Festivals In The Philippines

The Philippines, known as the Fiesta Capital of the World, has a rich and diverse culture considering it is composed of 7,641 islands with vast history of colonization and native ancestries. With more than 42,000 major and minor festivals, a lot of these can be attributed to Catholicism wherein for every patron saint there is a celebration and it happens across the country throughout the year. Apart from these religious and pious celebrations, there are also festivals for the town's charter rooted from the indigenous ceremonies and ritual offerings as thanksgiving and reverence to Bathala (the Supreme Being) and to ward off bad fortune and negative spirits. These festivities are unique to each place yet share the common traits of faith, nationalism, family bonding, and industriousness to name a few.


Colorful Festivals To See and Visit

Filipinos take months of practice and discipline in preparation for these big festivals. The parades are usually a line up of group performers for the street dancing. Each group wears different costumes full of vibrant colors and body paints.

Here are some of the colorful festivals in the Philippines to see and visit.

January is a month not to miss. There are three major festivals to look out for the weekends.

  1.  Ati-Atihan Festival 
    • a.k.a The Mother of All Philippine Festivals.
    • locally means "to be like Aetas" (Aklan provinces' natives)
    • every 3rd Sunday of January in honor to its patron, Sto. Niño of the Child Jesus
    • celebrated in Kalibo, province of Aklan, Philippines
      • near to the island of Boracay, a popular tourist destination for beach lovers
    • Photo credits Philippines Treasures
  2.  Sinulog Festival
    • a.k.a Sto. Niño Festival
    • locally means "movements of the river"
    • every 3rd Sunday of January in honor to its patron, Sto. Niño of the Child Jesus
    • celebrated in Cebu City, province of Cebu, Philippines
      • main access point for road trips to a number of tourist destinations in the province
    • Photo Credits GMAnetwork.com
  3. Dinagyang Festival
    • one of the biggest and best festivals
    • extrapolated from the word dagyang which locally means "merrymaking"
    • every 4th Sunday of January also in honor to Sto. Niño of the Child Jesus and a celebration of the pact between Datus (chieftains) and the locals
    • celebrated in Iloilo City, province of Iloilo, Philippines
      • entry point to various island beaches to visit and tour; road trip to Roxas City for oysters and scallops
    • Photo Credits King Erlano; courtesy of Iloilo City Tourism & Dev't Office

February is a month of love. If you love flowers and cold weather then this festival is a must go to.

  1. Panagbenga Festival
    • a.k.a Flower Festival
    • locally means "season of blooming"
    • a month long annual celebration every February; so better check on the dates of the actual parade
    • celebrated in Baguio City, province of Benguet, Philippines
      • go tour the strawberry farm and the scenic forest and mountain views with the cold breeze on your skin
    • Photo Credits philstar and rappler; courtesy of MNLtoday.ph

Welcome March with a sunny bloom.

  1. Sunflower Festival
    • a commemoration of the cityhood of Ligao
    • every 24th of March  to showcase the abundance of sunflowers that grows along Kawa-Kawa Natural Park
    • celebrated in Ligao City, province of Albay, Philippines
      • have a tour to neighboring cities and take a snap of the perfect volcanic cone of Mt. Mayon
    • Photo Credits LigaoCity.Albay.Gov.ph

In between March and April, whenever the Holy Week falls, these two festivals are to look out for in the season of Lent. The Philippines, being dominated mostly by Roman Catholics, commemorates the events of the Passion of Christ.

  1. Moriones Festival
    • a dramatization of the story of Longinus, the blind soldier whose sight was restored by the blood of Christ.
    • the word Morion refers to "masks", Moriones are the local residents who dress up in costumes of Roman soldier
    • during Holy Week dates
    • celebrated in Mogpog in the province of Marinduque, Philippines
      • take side trips to visit white sand beaches, cave spelunking, and spring water healing
    • Photo Credits Philippine News Agency
  2. Centurion Festival
    • features colorful floats and costumes; a celebration of God's protection when the early settlers of Pinamalayan encountered a terrible weather during their voyage
    • during Holy Week dates
    • celebrated in General Luna in the province of Quezon, Philippines
      • adjacent island to Marinduque
    • Photo credits Department of Tourism Calabarzon Office

May is quite a busy month since it is also Flores de Mayo for Catholics, and a whole month fiesta in the province of Bohol. Here's one of the biggest and most colorful festival in the country for this month.

  1. Pahiyas Festival
    • a celebration in thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest wherein the facades of the townsfolk's homes are adorned with fruits, vegetables and flowers from nature.
    • every 15th of May
    • held in the municipality of Lucban, province of Quezon, Philippines
      • have a taste of their Pancit Lucban (noodle dish) & Lucban Longganisa (sausage)
    • Photo credits businessdiary.com.ph   

For June, how about a visit to where U.S. General Douglas McArthur landed on his return to the Philippines during World War II?

  1. Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival
    • dancers paint their bodies the tattoo resemblance of the armor worn by warriors of the past.
    • Pinta locally means "paint"
    • every 29th of June
    • held in Tacloban City, province of Leyte, Philippines
      • take a side trip to the country's longest bridge, and to the monumental park of Gen. McArthur
    • Photo Credits Caravan Indie

July is an exciting month since this festival below is a month-long festivity.

  1. Sandugo Festival
    • a commemoration of the blood compact (sandugo) of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Rajah Sikatuna during the Spanish regime.
    • whole month of July, so visit Bohol Tourism Facebook page for the parade dates.
    • celebrated in Tagbilaran City, province of Bohol, Philippines 
      • take a tour to see the Tarsier, have a photo with the Chocolate hills in your background, visit a honey bee farm, dine in a floating restaurant, and enjoy the beaches of Bohol
    • Photo Credits Lourd Pocon; courtesy of Bohol Tourism Ph

Being blessed with agriculture, Filipinos really celebrate giving thanks for the bounty of harvest. That is what most Philippine festivals are also about, and each to its own products. How about a visit to places where you can eat fruits as much as you can every August?

  1. Kadayawan Festival
    • a celebration of the rich Mindanaoan culture, thanksgiving for the gifts of nature and the bounty of harvests.
    • every 3rd week of August highlighting the 11 indigenous tribes in the city
    • held in Davao City, province of Davao del Sur, Philippines
      • must go and see the Philippine Eagle, experience the cold breeze of Mt. Apo (the Philippines' highest mountain), and have a taste of Davao's durian fruit
    • Photo Credits Kadayawan sa Davao
  2. Timpupo Festival
    • celebrating the abundance of harvests of the finest produce in the city.
    • eat all you can fruits such as mangosteen, durian and lanzones
    • every 3rd week of August
    • held in Kidapawan City, province of Cotabato (just 2-3hrs from Davao City)
    • Photo Credits Kidapawancity.gov.ph

If you are a fish lover, Tuna to be specific, then you'll enjoy this festival. Plus if you are an avid Manny Pacquiao fan, you might have a chance to see him around his hometown.

  1. Tuna Festival
    • a grand celebration of the city's charter and of its bountiful sea blessings of the finest yellow fin tuna.
    • every 1st week of September
    • held in General Santos City, province of South Cotabato, Philippines
    • Photo Credits Primer.com.ph

Entering the last quarter of the year, there is still a festival or two you surely have to go this October.

  1. MassKara Festival
    • showcases the radiant smiles worn by Filipinos during the time of crisis
    • every 4th Sunday of October
    • celebrated in Bacolod City, province of Negros Occidental, Philippines
      • discover The Ruins by taking a heritage tour or go for a beach escapade
    • Photo Credits Masskara.com.ph
  2. Lanzones Festival
    • a week-long celebration of the generous harvest of the Lanzones fruit
    • usually every 3rd week of October
    • held in Mambajao City, island province of Camiguin, Philippines
      • you can round trip the island in just one day though you will definitely extend the stay to explore the springs, waterfalls, beaches and islands; plus there's a scuba diving site or three to see
    • Photo Credits Lanzones Festival

Go big on a November trip and heads up to this festival.

  1. Higantes Festival
    • a pious celebration in honor to the patron Saint Clement
    • usually the parade is scheduled on the Sunday before the town feast on November 23
    • held in Angono, Rizal (the art capital of the Philippines and producer of local clothes)
    • Photo Credits GMAnetwork


Surely you don't want to miss seeing Christmas decors and lights on the month of December.

  1. Giant Lantern Festival
    • the fest is a competition of huge parol lanterns, thus the place become known as the Christmas Capital of the Philippines
    • annually held in mid-December
    • celebrated at San Fernando City, province of Pampanga, Philippines
      • try the local cuisine, it's one of the best in the country
    • Photo Credits Bong Lacson; courtesy of punto.com.ph

Whatever month you plan to visit the Philippines, there is surely a festival waiting for you.


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