The rich heritage and cultural diversity of the Philippines is evidenced by the multitude of festivals and celebrations around the country all throughout the year. If you are looking for a different adventure, one that is beyond the usual beach escapade or mountain climbing expedition, then going to festivals is a good option. They are lively, full of music, colors, street dancing and definitely lots of food. Furthermore, festivals, while mostly religious in origin, are also story-telling venues where one may learn about the culture and history of a locality.
The year is about to end, but there are still plenty of major regional events that you may want to see. Some are near, just around the Metro and neighboring provinces, and others are in far-off destinations.
Here is a compilation of these festivities along with the dates and brief descriptions:
1. Pintaflores (November 3 to 5, San Carlos City, Negros Occidental): A festival marked by street dancing of pintados or dancers with tattoos or flowers on their body.
2. Kalag-Kalag Festival (November 13, Cebu City): Commemorates the Filipino tradition of visiting departed loved ones.
3. Sanduguan Festival (November 15, Calapan, Oriental Mindoro): Reenactment of the first contact between the natives of Mindoro and traders from China.
4. Feast of San Clemente/Gigantes (November 22 to 23, Angono, Rizal): Characterized by giant papier mache effigies, natives in wooden shoes and costumes joining the procession of the statue of San Clemente around town.
5. P’yagsawitan Festival (3rd week, Maragusan, Davao Province): Performances by indigenous groups of the area, and harvest-related thanksgiving rituals.
6. Kawayanan Festival (3rd week, Capitol Complex, Pagadian, Zamboanga del Sur): Celebrates the versatility of the Bamboo plant and its significance in the area.
7. Santa Ipon Festival (November 25 to December 25, Santa, Ilocos Sur): A thanksgiving celebration highlighted by the catching of the ipon, a tiny species of fish.
8. Day-ang Di Onga Festival (November 30, Baguio City): One of the region’s major events featuring young Cordillerans in a day-long event in celebration of life.
9. Binabayani Festival (last week, Olongapo, Zambales): A reenactment of the war between the Aetas and the Christians through dance.
1. Paskuhan sa Barangay (Month-long, Parian, Cebu City): Highlighted by nightly cultural presentations from the different universities in Cebu City.
2. San Fernando Giant Lantern Festival (Month-long, Philippine Christmas Village, San Fernando, Pampanga): Huge lanterns measuring 14 to 18 feet in diameter delight spectators with their kaleidoscope patterns
3. Kamundagan Festival (Month-long, Naga City, Bicol): Features “Kiti-Kiti,” “Pastoras,” Bikol Song Festival, and other cultural events in the region.
4. Subayan Keg Subanon (December 1 to 8, Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental): Characterized by trade fairs, a street theater performance, and songs and dances depicting the rich Subanon cultural heritage.
5. Pasko sa Tanjay Festival (December 1 to 9, Tanjay, Negros Oriental): A month-long Christmas festivity featuring cultural presentations and contests.
6. Fiesta de Agoo (December 5 to 8, Agoo Civic Center, Agoo Basilica, La Union): Features a Lantern festival, coronation of Miss Agoo, the awarding of Bannuar ti and Dakilang Datu Awards.
7. Sinadya (December 5 to 8 Roxas City, Capiz): Features fireworks display, a grand parade, food festival, and the Capiz dance festival.
8. Feast of the Immaculate Concepcion (December 8, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan): A grand celebration in honor of the city’s patroness and is highlighted by a parade of several images of Virgin Mary.
9. Pagdiwata (December 8, Palawan): The Tagbanuas’ feast of thanksgiving for a bountiful rice harvest, along with food offerings to deities and departed kin, as well as rite in which men partake rice wine with the spirits. After the harvest, the Tagbanuas gather in the house of the babaylan or the priestess whom the spirits speak to.
10. Dad-Iw Day-eng Chants (December 8, Bakod, Benguet): Ibaloi, Kankana-ey tribal songs and dance presentations.
11. Karisyohan Han Pasko Ha Palo (December 10 to January 6, Palo, Leyte): Misa de Gallo, a cultural show and a Christmas eve choral concert at Palo Cathedral.
12. Philippine International Lantern Parade (December 14, Asia World Complex Roxas Blvd. and Quirino Grandstand): A grand colorful parade featuring lanterns from different countries along with local bands, indigenous groups, vintage cars, and calesas.
13. Simballay Festival (3rd week Nabunturan, Davao Province): A week-long festival highlighted by Mansaka dances, neo-ethnic shows, street dancing and a grand parade.
14. Shariff Kabunsuan (December 15 to 19, Cotabato City): A celebration to commemorate the arrival of Shariff Kabunsuan and Islam to Mindanao.
15. Maytinis Festival (December 24 Kawit, Cavite): A town-wide re-enactment of Mary and Joseph’s search for a room on the eve of Christ’s birth.
16. Salubong (December 29, Plaridel, Bulacan): A procession of dancing women, horses and calesas to fetch the Santiago Maria Moros from Barangay Sipet.