Municipality of Sta. Barbara, Iloilo and The Cry of Sta. Barbara Celebration


Hangout in Sta, Barbara, Iloilo

The Cry of Sta. Barbara and The Kahilwayan Festival

The Cry of Santa Barbara fueled the revolution in Visayas and Mindanao. Philippine history would have not been complete without the Ilonggos’ display of bravery and heroism in defiance against Spanish oppressors. So important was the role of this uprising in Philippine history that Santa Barbara was the only municipality outside Luzon that was declared as a National Trunk Site on the Centennial Freedom Trail during the Philippine Centennial Celebration in 1998.


On 2001, the Municipal Tourism Council proposed an innovation in the telling of “Cry”history. Thus, Kahilwayan Festival was launched. Kahilwayan is an Ilonggo term which means freedom or liberty , or independence and Kahilwayan Festival is a cultural festival in a dance-drama form which showcased the events that led to the historic uprising of the Ilonggos against Spain leading to its ultimate victory and freedom now known as the Cry of Santa Barbara. Students from different contesting groups paraded in colorful period costumes and revel in street dancing to the tune of Marcha Libertador ( composed by Posidio Delgado, brother of Gen. Martin T. Delgado, is was the official march of the Ejercito Libertador). The highlight is the dance-drama presentation depicting the events that led to the first “Cry of Santa Barbara”.

Kahilwayan Festival resolves in a single storyline the “Cry of Santa Barbara”. It requires the contesting groups to dress-up in period costumes only. It is not only about dancing or drama but a celebration of life itself, it is about bringing back history and reintroduce them to the younger generation in manner that they can understand, they can relate, they can appreciate and enjoy. It is about looking back and giving honor to the people who fought and die for freedom that we are enjoying today.

(Kahilwayan Festival by Elmer S. Fanco, March 2008,


TRIBU KAHILWAYAN is a fledgling tribe composed of students from Santa Barbara National High School and Cadagmayan National High School. The tribe itself springs from the groups that competed in the kahilwayan Festival of the Cry of Santa Barbara Celebration, the debut presentation of which was last November 17, 2001. It is sponsored by the Municipality of Santa Barbara with the support and cooperation of the local business community and residents.

     Anchored upon the Cry of Santa Barbara Celebration, the storyline of the presentation revolves on the events that led to the historic uprising of the Santa Barbaranhons against the oppressive Spanish regime to its ultimate cry of victory and freedom. It is a re-enactment of the struggle for freedomby our very own local folks led by the heroic General Martin T. Delgado. The beat of ” Marcha Libertador ” was the background music and the centrepiece of the entire show was the raising of the flag that symbolizes freedom. The circumstances that led to the first flag raising and cry of triumph in the Visayas region was captured in the dance-drama interpretation of the Tribu Kahilwayan.
    Dubbed as ” The Cry of Triumph, the Cry of Kahilwayan “, the Kasadyahan event was the first attempt and participation of the Municipality of Santa Barbara to join in the same through Tribu Kahilwayan, and its first venture has gained the Championship Trophy and three other special awards which include Best in Performance, Best in Choreography and Best in Music.
Hangout in Iloilo and join us in the celebration of Ilonggos and Sta. Barbaranons’ pride: The Cry of Kahilwayan Celebration!

The Tribu Kahilwayan of Sta. Barbara topped The Dinayang Festival competition for 3 consecutive years (2002-2004) and was delared a “Grand Slam Winner”, the highest award given in the said competition. They also earned the 2nd place award in the Aliwan Feista, held in Manila.