Dagoy, the six feet nine inches tall three dimension mascot of Iloilo’s Dinagyang Festival.

He is no longer the black colored mascot once perceived to be the true color of an Aeta Dagoy, a friendly Aeta kid, a miniature of the Dinagyang warrior is now dark brown. City Tourism officer Benito Jimena, also the executive director of the Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation, Inc. explains that 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.

The Aetas are believed to be descendants of the original inhabitants of the Philippines that arrived through land bridges linking the country to the Asian mainland some 30,000 years ago says one theory. The migration may have happened when the Malay Peninsula was then connected with Sumatra and other Sunda islands.

This suggests that the original inhabitants are not black because the Malayans are not. Jimena likewise opines that the new innovation would create a distinct identity for the Dinagyang Festival and not be classified as a copycat of other festivals that use black warriors like the Ati-Atihan of Kalibo and Sinulog of Cebu. Henceforth Dagoy’s skin color will be dark brown. This will be the same color that Dinagyang warriors will use when they perform during the Dinagyang Festival.

Dagoy still wears a fiberglass headdress bearing the picture of Sto. Niño. He is garb with a camel-colored loincloth which is the typical attire of an Aeta. Dagoy is holding a drum made of fiberglass with the logo of the Iloilo City Government printed at the center. His hands and feet are adorned with multi-colored bracelets, similar to these being worn by a Dinagyang warrior. Dagoy was introduced four years ago. His first public appearance was on December 11, 2004 at D Fort in Taguig during the official launching f the festival in Manila. It was followed by several engagements when he officially represents the Dinagyang Festival to various functions.(Perla Lena)

*Source: dinagyangsailoilo.com