Exuberant parades and grand joyous festivities in the Philippines are considered typical. There are different types of festivals, religious, national, or seasonal. Most of these feasts celebrate patron saints of the city, as it is pretty obvious that the Philippine’s religious beliefs are deeply ingrained in Catholicism.
The Philippines has 7,641 islands of which only 2000 are inhabited. With that it holds rich cultural diversity. There are numerous festivals tourists both local and foreign –must experience in visiting my lovely Philippines. Take a look of a few but most popular festivals;
SINULOG FESTIVAL OF CEBU
The Sinulog-Santo Nino festival is an annual cultural and religious festival held on the 3rd Sunday of January in Cebu City. The festival is considered to be the first of most popular festivals in the Philippines. The festival attracts more than 2 million people from all over the Philippines every year. According to historical accounts, the Cebu natives already danced the Sinulog in honor of their animist idols long before the arrival of Magellan who led a Spanish expedition on April 7, 1521. Magellan did not live long after he introduced Christianity. Aside from religious aspects of the festival, SInulog is also famous for its street party that usually happens night before and the night of the festival itself.
ATI-ATIHAN FESTIVAL OF AKLAN
The festival consists of tribal dance, music, accompanied by indigenous costumes and weapons, and parades along the street. Christians and non-Christians observe this day with religious processions. It has inspired many other Philippine Festivals. Participants wear colorful costumes and dances all day.”Hala Bira, Pwera Pasma!”is being chanted during the week-long event. It signifies prayers to the celebrated Sto.Nino( the baby image of Infant Jesus) for a life free from any illness. Apart from religious aspects, Ati-atihan is also a commemoration of how the Malays offered salvation to Aetas during famine. FYI, Aetas are a group of indigenous people who live in scattered, isolated mountainous parts of the island of Luzon in the Philippines. They are also included in the group of people called ‘Negrito” during the Spanish era.
DINAGYANG FESTIVAL OF ILOILO
I am proud to say that I was born and raised in this place. My parents were both hailed from this beautiful City of Love. Iloilo’s adaptation of the Ati-Atihan festival, Dinagyang is an Ilonggo word for celebration. It is a religious and cultural festival in Iloilo City,Philippines and it is held every 4th Sunday of January or right after the Sinulog festival in Cebu City. Tribes from different barangays and schools join the competition. With such a healthy and lively spree, it is not a surprise anymore to be tagged as the most awarded festival in the country due to its legacy, popularity and innovation. It is divided in 3 events : Ati Tribe competition, Dagyang sa Calle real ( a street dance competition) and the Miss Dinagyang .
PANAGBENGA FESTIVAL OF BAGUIO
Panagbenga or should I say Flower festival is a month-long celebration that occurs in Baguio City. The festival is held during the month of February. Unlike other fiestas, Panagbenga is not religiously inclined. It is a tribute to Baguio City’s flourishing flower industry thus the floating parades adorned with different flowers. And it’s not only the floats, parade dancers are also dressed in unique flower inspired costumes. Aside from boosting the economy through tourism, the festival also helped the younger generation of indigenous people to rediscover their culture’s old traditions. The indigenous people were first wary with government-led tourism because of the threat that they will interfere or change their communities’ rituals.
PAHIYAS FESTIVAL OF QUEZON
Lucban celebrates Pahiyas every May 15, in honor of the patron saint for farmers San Isidro Labrador and as to show gratitude for a bountiful harvest. During this time,this festival showcases streets of houses which have been decorated with fruits, vegetables, agricultural products and handicrafts and kiping (brightly colored, leaf shaped wafers made of rice powder and water). Houses will be judged and the best will be declared the winner. Not only that, houses in Lucban are competitively decorated with the towns produce where guests may actually pick for free!
Photo credit : https://theculturetrip.com/asia/philippines/articles/pahiyas-the-philippines-most-colourful-harvest-festival/
MASSKARA FESTIVAL OF BACOLOD
And lastly but definitely not the least, the city of Bacolod is known as The City of Smiles. The term Masskara is coined from the two words: mass meaning crowd and the Spanish word Cara means face. The Masskara festival proves to be different as it started as a way to relieve people’s sadness and grief. One of the things that makes it unique? The festivities last for the whole month of October. So that’s a month-long party, dancing, eating, and many more!!
Photo credit : https://guidetothephilippines.ph/articles/history-culture/masskara-festival-bacolod-guide
This is only the tip of the iceberg. My beloved country, the Philippines has more captivating and exciting festivals to offer to locals and tourists around the world. Everybody needs to experience these festivals to witness the rich culture of Filipinos. It’s More Fun in the Philippines!