10 Philippine Festivals That You Will Surely Enjoy

Philippines are fond of various festivals in a year. Although there are still other festivals in this country, there are top 10 festivals that people should not miss out. Every month and season, they are holding celebrations. Even in some isolated island, they are having their own festivals. If you are planning to visit Philippines, it is a great idea to visit while there are popular festivals for you will be amazed with the Filipino culture, and you can appreciate how they prepared for such amazing occasion.

Sometimes, festivals in the Philippines are influenced with Spanish and Mexican. Filipino culture was influenced by the some of other countries who tried to colonize the country. Although some of the Filipino festivals are purely Filipino and originated by ancestors, other foreign countries still great affected the Filipino culture. With every single island, locals are fond of festivals, and you should check them out because you will learn much about their culture, and how much fun they are having during these kinds of occasion.

Here are some of the famous Filipino Festivals that you should not miss out:

1. Pahiyas Festival

Every year, Lucban Quezon Province is celebrating Lucban Pahiyas Festival. This Pahiyas Festival is celebrated during May 15 of the year which is also known as harvest festivals of the locals. During the hottest season of the year, it is celebrated with colorful and extravagant design that catches the attention of many people. During this season, travelers and tourists are visiting Quezon to observe the festival.

Why do people in Lucban Quezon are celebrating such occasion? They are celebrating this to give honor to San Isidro Labrador. This also means that they are giving thanks and gratitude during the time of harvest and healthy produce of plants. During this festival, people are decorating fruits and vegetables in their houses. They are also showcasing these good harvests to be judged by judges to decide which is the best.

2. Masskara Festival

Have you heard about masquerade party? This kind of theme is used during parties and occasion. Do you know that Bacolod City is holding masquerade party once in a year? This celebration is called Masskara Festival. In the Philippines, this is one of the most well-known festivals even by tourist. People say that this is the most fun celebration they ever had in a year. During this festival season, there are lots of amazing costumes that tourists would really love. This is celebrated during October 19 of the year.

To celebrate this occasion or festival, they are having colorful dancing with masked dancers and the music is in the rhythm of Latin. The dance with this kind of musical beat means stamina, mastery, coordination, and gaiety. According to Bacolod locals, Masskara festival is the most joyous celebration in their region.

3. Feast of Black Nazarene

You can often hear Black Nazarene on the news as religious feast. Roman Catholics are giving honor to the statue of Black Nazarene as way of thanksgiving. During this season, people are crowded, and there is huge traffic in Quiapo, Manila. People are asking the guidance of the Black Nazarene and having high hopes that their prayers would be granted. The statue of black Christ statue started 200 years ago.

According to religious leaders, participating to this procession might mean good luck and great blessings to individuals. That is the reason why this festival called to be the largest religious procession. People who participate in this event could be living in different part of the country. Feast of Black Nazarene is celebrated in the 9th of January every year or they called it Good Friday.

4. Ati-atihan Festival

Young, adult, or old participate in this festival. To Kalibo, Aklan people, this is said to be the most exciting part of the year in their place. Ati-atihan festival is a celebratory feast to give honor to Sto. Niño or the baby Jesus. At this moment, they are displaying their costumes, cultural dances, weapons, and musics. This is celebrated during the 3rd Sunday of the month of January. If you want to experience how Filipino prepared during Fiesta, you should not miss out this festival.

The name “Ati” originated with the word “Aeta”. Before. There are two stories why Ati-Atihan festival started. According to some, Malays are searching island where they could live. They found the island of Aetas and they accepted them peacefully. As form of gratitude, they started a fest for the peaceful arrangement they had. They started to imitate the appearance of Aetas and they started to sing and dance. Though, in some story, they said that Aetas had bad harvest, so they asked help from their Malay neighbors. Malay helped them and Aetas celebrated to give thank to Malay.

When the Philippines was colonized by the Spaniards, they turned this festival into Christian-like celebration and became the feast to give honor to Sto. Niño.

5. Higantes Festival

You can find this festival in Angon Rizal. In this festival, you can see the devotion of the religious Filipino who are still giving honor with this kind of feast and celebration. The size of the giant paper mache turned into statue 12 feet of height and with diameter of 5 feet. The people in Angono celebrate this festival during the 23rd of November. Higanted Festival also serves as giving honor to the fishermen saint, San Clemente.

How did this festival originate? This originated when the Spaniards colonized the Philippines. Filipino learned the papier-mache from Spanish friars. They made this kind of art to mock the Hacienda owners. Government also shows support to this festival. They are helping the artist who are making giant statues to conduct seminars. This is the reason why this festival is still alive until now.

To celebrate this feast, they are having activity such as basaan. Everyone should get prepared to get wet. People in this parade is sprinkling water which means good luck and blessing. According to people, the water represents San Clemente, which is the patron saint of fishermen.

6. Kadayawan Festival

This festival is held in Davao, Philippines. They are celebrating this feast during the third week of August. The word “dayaw” means beautiful, superior, and good in Dabawenyo. That only means that the people in Davao is celebrating this feast to give thanks to and gratitude to the good produce, the gift of nature, and the wealth of culture in Davao.

You might ask, how did Kadayawan Festival started and originated? Before, people believed that there are gods who are giving support to their everyday lives. Some of the gods they believed in are Bulan or moon deity, and Manama or the Supreme Being. Ancient Visayans and Davao ethnic tribes gathered on a night of full moon. According to tribesmen and islanders, the full moon means the diwata came to their land to give them blessings. The tribes and ethnic groups gave name to the full moon, but there is one name the outstand the most. It is the word “dayaw.” Farmers, fishermen, and other people before believed that it is the reason why they had great produces.

To make this festival completed, people dance, sing, and present their healthiest produce of fruits and vegetables. They are showcasing their rice and corn grains, flowers, fruit, and vegetables.

7. Dinagyang Festival

Dinagyang Festival is celebrated in Iloilo City. This is celebrated for a long time from now. This year, it had their 50th year of celebrating this feast. This is not just celebrated throughout the Visayas part of the Philippines, but throughout the country. It is celebrated to give honor to Senyor Sto. Niño. This festival is not just to give honor to Sto. Niño, but also to commemorate between the barter trade of Malay settlers and Ati natives.

This festival celebrated every 26th and 27th of the year. The theme of the celebration is “Timeless Tradition, Culture, and Devotion. Even people are celebrating this feast for a long time, they are not getting tired of it, but they are willing to support to make this celebration successful. The even of Dinagyang festival are in three sets: Miss Dinagyang, Kasadyahan Street Dancing, and Ati-ati Street Dancing. People are really participating this kind of event to show honor and devotion to the saints.

This year, to celebrate the 50th year of Dinagyang festival, the former “Miss Iloilo Dinagyang” entered as opening of the program of the festival.

8. Sinulog Festival

During this season of Sinulog Festival, the road is becoming more lively and full of colors. You can see the happy faces of the people in Cebu City. They are celebrating this feast every the 20th of January every year. What does the word “Sinulog” mean? It means “like water current movement.” They named it like this because of the forward-backward movement of dance. They are dancing together with the sound of the drums.

Let us bring back the story of this Sinulog Festival. Every festival has their history and stories. This is to give honor to Santo Niño and give rituals in front of the statue. They are celebrating this festival for 32 years from now. According to people, this Is one of the grandest and happiest festivals in the Philippines. You may visit Cebu City during festival to see how they are celebrating and giving honor to Santo Nino. As you might observe, almost all of the festivals mentioned above is to give honor to Sto. Nino. People from different part of the Philippines has their own version of feast.

9. Panagbenga Festival

Are you fond of flowers and flower decorations? I can totally say that this festival would be much appealing for you. Panagbenga or Panagbenga Flower Festival is celebrated during the month of February. The term “Panagbenga” is originated by Kankanaey. It means “season of blooming.” They made this festival to rise up and build up the people after the terrifying earthquake happened in Luzon. Baguio City celebrates this occasion. In the entire nation of Philippines, Panagbenga is one of the most awaited festival, and enjoyed by many people – may it young or old. 

The colorful decorations and the joyful of dance will surely brighten up your mood. During this season, Baguio is attracting more tourists and travelers. It will also show the great culture of Filipino with different origins. This started in the year 1990, and still active up to this day.

10. Moriones Festival

You can often hear this festival during holy week. Catholic is celebrating their Easter Sunday together with the feast of Moriones. People are dressing up with Roman soldier costumes. The one who uses the costumes truly believes that they are having self-cleaning throughout the year, and the sins they had are forgiven. People are not just parading, but they are also having a drama live in the City. This event is being celebrated from 24th to 31st of March. According to some, although people are truly having fun with this celebration, Christians should keep in mind that the Moriones Festival is not for occasion of dancing but should be a solemn tradition.

The focus of this celebration is to give honor to Jesus Christ who gave up his life to save people from sin. This festival is the heart of the Filipino people to show the devotion of each Catholic citizens. In this kind of festival, locals are not just the one being intrigued with this celebration, but thousands of visitors and foreign tourists are enjoying this solemn occasion of Filipinos. In the passion story, Roman soldiers are the most recognizable, so from six towns of Marinduque, they are getting men to act as Roman soldier.

What are your favorite festivals out of these festivals cited above? What are the stories you can share about your experience attending from these celebrations? Although these festivals are truly fun and enjoyable, you should not miss out the true essence of this feast – it is to give honor to god.

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