Daily Life :: Festivals & Celebrations
| There is always a fiesta (festival) going on somewhere in the Philippines as every city and barrio holds at least one each year. The fiesta is usually to honor the local Roman Catholic patron saint and pay homage to the barrio's namesake for good harvest and health. It is a mixture of both pagan and Catholic beliefs. These fiestas are marked by feasting and celebration of holy mass, music, dance and song.|
Sinulog Festival is one of the grandest and most colourful festivals in the Philippines. The festival and its religious origin, the Feast of the Santo Ni�o is held at Cebu City every January. It is held in honour of Santo Nino (the child Jesus). Devotees come in droves from all over the Philippines and world with the hope that their prayers, petitions and wishes would be granted. There is a solemn religious procession on the eve of the feast.
The next day, people filled the streets to watch a parade of floats, puppeteers with their giant papier-m�ch� puppets, and dancers in brightly-coloured costumes. The pervading music of the parade is the drum-beat of a dance-prayer ritual, characterized by two-steps-forward-and-one-step-backward shuffle and synchronized to the beat of drums and shouts.
The parade culminates at the Cebu City Sports Complex where there is a dance contest featuring contingents from various parts of the country.
Devotional crucifixions are common in the Philippines during the Holy Week. Some Filipinos reennact the crucifixion of Jesus ... self-flagellation (whipping oneself), being tied to a cross, even driving nails through their palms!
In San Pedro Cutud, a carpenter named Rolando del Campo vowed to be crucified every Good Friday for 15 years if God would carry his wife through a difficult childbirth.
Christmas is one of the most widely celebrated holidays in the Philippines. Filipinos take pride in having the longest Christmas celebration in the world ... as soon as the month ending with "ber" rolls around, preparations for Christmas begins. September signals the start of the Christmas season and you begin to hear Christmas carols everywhere and Christmas lanterns of all shapes and sizes light up the streets of Metro Manila. Filipinos buy star-shaped lanterns called "parol" (pronounced pah-role) to hang outside their homes. The "parol" represents the Star of Bethlehem that led the three Wise Men to the infant Jesus more than two thousand years ago.
Christmas begins formally on December 16 with attendance at the first of nine early morning masses called "Simbang Gabi" (night worship). Christmas parties are held everywhere - in schools and offices one after the other. Christmas plays or "cantatas" are often presented in churches. A week before Christmas, carolers -- mostly children -- go from house to house, singing Christmas songs.
Many of those living away from their families come back home before Christmas to spend the occasion with their loved ones. On Christmas Eve, families gather to eat a midnight feast called "Noche Buena", hand out gifts, and have fun all night long into the next day. On Christmas Day, families and children visit their uncles, aunts, godmothers and godfathers. Food and drinks are offered at each stop.
The fiesta is part and bundle of Filipino culture. Through good times and bad times, the fiesta must go on. Each city and barrio has at least one local festival of its own, usually on the feast of its patron saint, so that there is always a fiesta going on somewhere in the country. But the major and most elaborate festival of all is Christmas, a season celebrated with all the display and show the fun-loving Filipino can handle.
January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December
March 3 - 7
Expect the Bukidnon to go tribal from the first to the second week of March, when the streets of Malaybalay take on that familiar fiesta theme. Banners, banderitas, and beer will be standard, as well as the sweet, haunting sound of native music. An early morning pamuhat ritual kicks off the festivities, to be followed by an ethnic food fest, trade fairs, and a lot of native dancing.
2. ARYA ABRA
Celebrates the founding of Abra Province with a variety of events, including raft and horse races.
Highlighted every 16 March by re-enactment of the Blood Compact between Spain's Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Datu Sik|tuna, which helped forge friendly relations between the two countries.
4. ARAW NG DABAW
The celebration of Davao's Foundation Day as a chartered city.
5. PINTADOS DE PASI
Depicts the history of the Passi City and how it got its name.
6. HOMONHON LANDING
A pageant by the seashore re-enacting the discovery of the Philippines by Ferdinand Magellan.
7. MT. MANUNGGAL
A Mountain trek, which Darks the anniversary of the tragic death of President Ramon Magsaysay, whose plane crashed on the mountain.
Sagas, Negros Occidental
Named after the native seashell (sigay). Shell craft art is featured during the festival.
9. FIRST MASS IN THE PHILIPPINES
Limasawa Island, Southern Leyte
Features a street pageant by the different municipalities.
The island of Marinduque prides itself in being the "Lenten Capital of the Philippines", and it is easy to understand why. Come the seven days of Holy Week, the people of the island take part in the age-old ritual of the "Moriones". Colorful warrior costumes are worn topped with finely carved masks portraying the violent Roman soldiers of Christ's time. All these are done to show the story of the conversion of Longuinus, the centurion who stabbed Jesus' side - and his subsequent beheading.
11. LENTEN FESTIVAL OF HERBAL PREPARATION
Secret rites of herbalists from the Visayas and Mindanao, who gather in San Antonio, Siquijor, for the ceremony know as Tang Alap, the combining of medicinal herbs.
12. SEMANA SANTA
Pilgrims flock to the 11 hectare Calvary Hills to meditate on the passion and death of Jesus christ.
13. AGOO SEMANA SANTA
Agoo, La Union
Features a parade of carriages and a Penitential Procession of women, dressed in black.
Celebrates the reunion of the Risen Christ with the Virgin Mary.
1. CUTUD LENTENRITES
San Fernando, Pampanga
Prayer of a different meaning during the Lenten season, when villagers of San Pedro, Cutud, engage in the act of self-flagellation. This ancient ritual is executed in the morning of Good Friday during the Holy Week. Backs, arms, and legs are cut and then struck with burillo beats. The climax to this occasion happens at midday, when penitents are literally nailed to their waiting crosses.
April 10-1 5
The charter anniversary celebration of Marawi City. A celebration of Muslim culture, including songs, dances, crafts and food.
3. KADAUGAN SA MACTAN
A complete reenactment of the Battle of Mactan, in which Magellan's Forces were defeated by Lapu-lapu and his warriors, resulting in the death of the Spanish explorer.
San Jose City
A celebration of the harvest featuring colorful costumes and street dancing. Focuses on the contribution of onions, garlic and other vegetables to the city's economy
5. CONQUER MT. APO
Kapatagan, Davao del Sur
A climbing expedition to the top of Mt. Apo, the country's highest peak.
A boat rowing race held on the Pinacanauan river in Callao Caves Tourist Zone.
Camotes Islands, Cebu.
Last week of April
Highlights many uses of this root crop. Features cooking contests.
San Jose, Antique
Celebrates the re-enactment of the landing of ten Bormeo Datus in 13th Century.
1. PASALAMAT LA CARLOTA
Offers thanksgiving to God of Agriculture in Kanlaon Volcano.
Celebration to honor the Holy Cross.
Celebrations throughout the province, I where sumptuous feasts are prepared. All Boholanos are expected to return home for the fiesta.
4. PISTA'Y DAYAT
Celebrate rich harvested seafood in the province.
5. ALINSANGAN BOA-BOAHAN
Nabla, Camarines Sur
A fertility festival of pagan origin.
6. CARABAO CARROZA RACE
The race features the fastest water buffalos (carabaos) in the area pulling bamboo carts.
7. RODEO PILIPINO
The highlight of Masbate's Livestock Week focusing on the importance of cattle raising to the island's economy.
Honors San lsidro, the patron saint of farmers. Beautiful decorations, made of edible rice dough, are placed on the exteriors of houses representing various agricultural products.
Mt. Mayon Volcano in Albay, Bicol Region
Pays tribute to the beauty and power of regal Mt. Mayon Volcano in Albay, Bicol Region.
Daet, Camarines Norte
In honor of Daet's main crop, the Queen Formosa Pineapple, reputed to be the sweetest variety.
11. FLORES DE MAYO / SANTACRUZAN
A parade of the town's loveliest ladies, representing the search and discovery of Christ's Cross by Queen Helena and Constantine.
more on santacruzan or flores de mayo
12. HUNDRED ISLANDS
Thanksgiving festival for the blessings of the unique, natural island formations.
13. MANGGAHAN SA GUIMARAS
Celebrates the founding of province and its famous golden mangoes.
14. BOLIBONG KINGKING
A music and dance festival of folklore and traditions.
Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya
Commemorates the establishment of civil government in the province.
16. ANTIPOLO PILGRIMAGE
Month long of May
Thousands of devotees venerate the miraculous sightings of the Virgin of Antipolo image.
Last Sunday of May
A flotilla of decorated boats (bancas). Features the skills of the Pagsanjan boatmen.
Flowers come out in May, but these aren't the only things displayed during this merry month. Down south in the town of Lucban, Quezon, there's also the kiping - a colorful, transparent rice tortilla that serves as an edible ornament of sorts. You will see lots of these at the Pahiyas Festival, an annual celebration held to accompany in a bountiful harvest, and smashing good times.
It's a free-for-all, grab-all-you-can affair with suman-sweet, sticky native rice cakes-as the center of contention. It is also the grand prize, so feel free to join the battle. Rest assured, whether you get handfuls or just a plain mouthful, the Mayohan sa Tayabas will leave you wanting for more - suman, of course!
Sariaya's own version of the San Isidro festival showcases the creativity and ingenuity of the townsfolk in their craft and culinary tradition.
Murcia, Negros Occidental
Oneness with nature is the underlying theme behind Murcia's annual mud-moving spectacle. Check on its cloudy highlight - a lively street dancing parade with the participant wearing nothing but mudpacks (well, almost...). It's a safe way to mix our ecological concerns with good, clean, cloddy fun - just be sure to shower afterwards!
2. PINYAHAN SADAET
Daet, Camarines Norte
Sweet, juicy pineapple is the fruit of choice for the people of Daet, Camarines Norte. In fact, they loved it so much that they made a festival in its honor. Join the locals as they celebrate the Pineapple Festival featuring a colorful street presentation set by art exhibits, trade fair, cultural dances, and sport events. Feel rich when you go for a visit at Paracale Gold Mines, and be familiar with some Bicol heroes like Vinzon and Panganiban and Lucban.
3. PARADA NGLECHON
A different sight and flavor are introduced in June with a festival in Balayan, Batangas, commonly known as the "Parada Ng Lechon". These luscious roasted pork form the highlight of the occasion, decorated out in their platforms with all kinds of décor. Since the festival corresponds with the feast of St. John the Baptist, be prepared to get wet as people observe the feast by repeating the ritual of baptism - pouring water.
4. TACLOBAN PINTADOS FESTIVAL
Back during pre-Hispanic years, tattoos denoted courage among the natives of Tacloban. These days they symbolize a cultural revival, and a wild, wild fiesta called the Pintados. Join the town residents as they decorate themselves out in body paint, imitating the warriors of old while dancing to the frantic beat of drums.
more on pintados festival
Dipolog City, Mindanao
Festival features stationary dancing by native Subanons on three meterstructures.
Puerto Princesa City
Celebration of the founding anniversary of the civil government of Palawan.
Street dancing showcasing the growth stages of Bicol's indigenous Pilinut.
Devotees of St. John the Baptist cover their bodies with mud, vines, banana and coconut leaves.
9. ARAW NG MAYNILA
Celebrates the founding of Manila with parades and sports events and the Manila Film Festival.
10. SUBLIAN SA BATANGAS
Celebrates the Foundation Day of Batangas City.
1. SANDUGO FESTIVAL
The Spanish colonization of the Philippines began with a blood-sealed peace treaty on the shores of Bohol. This historic event is considered today with an all-out fiesta at the island's capital city. Check out the Sandugo street dancing parade featuring ten colorfully-dressed groups dancing to the beat of drums. There's also a traditional Filipino carnival, a martial arts festival, and Miss Bohol Sandugo Beauty Pageant, among the dozen of other exciting activities.
more on sandugo festival
2. KINABAYO FESTIVAL
An exotic and colorful pageant re-enacting the Spanish-Moorish wars, particularly the Battle of Covadonga where the Spanish forces under General Pelagio took their last stand against Saracan. They were able to overturn the tide through the miraculous spirit of St. James. The addition of local color and modernism has made this annual revelry a popular attraction which brings thousands of visitors to the city.
more on kinabayo festival
3. FEAST OF OUR LADY OF PIAT
A major religious event highlighted by the procession of the Marian.
Tubod, Lanao del Norte
The festival has its origin in a war dance that connotes masculinity. Unique in the fact that it has no religious connotation.
Pasig River, Metro Manila
First Sunday of July
The Holy Cross of Wawa is paraded in a specially built river boat (pagoda), accompanied by other vessels in a river procession along the Pasig River,
6. CORDILLERA DAY
Cordillera Administrative Region
Cultural activities celebrating the creation of the Cordillera Administrative Region.
7. PINTA FLORES
San Carlos City, Negros Occidental
Participants with floral-painted bodies dance through the streets.
Koronadal, Cotabato Province
Highlighted by Mansaka Tribal dances.
1. KADAYAWAN SA DABAW
Davao's annual festival, Kadayawan Sa Dabaw assures another weekend of trumpet blast and fun - tribal style. Watch as the festivities reach a glorious peak on Saturday morning: that's when the Kadayawan parade is held, featuring colorful, orchid-bedecked floats and more than a dozen "ethnic" groups dancing to the beat of wooden drums.
more on kadayawan sa dabaw
2. ADLAW HONG BUTUAN
Charter Day celebration of Butuan City.
Northern Province, Batanes
Cultural presentation of the lifestyles of the inhabitants of the Philippines most remote Northern Province, Batanes.
4. KAADLAWAN HAN SAMAR
Marking the celebration of Samar's provincehood.
A gathering of tribal groups featuring horse fighting and a blood compact ceremony in Kidapawan City.
6. KIDAPAWAN FRUIT
Featuring cultural shows and a variety of exhibits.
Festivities in Calubian, Leyte, which focus on the various uses of coconut and its by-products.
Bees (buyog) depicts origin of town's name in colorful dances.
1. BONOK-BONOK FESTIVAL & SILOP CAVE ADVENTURE
Behind Surigao's talented culture is its original tribal background. The Surigaonons go back to their roots this month as they celebrate their heritage with a loud, noisy street dancing parade.
more on bonok-bonok festival
2. PEÑAFRANCIA VIVA LA VIRGEN
16 September (third saturday of september)
Bicol Region's largest celebration is an annual affair that combines religion with culture and tradition, stuffing it all in a 9-day fiesta of biblical proportions. Stay until sundown for stirring climax: the fluvial parade as it makes its way down the river, surrounded by a sea of glowing candles - a fitting end of this truly spiritual occasion.
more on peñafrancia viva la virgen festival
3. TUNA SA GENSAN
General Santos City
Celebrates the contribution of tuna fish to the General Santos City's livelihood.
Calbayog City, Samar
The Filipino passion for cockfighting is celebrated with dancing and costumes which mimic the movements and appearance of the brave birds.
Presentation of 19 cultural groups residing in the province.
6. T'BOLI TRIBAL
The culture of this unique tribe is celebrated in South Cotabato.
7. ARAW NG SIQUIJOR
Solili street dancing depicts the marriage rituals of the locals in Siquijor.
1. ZAMBOANGA HERMOSA FESTIVAL
All roads in Mindanao lead to Zamboanga, as the "City of Flowers" celebrates its grand, annual Hermosa Festival. The vintas, those colorful native sea boats, once again make their appearance in a fast-paced, race-till-you-drop regatta. There's also a wealth of cultural and flower shows, art exhibits, and trade fairs. It's an all-out celebration of life - Chavacano style!
more about zamboanga hermosa festival
2. MASSKARA FESTIVAL
The carnival spirit fills the air as masked participants putting on magnificent costumes dance there way around the city's main street. This annual event reflects Bacolenos' love for fun and jollity. Corresponding with the city's character day celebration, the festival features carnivals.
more on masskara festival
Third week of October
Lanzones Festival in Mambadjao Camiguin is celebrated with a weekend street dancing competition and parties, cultural shows, parade and beauty pageant (coronation of Mutya sa Buahanan) and trade fair that features local handicraft and products.Houses, street poles and even people are ornamented with lanzones during the lanzones festival.
more on Lanzones Festival
4. SIARGAO SURFING CUP
1st week (movable)
A recently inaugurated event held at Cloud 9 Break near General Luna, which has placed the Philippines on the international surfing calendar.
Legazpi City, Bicol
The festival depicts Bicol's early history and is named after an early hero of the region.
6. LA NAVAL
Quezon City and Angeles City
Celebrates the victory at sea against the Dutch in 1646. An image of the Virgin is paraded through the streets of Quezon City in a carriage decorated to resemble a ship. Also celebrated in Angeles City.
The festival celebrates the founding of the province.
8. A BATTLE OF SURIGAO STRAIT
Commemorates the anniversary of the largest naval battle in historywhich took place in World Warll.
9. FIESTANG KULIAT (Tigtigan, Terakan Keng Dalan)
Balibago,Angeles City, Pampanga.
last week of October
Large street festival
Tubod, Lanao del Node
Street pageant, where the dancers wear costumes made from banana plants.
11. LEYTE GULF LANDING
Marks the anniversary of the Allied Forces landing on Red Beach and the famous return of General Douglas MacArthur to the Philippines.
1. PINTA FLORES FESTIVAL
San Carlos City
This city in the sugar-producing island of Negros Occidental honors its patron saint, San Carlos Borromeo, with a pageant where participants with floral painted bodies dance in rhythmic beat as they wind through the major streets. The festival is inspired by the tattooed Negrenses of pre-colonial times.
2. FEAST OF SAN CLEMENTE / HIGANTES
A fiesta of "gigantic" proportions, this one is highlighted by a grand procession featuring the higantes, ten-feet papier-mâche puppets, surrounded by a crowd of drenched, water-fighting revelers. Better bring your squirt gun if you want to join the f`un. It is a water-logged event that is sure to leave you wet n' wild - and wanting for more.
more on higantes festival
Named after the tree with purple-pink flowers. The festival incorporates the celebration of Cinco de Noviembre, a bloodless revolution in Silay which overthrew the city guards.
Lake Sebu, South Cotabato
Cultural presentations of the T'Boli and B'Laan ethnic minorities.
Calapan, Oriental, Mindoro
Re-enactment of the first contact between the natives of Mindoro and Chinese traders.
6. GUINAKIT OF MAGUINDANAO
Rio Grande de Mindanao
Decorated boats are tied together and parade along the river.
7. MT. PINATUBO TREK
A trek to summit of the world-famous volcano, guided by native Aetas.
Maragusan, Compostela Valley
A thanksgiving festival that highlights the province's eco-tourism potential
9. FEAST OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
Puerto Princesa City, Palawan
November 29 to December 8
Highlighted by a fluvial parade and nightly cultural presentations.
1. SHARIFF KABUNSUAN FESTIVAL
Cotabato City's Moslem population celebrates the arrival of Islam to the region with a series of fun-filled activities. No need to go native to enjoy these - there's a fluvial parade, an outrigger boat race, as well as various musical and athletics events.
more on kabunsuan festival
2. GIANT LANTERN FESTIVAL
San Fernando, Pampanga
San Fernando makes the biggest, most spectacular lanterns, at around 40 feet in diameter and bearing thousands of light bulbs a piece. Watch them all in their twinkling, blinking, flashing glory in this grand Christmas exhibit.
3. FEAST OF OUR LADY OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPCION
Roxas City, Panay and Malabon, Manila
The Roxas Festival is a showcase of the culture of the province, while the Malabon celebration features a river procession.
4. OLONGAPO FESTIVAL
The city's festivities include a lantern parade.
5. GRAND MARIAN PROCESSION
Sixty images of the Virgin Mary are paraded on lavishly decorated carriages (carrozas).
6. CHRISTMAS SYMBOLS
Tangub, Misamis Occidental
Month long of December
A contest for Christmas displays that utilize indigenous materials.
Highlights the town's bamboo industry and the versatility of bamboo.