Viva Sr. San Miguel is an annual event in September in honor of its patron saint, St. Michael the Archangel. The Sinulog, a ritualistic street-dance drama (also called eskrima) is its main highlights. It depicts the heavenly battle between Lucifer and San Miguel. This festival of Iligan City showcases religious heritage and cultural heritage of Lumad, Muslim and Hispanic Cultures. It also features beauty pageant, civic and military parade,sports contests, street dance and solemn procession.
Every year on September 29, Iligan’s colorful tradition of venerating Saint Michael on his feast day is lovingly and fervently relived in so many ways that have become so deeply rooted into the Iliganon psyche. Through the San Miguel Comedia, the mass singing of “ Ang Buotan nga Iliganon,” fiesta fare from the elaborate and extravagant lechon, to the down-to-earth torta and ibos, the siren call is irresistible. It beckons all to come home and join the chorus of “Viva Señor San Miguel!”
The celebration of the Feast of St. Michael officially or liturgically starts on September 20 with Holy Mass at the St.Michael Cathedral and the “Pagpakanaug” or the ritual transfer of the image of St. Michael from its niche in the main altar towards a pedestal on the side altar. Thousands of devotees flock to the cathedral to witness the ceremonies and for a chance to don the helmet of St. Michael, believed to impart powers of the warrior-archangel to the wearer. The “pagpakanaug” signals the start of the 9-day novena for the patron saint.
Adding more life and catering to a wider segment of the local populace are the various sports competitions and exhibitions, ‘mugna” trade fairs, coastal clean-up drives, concerts and street parties.
“Viva Señor San Miguel! Viva!” This is the impassioned and joyous salute, the homage of the people of Iligan to its beloved patron saint — defender, protector and faithful warrior of God.
DIYANDI is a ritual performed by an all-female group outside the Cathedral during the Pagpakanaug, before every novena and before the start of the Komedya, or Comedia de San Miguel, a folk stage play depicting the celestial battle. The ritual depicts the courtship between a Maranao male and Higaonon female, and culminating into an offering symbolic of their union and bountiful harvest to St. Michael the Archangel. The ritual aptly describes the peaceful co-existence of Iligan’s tri-people – Maranaos, Higaonons and Christians.