Festivals and Events in the Philippines
The Philippines has over 7,107 Islands and in simple words a local couldn't explain how many festivals are held in the Philippines as there are hundreds of barangay, municipalities, towns and cities in 80 provinces and each barangay, municipality, town and city including provinces has their own festival either in honor of a Saint, a religious festival, seasonal change, harvest, or in honor of the place itself. The Filipinos are happy and often in joie de vivre type of people, they are satisfied with life and love to laugh and tend to love people with humor which most festivals represent, most festivals are vibrant and energetic and most of which styles are of Hispanic-influence, because of numerous and endless countable festivals the country is often dubbed as, "The Fiesta Islands". Among all festivals Christmas is the biggest, widest and longest celebrated in the Philippines, which starts from September and lasts till January perhaps the longest Christmas celebration in the world.
Inter-island and domestic flights are offered by local carriers such as Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Air Philippines, Zest Airways and Interisland Airlines.
January is usually when most festivals in honor of Sto. Nino (Infant Jesus) usually occur as well as festivals commemorating the end of the Christmas in the Philippines.
- Where:(Muntinlupa City),
- When: January 1
- What: Bulaklaka(n) literally means flower in Tagalog. Parade of flowers and costumes are held.
Feast of Three Kings
- Where:Gasan, Marinduque
- When: First Sunday of January of the Year
- What: The Feast of Three Kings or Epiphany, known as Araw ng tatlong hari in Tagalog, is a festival celebrated during the first Sunday of January, the Epiphany which commemorates the manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ to the gentiles by the magi; Melchor who brought Gold, Gaspar who brought Frankincense, and Balthazar who brought myrrh as a gift to the infant Jesus. A folk play is en-acted in Gasan, Marinduque based on the story of the Epiphany. The festival also commemorates the end of Christmas in the Philippines.
- Where:Kalibo, Aklan
- When: Third Week of January
- What: In honor of the Sto. Nino or the Infant Jesus, this festival is celebrated. It was first celebrated as a pagan festival in honor of Anitos or Pagan gods of the native people before the Spanish arrived. Today it is celebrated in honor of the Sto. Nino. People cover their bodies or faces with soots to look like Atis or Aetas (native people) and dance streetdances with a holy image of the Sto. Nino. Masses, Novenas and Rosary processions are done also.
Bailes De Luces
- Where:La Castellana, Negros Occidental
- When: January 5
- What: Bailes De Luces or Dances of lights in Spanish. Luces or Light in Spanish symbolizes hope. The festival highlights the use of lights in festival presentations. Street dances are done to commemorate the festival, it is celebrated in thanking the past year's blessings and success as well as a hope for a better new year.
Feast of the Black Nazarene
- Where:Quiapo, Manila
- When: January 9
- What: The festival is a day long feast, celebrated through a procession of the Black Nazarene in the streets of Metro Manila. The Black Nazarene is a wooden statue of Jesus of Nazarene, it is called Black Nazarene because of the statue's color which is black, the statue is over 400 years old and is stored in the Basilica of Black Nazarene or popularly known as Quiapo Church. Devotees flock to streets barefooted and push against each other to get to the statue in belief it would give blessings and miracles.
Lingayen Gulf Festival
- Where:Lingayen, Pangasinan
- When: January 9
- What: Festival commemorating the liberation of Lingayen from the Japanese invasion by Gen. Douglas McCarthur of US Pacific command on January 9, 1945.
Araw ng Koronadal(Day of Koronadal)/Hinugyaw Festival
- When: January 10
- What: A feast celebrating the diverse cultures of Koronadal for decades.
- Where:Lambunao, Iloilo
- When: January 10-16
- What: Binanog Festival is celebrated in honor of the Infant Jesus, ethnic dances are done in the beat of drums to commemorate this feast.
Coconut Festival and fair
- Where:San Pablo, Laguna
- When: January 10-13
- What: A grande Mardi-gras that San Pablo commemorates in honor of their crop; coconuts.
- Where:Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental
- When: January 10-16
- What: The Sinulog of Kabankalan is known to be lively and colorful, peple dress in colorful costumes and dance in streets in honor of Señor Santo Niño.
Makato Sto. Nino Festival
- Where: Makato, Aklan
- When: January 15
- What: The celebration dates back to the pre-Spanish times, celebrated in honor and for giving thanks to the Sto. Nino. It is similar to Kalibo's Ati-atihan festival.
- Where: San Joaquin, Iloilo
- When: Third Saturday of January
- What: Traditions date back in olden times when people witnessed two bulls fighting, it then became an attraction and an entertainment. Catch "Bull Derby", when the where the best bulls of the barangays compete against each other. Pasungay comes from the Hiligaynon word Sungay meaning horn, indicating the horns of the bulls.
- Where: Libertad, Butuan City
- When: January 16
- What: See Butuan's local version of Cebu's Sinulog Festival. Just like Sinulog, spectacular and lively dances are held.
- Where: Barangay Tangos, Navotas
- When: January 16
- What: The People of Brgy. Tangos, celebrates this feast in honor of their fishing industry. Street dancing and float competitions are the main attractions of this festival. "Pangisidaan" literally means "Fishery" in Tagalog.
- Where: Buenavista, Guimaras
- When: January 16
- What: Celebrate the rich culture of the oldest municipality of the province of Guimaras, the whole celebration is celebrated by songs, dances and musicals showcasing the cultures Buenavista has been influenced. The celebration is also celebrated in honor of the Sto. Nino. "Kinaradto" literally mean Going to.
Batan Ati-Ati Malakara Festival
- Where: Batan, Aklan
- When: January 16
- What: Join in the thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest and a good new year as well as honoring the Sto. Nino in Batan. Paper Mache prepared costumes are worn by participants and street dances are performed, before the festival commences a Holy Mass is held.
Fireworks display and contest
- Where: Arevalo, Iloilo City
- When: January 16
- What: Don't miss this festival when in Iloilo, the skies of the district of Arevalo light up with sparkling and spectacular fireworks.
- Where: Makati City, Metro Manila
- When: January 16
- What: Caracol Festival displays the campaign for protecting and conserving our ecology, if you're an advocate for the environment don't miss this.
Bansudani Festival/Feast of the Divine Savior
- Where: Bansud, Mindoro Oriental
- When: January 17
- What: A thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest, the festival features dances and cultural presentations.
Sad-Sad sa Kalye
- Where: Janiuay, Iloilo City
- When: January 19
- What: "Sad-Sad sa Kalye" showcases the beliefs, dreams, views of the people of Janiuay based on their cultural heritage, historical experiences and traditions. "Sad-Sad" is a native word for Dance, while "Kalya"(Calle) is a Spanish word for Street, just as its title says; the festival is celebrated through street-dancing.
- Where: Cebu City
- When: 3rd Sunday of January
- What: One of the most important, biggest and popular festivals of the Philippines, it is celebrated in honor of Señor Santo Niño . Processions of Santo Niños take place and dances are done along with constant beating of the drums.
Pandot sa Bacolod
- Where: Bacolod City, Negros Occidental
- When: January 20
- What: The Bacoleños (people of Bacolod) celebrate this festival through dramatizing the life of a Catholic during the Spanish colonial times.
- Where: Jamindan, Capiz
- When: January 20
- What: Join in the cultural presentation of Capiz and go experience fiesta with their people. "Binuligay" literally means Helping each other.
Atlavas Sto. Nino Festival
- Where: Atlavas, Aklan
- When: January 21-22
- What: This festival celebrates not only in the honor of the Sto. Nino but also the mark of the day when the Filipino-American war ended in Atlavas. It is also celebrated as an annual Thanksgiving festival.
- Where: Iloilo City
- When: January 22-24
- What: A spectacular festival in honor of the Sto. Nino, also one of the most popular festivals in the Philippines, streets are filled up with people as dancers dance and as music plays and as colors and sound of the festival brighten up the atmosphere.
Boracay International Fun Board Cup
- Where: Boracay, Malay, Aklan
- When: January 22-27
- What: The country's biggest windsurfing event, a must catch when staying in Boracay. Peopl from around the world flock and compete in this event.
Feast of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage
- Where: La Carlota City
- When: January 24
- What: In honor of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, this festival is celebrated, processions, cultural presentations and traditional games are held.
Ibajay Ati-Ati Municipal and Devotional Festival
- Where: Ibajay, Aklan
- When: January 24-25
- What: Celebrated in honor of the Sto. Nino, features the transferring of the holy image of the patron of Ibajay from Ibajay Cathedral to St. Peter Parish Church where it was discovered.
Dinagsa Ati-Atihan Festival
- Where: Cadiz City, Negros Occidental
- When: January 24-30
- What: Rituals are performed by the black soot "Ati" in honor of the Sto. Nino. Procession of the holy image on a boat is held where it is brought to the sea and then back.
- Where: Jordan, Guimaras
- When: January 28
- What: A festival in honor of artisans and enduring workers which is done through dramatization through dance-drama.
- Where: Calinog, Iloilo
- When: January 30-February 6
- What: A 9-day celebration in honor of the Sto. Nino, games, a food fest and competitions are held during this festival.
Sto. Nino Festivak
- Where: Malolos, Bulacan
- When: January 30
- What: Featuring week longs exhibits and procession of a hundred caros of drivers Sto. Nino images, this festival is in honor of the Sto. Nino.
Balot sa Puti Festival
- Where: Pateros
- When: January 31
- What: A town fiesta.
- Where: Miag-ao, Iloilo
- When: February 1-6
- What: A week long cultural presentation of Miag-ao shown through street dances, ballroom dancing, food fairs, beauty pageants etc.
- Where: Paracale, Camarines Norte
- When: February 1-2
Bicol Arts Festival
- Where: Legazpi City
- When: February 1- February 28
Festival of Hearts
- Where: Tanjay City, Negros Oriental
- When: February 1- February 14
- Where: Mandaluyong
- When: February 1- February 6
Suroy sa Surigao
- Where: Jaro, Iloilo
- When: February 2
- Where: Laoag City, Ilocos Norte
- When: February 2-10
International Bamboo Organ Festival
- Where: Las Piñas
- When: February 3- February 11
- Where: Paoay, Ilocos Norte
- When: February 5
Kali-Kalihan Harvest Festival
- Where: Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental
- When: February 6
- Where: Legaspi City
- When: February 6
- Where: Cuenca, Batangas
- When: February 7- February 13
Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Festival
- Where: Omni Aviation Complex, Clark Field, Pampanga
- When: February 9-12
- Where: Davao City
- 'When: February 9- February 15
Chinese New Year
- Where: Nationwide
- When: Movable
- Where: San Enrique, Negros Occidental
- When: February 9
Pabalhas sa Tablas
- Where: Candoni, Negros Occidental
- When: February 11
Tiburin Horse RaceTIBURIN HORSE RACE
- Where: Libertad, Pasay City, Metro Manila
- When: February 12
- Where: Puerto Galera
- When: February 18 & 19, 2011
A 2-day festival scheduled on February 18 & 19, 2011 (coinciding with the full moon!) will be held outdoors in a totally natural environment at the foot of Mount Malasimbo on the northern tip of the island of Mindoro, with a breath-taking view of Puerto Galera Bay, a member of the worldwide Club of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World.
The festival aims to blend traditional and contemporary arts and culture together with music performances while working towards the protection and sustainability of the natural environment.
1. KAAMULAN WHERE: Malaybalay, Bukidnon WHEN: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 WHERE:Abra Province WHEN: March 7-10
Celebrates the founding of Abra Province with a variety of events, including raft and horse races.
3. SANDUGO WHERE: Tagbilaran, Bohol W22:14, 23 June 2010 (EDT)22:14, 23 June 2010 (EDT)~~HEN: Month-long (movable)
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 March 10-16
The celebration of Davao's Foundation Day as a chartered city.
5. PINTADOS DE PASI March 14-16
Depicts the history of the Passi City and how it got its name.
6. HOMONHON LANDING Southeastern Samar March 16
A pageant by the seashore re-enacting the discovery of the Philippines by Ferdinand Magellan.
7. MT. MANUNGGAL Central Cebu March 16-17
A Mountain trek, which Darks the anniversary of the tragic death of President Ramon Magsaysay, whose plane crashed on the mountain.
8. SINIGAYAN Sagas, Negros Occidental March 19
Named after the native seashell (sigay). Shell craft art is featured during the festival.
9. FIRST MASS IN THE PHILIPPINES Limasawa Island, Southern Leyte March 31
Features a street pageant by the different municipalities.
10. MORIONES Marinduque Easter Sunday
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 Easter Saturday
Secret rites of herbalists from the Visayas and Mindanao, who gather in San Antonio, Siquijor, for the ceremony known as Tang Alap, the combining of medicinal herbs.
12. SEMANA SANTA Iguig, Cagayan HoIy Week
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.
14. SALUBONG Angono, Rizal
Celebrates the reunion of the Risen Christ with the Virgin Mary.
Kadayawan sa Davao, every 3rd week of August, Davao City
Kadayawan is the celebration of a bountiful harvest and also celebrates the existence of the indigenous people (IP) in the city. Activities include street dancing (Sayaw sa Da'n) and floral float parade (Pamulak sa Kadalanan), among others. Visit the festival website for more info.
FIESTA ZAMBOANGA LA HERMOSA
- Donde: Ciudad Latina de Asia, Ciudad de Las Flores, Orgullo de Mindanao Zamboanga City
- Cuando: October 12
- Cosa: The Islamic influenced province of Zamboanga which is known because of its colorful vintas, exotic rare fruits and exotic beautiful flowers stands out its Christianization and their hispanic ways. Zamboanga City also known as the "City of Flowers" and "Asia's Latin City" rich culture influenced the lives of the people, but not as much as their devotion to Our Lady of Pilar, or the Nuestra Señora Virgen del Pilar de Zaragoza.
Zamboanga La Hermosa Festival or the popularly known as Fiesta Pilar, is held in honor of the miraculous image of Our Lady of the Pilar at the legendary Fort Pila. The people of Zamboanga fervently believe that the lady has served as their unifying cultural and historical symbol. In commemoration of her feast day, Zamboanga displays its devotion and enthusiasm with a nine-night procession, fireworks, an ethnic parade, a cultural show, a regatta, and the Miss Zamboanga parade. This festival runs from October 1 to 12.
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 - Latino Zamboangueño Style!
History and Legends
The Zamboanga La Hermosa Festival embedded in Zamboanga’s rich history of devotion to the Nuestra Señora del Pilar that is supplemented by rich legends about the virgin.
In the Spanish Era, Zamboanga was an integral part of Spanish Colonization. In 1635, the Spaniards built a fort in Zamboanga named Real Fuerza de San Jose to secure them against the attacks of the moro warriors. Spaniards held the city as a seat of government and became the cultural center of the south, and was deeply seated in Hispanic heritage and tradition.
In 1734, The Lady's was brought to the fort as a frontpiece for the main entrance. The western side of the fort was converted into a shrine for The Lady when the fort was rebuilt in 1860 and the fort was renamed Real Fuerza de Nuestra Señora Virgen del Pilar de Zaragoza.
The city’s devotion to the Lady of Pilar was legendary, because of the wealth of stories, miracles, and apparitions surrounding the virgin.
Devotees Dancing for Devotion
Devotees to the virgin are seen at the Fort to venerate the sacred bas-relief image of the Lady of Pilar. But at the Zamboanga Hermosa Festival, dancers pay tribute to the virgin through their movements. Each year, the dancers from Zamboanga City High School perform praise dance to the virgin. The dancers dance to the tune of lyres and drums that create a jovial atmosphere and fluidity, the dancers’ fluid body movement, coupled with intricate footwork and hand motions signify adoration to God for the intercession of the Nuestra Señora del Pilar as an instrument of Peace. The dancers pay tribute to the Lady dressed in colorful costumes, floral arches and body movements, also symbolizing Zamboanga as a melting pot of cultures that blend harmoniously in the spirit of unity and diversity.
Fiesta Pilar is considered to the biggest, Grandest and Widely Festival Celebration in the City of Zamboanga. and the Celebration which is started from October 1 to 12 and the Whole Month of October.
- Trivia: Fiesta Pilar is also being celebrated in Zaragosa, Spain. thus, Nuestra Senora La Virgen del Pilar de Zaragosa is not only the Patron Saint for the Latino Zamboangueño People/Tribe living in and out of the City of Zamboanga but also of the City if Zaragosa in Spain.