at Skinetics Wellness Centre, Iloilo. It has been named one of the best spas in Asia and is what you need to unwind from all the excitement. Depending on what you go for, pamper packages will set you back around P1,500 - P4,500. My recommendation is to go all out with one of the deluxe packages. 
  • Must see the Camiña banay nga Bato house for a merienda (snacks) or book in for lunch. It is a 150 year old house, with the elite 4th generation owners opening it for public viewing a few years back. If your style is a bit quirky and eccentric you will love the mismatched interior here, which is super charming. And you must try the hot chocolate which takes the chefs an hour to prepare. That plus the biscotti, and your in heaven (It was probably the best hot chocolate I've ever had - think thick Italian hot chocs).

How cool are the mismatched draws with the huge sun-ray mirror?! (Click to see full size) At the Camiña banay nga Bato

But for now here are some truly fashionable pics to get you inspired** Pay attention to that level of detail in the beading, and the use of mixing colour and the geometric shapes (which comes across as oh-so effortless).

Camilla Kaftan lovers eat your heart out! 

** Note everything you see here, are couture techniques that LJS can incorporate to create your custom outfit for any occasion (from the fabrics, to the beading and embellishments). Enjoy lovers xx

Words: Lucia Hatten
Photos: Lucia Hatten

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