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A Different Canvas In Dinagsa Festival

PHILIPPINES | Thursday, 4 April 2013 | Views [432] | Comments [2]

The heat above my head has seeped into the center of my skull. And, I was like a child hiding behind my shoulder-tall friend as we were walking on the crowded street of Cadiz City in Negros Occidental, Philippines. Not because of the heat – no. I was trying to evade all the kaleidoscopic hands that threaten to paint me rainbow on a hot, humid mid-morning  I kept myself unnoticed, made sure I was surrounded by my friends when out of nowhere in a what seemed to be inevitable circumstance, I saw a charcoal-blacked hand heading my way and it felt cold, clammy, sticky and the smell of sour milk and desperation rolled into one instantly landed on my face. Spot on - a black ink has been spilled on my face. After avoiding all those vibrant-colored hands, a murky, sooty - colored thingy managed to get through my defenses and slapped me right on my face.


Cadiz City celebrates their Dinagsa festival every last week of January. And on the last Sunday of the month, people go out in the street not only to watch the colorful costumes of the street dancing participants or hear the beat of the drums fill the humid air, but also to paint the town  red, pink, white, blue or a medley of these shades or more. Yes, I mean literally.


In almost every corner of the street, small tables crowded with small cups filled with different hue of paint can be seen. Most people’s body covering have been coated with bursting tint. The locals looked walking pastiche.


It was a tradition I have not yet experienced until that day. I tried to ward off every hand that tried to creep into my face through my resistant, blocking hands. There were too many attempts that every blockade I made left more colorful pigment on my brown skin. First, the front part and now, my hair. My hair turned white, red but more of blue; I felt so helpless. I combed my hair with my bare hands but the smoothness was bathed with dried colorant. I am starting to regret going to this place.


“Resisting and avoiding are not very good tactics at this kind of fight. The strategy is - retaliate!” my friend of seven years said. This is his hometown. I think there’s no better idea than his so I took a deep breath and whispered to myself, “Let the retaliation begins!”


I immediately went to the corner and bought three cups of yellow, blue and green - my favorites. They would look nice on somebody's face. I bathed my right hands with yellow and fight with all my might. I do not know how human emotion can be so fleeting as this. Just a while ago, I felt almost crying, pissed off with those annoying multicolored, intrusive hands. But, in the middle of painting on a different kind of canvas – not the white paper but  on the hair, on the skin, and my preference - on the face - I cannot help smiling. I can bathe them with paint and nobody would mind. At that moment, I know doing this every year would never fail to bring cheer.

Tags: festival, negros occidental, philippines



Wow, do you have any pictures of this festival?

  Grace Emalula Apr 18, 2013 11:44 PM


i actually posted 2 pictures... hahaha... me and my friends... i was having a lot of fun i almost forgot to take pictures. :)

  lastleaf Apr 19, 2013 1:53 AM

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