Festivals

Meet “Dagoy" the Dinagyang Warrior

Iloilo

Belle Piccio
Belle Piccio | Jan 17, 2014
Who is Dagoy?

Dagoy is the friendly Aeta kid-mascot of Iloilo’s Dinagyang Festival who stands 6’9”. Yes, you read that right.

He's a mascot who has since evolved from being a mere icon. He's a product of the imagination and desire of the people who are working vigorously to make the Dinagyang Festival a part of everyone's day-to-day life.

Dagoy1 The Dagoy mascot was black back then; photo from pia.gov.ph

He was once a black mascot, which was then perceived to be the right skin color of the Aeta. Dagoy's newer version is dark-brown.

Dagoy2 The Dinagyang mascot “Dagoy” charms both the kid and adult spectators; photo from pia.gov.ph

“Dark brown is the authentic color of Aetas. By adopting the actual color, the foundation at the same time corrects the notion that natives are black,” explains Benito Jimena, the city tourism officer and executive director of the Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation, Inc.

Dagoy3

You will see and catch Dagoy whenever he officially represents the Dinagyang Festival in various functions.

But Dagoy isn't just the cute and lovable icon of the Dinagyang Festival. Accompanying him are miniature Dinagyang warriors, the “Dagoy dolls.” The IDFI commissioned the Sampaguita Gardens, the maker of well-known Precious Moments dolls based in New Washington, Aklan, to manufacture 2,000 Dagoy dolls. The doll stands nine inches tall and comes in different designs, such as a Dagoy holding a spear, or a Dagoy clothed in native Ilonggo garments.

"Wherever Dagoy goes, people will be reminded of the Dinagyang Festival," says Jimena. "Once Dagoy shakes your hand, it simply means that you are welcome in lloilo."

Dagoy4

Dagoy Facts and Trivia
  • In 2002, the first time the festival was handled by lloilo Dinagyang Foundation Inc. (IDFI), the mascot was patterned from the caricature used by the marketing group headed by Francis de la Cruz as promotional material.

  • Manila artist Chris Bayani made the sketch of the icon, getting inspiration from his adopted daughter. This was later made the official logo of the festival. Dagoy’s face was seen on posters, shirts, and streamers everywhere. Years later, the foundation tapped the expertise of the San Pablo Sineng Laya Corporation based in Las Piñas, Manila to prepare a life-sized mascot of Dagoy.

  • December 11, 2004 was Dagoy’s first public appearance at the festival's official launching at The Fort, Taguig City, Metro Manila.

  • December 18, 2004 was when Dagoy made his presence felt in Iloilo City during the Pamukaw.

  • January 10, 2005, Dagoy attended the opening of the Dinagyang exhibits at SM City. Jimena stressed that aside from the Dinagyang-related activities, Dagoy is also expected to attend the city's various special occasions to raise public awareness of the annual festival.

  • Dagoy wears a fiberglass headdress bearing the picture of the Sto. Niño. He also wears a "bahag," the typical attire of Aetas. He holds a drum made of fiberglass with the logo of the lloilo City Government printed at the center. His hands and feet are adorned with multi-colored bracelets, similar to the one being worn by an Ati-ati warrior.

  • Dagoy is expected to undergo an outfit change every year. Jimena said that they are going to copy the costume of the tribe that will be declared as best in costume in every Dinagyang contest.

(References: dinagyangsailoilo.com |pia.gov.ph | skyscrapercity.com)

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