It's a known reality that Filipinos take their celebrations and feasts seriously. No matter what the economic circumstance is, the program, or in this matter, the fiesta should go on. Every town usually has their own yearly events devoted to their Tutelary saint. It's not an exaggeration then when someone states there might be a fiesta going on in some town at any offered day. Thus, there is no need to time your visit thoroughly if you want to witness the revelry and join the event. There's bound to be one during your visit.
Due to the Spanish influence on Filipino's Catholic spirituality, most of these festivals are spiritual in origin. No matter what the initial meaning of the festival was, these days are typically marked with people garbed in elaborate outfits, overruning food and drinks, fluvial parades, processions, competitors, and lots of more.
1. Ati-Atihan-- Kalibo
Called as the Mom of All Celebration in the Philippines, Kalibo's Ati-Atihan is the oldest celebration in the country. It's family holidays a two-week merrymaking that culminates on the 3rd Sunday of January.
As early as December, you will hear drumbeats as individuals practice for the upcoming occasion. During the event, individuals worn outfits made of native products collect in the street and dance to the beat of the drums. Their skin is blackened to represent the early settlers known as "ati". Chants of "' Viva! Santo Niño!" and "Hala Bira! Pwera Pasma!" can be heard in addition to the balanced cadence of tribal music. The first expression is a tribute to the child Jesus and the second is a plea not to get sick under the blistering heat of the sun.
In the last years, various cities have come up with their own version however Ati-Atihan is distinct for one significant factor: it is really interactive. Residents are not simply mere spectators, they paint their skin black with soot and sign up with the groups in street dancing. Do not be put off if you get wet with some beer spray, after all it's the regional equivalent of Mardi Gras.
2. Ati-Atihan Sinulog-- Cebu City
On the very same day, Cebu City also pays tribute to the to Santo Niño through their Ati-Atihan Sinulog. What sets it apart is the method they dance to the beat of the drums-- two step forward and one action backward-- a motion that's meant to replicate the water present (sulog) of Pahina River. Besides the spiritual parade and street celebrations, you can likewise take pleasure in trade fairs, musical events, and art exhibits.
3. Dinagyang-- Iloilo City
Precisely a week in the future the 4th Sunday of January, Iloilo City also holds the very same cultural and religious festivity in honour of the Child Jesus. Dinagyang includes a fluvial procession, vibrant parades, and a competition for the most detailed outfit and excellent choreography. There will be numerous phases around the city and you require to purchase tickets to better see the significant showcase.
4. Masskara-- Bacolod
Another prominent Visayas festival is Bacolod's Masskara, a 20-day street celebration packed with food, beverages, dances, and a bevy of wild contests like chasing a pig and downing coconut milk. Hung on the weekend closest to October 19, it was conceptualized to show the regional's resiliency in spite of a difficult life. Individuals wear papier-mâché or clay masks portraying a huge smile.
5. Kadayawan Festival-- Davao City
Mindanao likewise has their own share of luxurious fiestas led by Davao City's Kadayawan Festival held each year every 3rd week of August. This time it's primarily to give thanks for an abundant harvest so the streets are embellished with newly selected fruits and vegetables. During the event, vibrant floats packed with fresh fruit and vegetables and flowers are paraded down the street. Besides the usual street dances, the city hosts horse fights, appeal pageants, and boat races.
6. Moriones Celebration-- Marinduque
Throughout Holy Week each year, a scriptural re-enactment is seen on the roads of Marinduque when villagers wear their interpretation of a Roman soldiers' helmet, dress, and armour. Performed as a type of repentance, Moriones Celebration is implied to portray the look for Longinus, the Roman soldier who pierced Jesus' side with a lance during the Crucifixion. Christian or not, this spiritual pageantry is intriguing to state the least.
7. Pintados Celebration-- Tacloban
If you enjoy tattoos and body arts then you may flip over the yearly event of Pintados festival in Tacloban when residents dance around the streets with tattooed bodies to represent the brave warriors of the past. Portraying the natives' practice of idolatry in addition to their fondness for music and dance, this June 29th festival supplies a peek of how the native people lived prior to the Spaniard's arrival.
8. Panagbenga, Baguio Flower Festival
The mainland Luzon is not one to take the backseat in terms of celebrations too. Panagbenga or Baguio Flower Celebration commemorates the rise of the city after the terrible catastrophe when the earthquake hit it in 1990.
9. Higantes Festival-- Angono, Rizal
Every 23rd of November, head over to Angono, Rizal to be part of its larger than life celebration - the Higantes Celebration. In event of the Feast of San Clemente, individuals open their homes and dining table to visitors. It's likewise quite a sight to see papier-mâché giants sashaying down the street, some measuring as tall as 12 ft.
10. Pahiyas Celebration-- Lucban, Quezon
The town of Lucban, Quezon also buzzes with excitement each year on Might 15 as they hold the Pahiyas Celebration to thank the patron saint of farmers, San Isidro de Labrador, for an abundant harvest. Each home is artistically decorated with fruits, vegetables, and the remarkably coloured rice paper called "kiping". Brace yourself for an all out food extravaganza and a thrilling parade of residents in colourful costumes, papier-mâché giants, carabaos, and lavishly created drifts.
11. Obando Fertility Rites-- Obando, Bulacan
We'll wrap this list with a special type of festival-- the Obando Fertility Rites-- held for 3 days from May 17 to 19. On these days in Obando, Bulacan, fans do the fertility street dance to beseech the 3 saints, San Pascua, Nuestra Señora de Salambáo, and Santa Clara for great fortune, a partner, or many especially, a child.
This list hardly even scratch the surface but is an excellent start for a more in-depth experience of Philippine Culture and Custom.