The Iwag Festival of Lights in Pototan is a spectacle that transcends mere visual delight; it is a profound expression of the town’s vibrant spirit and deep-rooted traditions, particularly during the Christmas season. Beginning as a humble event in 1997, the festival has flourished into a grandiose annual celebration, transforming Pototan into a beacon of joy and light each December. This year, the festival, marking its 25th anniversary, will commence on Friday, December 16, 2023 at 6 p.m., promising a grander display than ever before. It’s a time when the streets, from the town’s edges to its bustling center, are adorned with an array of glittering lights, creating a tapestry of luminescence that attracts visitors not just from nearby Iloilo City, but from far and wide.
This festival is more than an occasion; it’s a reflection of Pototan’s identity and its people’s dedication to fostering a sense of unity and celebration. As the town lights up, so do the faces of its residents and visitors, all gathered to partake in this extraordinary display of community and cheer. The Iwag Festival of Lights has become a symbol of Pototan’s commitment to preserving and showcasing its cultural heritage, while also embracing the joy and warmth that the Yuletide season brings. It stands as a glowing reminder of the beauty that can be created when a community comes together to celebrate its history, its present, and its hopes for the future.
For a glimpse into the spectacular beauty of last year’s Iwag Festival of Lights, we invite you to watch this video Captured and shared by Drone Pilot, this footage offers a vivid portrayal of the festival’s dazzling light displays and the vibrant atmosphere of Pototan during this cherished annual event. Christmas spirit.
The Transformation of Pototan: From Rice Granary to Christmas Capital
Pototan, traditionally known as Iloilo’s rice granary, undergoes a magical transformation during the Christmas season. The town earns its title as the “Christmas Capital of the Visayas” due to the Iwag Festival, a term derived from the Kinaray-a verb meaning “to light.” This linguistic root reflects the core essence of the festival – illumination in its most heartfelt form.
A Celebration for All Ages
The Iwag Festival is a family-centric event where the joy and wonder in the eyes of children are as bright as the lights adorning the town. The city court, the focal point of the festival, turns into a luminous wonderland, creating an enchanting experience that appeals to both the young and the young at heart. Each year, the festival seems to outshine the previous one, with newer, more creative light displays.
Community and Creativity at the Heart of Iwag
The festival is a collective effort of the town’s residents, especially a group of skilled lighting designers who come together each year to brainstorm and create new lighting designs. Their creativity and innovation ensure that each year’s festival is unique and memorable. The Iwag team, comprising dedicated Pototanons, works in tandem with local government and community members, reflecting a strong sense of service and cooperation.
Beyond the Lights: A Deeper Meaning
More than just a spectacle of lights, the Iwag Festival is an embodiment of the town’s values and commitment to community welfare. It focuses on the true meaning of Christmas – celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, the “True Light that Enlightens the World.” This spiritual dimension adds depth to the festival, making it a profound cultural and religious celebration.
Boosting Socio-Cultural and Economic Development
The Iwag Festival also plays a pivotal role in enhancing the socio-cultural and economic fabric of Pototan. It attracts tourists not only from the Visayas but also from other parts of the Philippines and even overseas, contributing to the local economy. The influx of visitors during the festival season provides a significant boost to local businesses, including handicrafts, food, and hospitality services.
A Testament to Filipino Festive Spirit
The Iwag Festival of Lights stands as a testament to the Filipino spirit of joy, unity, and resilience. It’s a time when the whole town comes together in a festive spirit, showcasing their hospitality and merry-making. This festival not only lights up Pototan but also symbolizes the warmth and brightness of the Filipino Christmas celebration, making it a must-visit destination for anyone seeking to experience the true essence of Christmas in the Philippines.