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Tropical Experience Travel Services - Tours of the Philippines

Festivals and Events in the Philippines

The Philippine calendar is full of festivals all throughout the year. The Filipinos call it “fiesta” – a party where everyone is invited to join! Every barrio, town, province, city has their own fiesta to celebrate once a year. So for sure there’s always fiesta going on somewhere around the country. Rain or shine, good times or bad, it’s unstoppable... the fiesta must go on!  It would be a great experience if you could join these events, witnessing the usually happy Filipinos going even happier!

 

What’s fun in Filipino fiestas?

Filipino fiestas usually have religious relevance in celebration of their Town’s patron Saint’s feast day. They come together in thanksgiving for the past year’s bountiful harvests and blessings. While there are also times when the past year’s gathering was not so good and they ask their patron saint for a better yield for the coming year. Other festivals are to give highlight to their town’s feature product or cultural practice that they are famous for in the country– it may be handmade flip-flops or sausages, a kind of fish, a local pastry, masks or even a style of native hat, boat rowing, a folk dance or a volcano ritual. Some others celebrate their place’s foundation day or anniversaries of important people or events. A

nyhow, they are always colourful and lively, packed with entertaining sights and sounds with a lot of food and friendly smiles for everyone to enjoy. The town usually has a week-long celebration with daily events and happenings which ends with a grand culminating activity on the main day itself.

 

So, when are these fiestas and how does one join them?

As said, each town has a fiesta date (i.e. always exactly on the 15th of May) while some marked by a specific week of a month (like, 2nd Sunday of July).  A list was made in the Wikipedia’s List of Festivals in the Philippines page, arranged per month and indicating which Town/City or Province it is being celebrated. It is best to contact the local government unit for the exact dates and for their calendar of events to make sure you will not miss out on the activities you would like to witness and experience.

 

Some of the more popular fiestas are the following:

  • Sinulog Festival – 3rd Sunday of January in Cebu City

  • Ati-atihan Festival – month of January in Kalibo, Aklan

  • Dinagyang Festival – 4th Sunday of January in Iloilo City

  • Panagbenga Flower Festival – month of February in Baguio City

  • Moriones Festival – Holy Week before Easter Sunday in Marinduque

  • Pahiyas Festival – 15th of May in Lucban, Quezon

  • Kadayawan Festival – month of August in Davao City

  • Masskara Festival – 3rd week of October in Bacolod City

  • Higantes Festival – 23rd of November in Angono, Rizal

 

Tips

Especially for bigger fiestas, expect a large crowd to influx the town. Be wise in booking your hotels early and in strategic locations. Moving around in vehicles can be difficult or even impossible during fiestas as roads are closed for pedestrians, bazaars, activities and parades. Be prepared and wear light and comfortable clothes, reliable footwear, protection from the sun and sudden rain showers, keep hydrated and keep your valuables and gadgets safe. Don’t forget to wear a smile, bring a lot of good vibes, and that party spirit to keep up with the local’s energetic festival mode.

There’s no need for an invitation. A fiesta is a party where everyone is invited, and they absoloutely love the sight of visitors!