Top Festival in the Philippines? These are an important time for Filipinos to remember religious events because they value and respect them. During these times, they extend true hospitality to all of their neighbors, including those they have never met. It is typical to observe guests, including uninvited ones, entering and leaving people’s homes during fiestas. It is traditional for people to share their blessings with everyone.
Immerse yourself in the vibrant rhythm of the local culture while keeping this list of Philippine Festivals in mind. Here are the
Top Festivals In the Philippines That You Should Visit
(Third Sunday of January | Cebu City)
Perhaps the grandest and liveliest festival in the Philippines is the Sinulog Celebration. This well-known event, which is observed nationwide on the third Sunday of January, is held in honor of the Santo Niño, or the child Jesus.
The Cebuano word “sulog,” which translates to “water current,” is from the term “Sinulog,” which flawlessly captures the forward-backward rhythm of the Sinulog dance. Through dancing, they express gratitude to Santo Niño for His graces and ask for more.
(Third Sunday of January | Aklan, Panay Island)
One of the oldest celebrations in the Philippines is the Ati-Atihan Festival, which was first held about 800 years ago. This celebration, known as the “Mother of all Philippine Festivals,” is recognized for inspiring well-known celebrations like the Sinulog and Dinagyang Festival. The third Sunday in January marks the beginning of the Santo Niño holiday, which is a celebration of the infant Jesus.
Everyone is encouraged to participate in the drum beats and happy, colorful faces. You can participate in the performance by picking up your dance shoes instead of just watching it from the sidelines. Additionally, you will hear “Viva! St. Nicholas!” as well as “Hala Bira! Pasma Pwera!” throughout this festival.
(Fourth Sunday of January | Iloilo City)
A competitive street dancing competition with participation from tribes, barangays, and schools that is held on the fourth Sunday of January. The Hiligaynon word “Dinagyang” means “amusement.” True to its meaning, this renowned festival does include a wide range of activities, including the Santo Niño Motorcade, the most well-known Dinagyang Tribes dance competitions, as well as the Dinagyang Foodfest.
The Holy Child Jesus, the entrance of the Malay settlers on the island, the life of Santo Niño, and the mythical bartering of Panay Island from the indigenous “Aetas” or “Atis” people are all celebrated during this celebration. Ilonggo tribes compete by performing ritual dances and folk dances while covered in body paint. A chance to taste Ilonggo cuisine, one of the greatest in the nation, is also provided by the Dinagyang Festival.
(15th of May | Tayabas, Quezon City)
Photo Courtesy of zenrooms.com
One of the nation’s most well-known festivals is this one. Pahiyas is a term that means “to decorate”. The festival’s real goal is in line with its name. It honors San Isidro Labrador, the farmer’s patron saint, in hopes of a bountiful harvest. Locals dress up and march in a parade with beautiful floats made of paper mache and other materials. Fruits, veggies, and vibrant Kiplings, which are traditional Filipino leaf-shaped wafers made with glutinous rice, are used to decorate the homes and floats.
Furthermore, guests can get all of this fresh food. Free vegetable pick-up is available from homes, and visitors can taste local specialties like Lucban Longganisa and Pancit Luglug. Also recognized is the house with the greatest decorations. Pahiyas also holds competitions, displays, and parades to highlight its rich history and tradition in addition to the most well-known house decorating competition.
(Every February | Baguio City, Philippines)
Since it was established more than 30 years ago, Baguio City’s renowned Panagbenga Festival, also known as the Flower Festival, has long been one of the most anticipated events in the nation. The Panagbenga Festival is a celebration of all Filipinos, especially those in Baguio, and it serves as a symbol of their incredible creativity, rich heritage, and incredible spirit of cooperation which lasts for an entire month.
There are numerous float and floral parades at the Panagbenga Festival for witnesses to enjoy. Locals and organizations compete in street dancing and band competitions, putting on a fantastic spectacle every year after months of rehearsing, costuming, and composing.
(24th of June | Balayan, Batangas)
The Hermandad San Juan Bautista, also known as the Brotherhood of St. John the Baptist, was organized by the elders of the Kanluran area in 1959, and this is how the term “Parada ng Lechon sa Balayan” (Lechon Festival) originally became popular. Every year on June 24th, Balayan, Batangas hosts the Lechon Festival in honor of St. John the Baptist.
In Batangas and other areas of the Philippines, lechon is a favorite dish. The majority of Batangueños offer it as the main course at celebrations or fiestas. Serving lechon at festivals has come to symbolize Batangas culture. During the parade, roasted pigs are dressed as humans or occasionally well-known personalities. Currently, the two-week Lechon Festival includes a wide range of other events.
(Third Week of August | Davao City)
This event, which is held every third week of August, is a celebration of life and a way to give thanks for the blessings that nature has given us. It emphasizes the abundance of the harvests, the peace of life, and the richness of Davao’s culture. A parade of vibrant floats carrying fresh flowers and produce is held during the celebration. Besides the customary street dances, the city offers horse fights, beauty pageants, and boat races, and fireworks display.
The word “madayaw,” which means good, valuable, and superior, is the root of the local Dabawon word “kadayawan,” which means superior. “Pasasalamat at Pagpapahalaga” is the Tagalog translation of “Kadayawan Festival.” It boasts of its stunning dance competitions and gorgeous floral parades, much to the Panagbenga Festival in Davao. The Agri Trade Fair, Pamulak Kadayawan, and Indak Indak sa Kadalanan (Street Dancing) are a few of the festival’s major activities.
(Fourth Sunday of October | Bacolod City)
Masskara, a 20-day street party in Bacolod, is another well-known Visayas holiday. The celebration also has unusual competitions, such as chasing a pig and consuming coconut milk. It was planned to be held the weekend closest to October 19 in order to demonstrate the community’s resilience in the face of hardship. Participants do it by putting paper-mâché or clay masks that have a wide smile on them.
Despite difficulties, the locals wore happy masks and brought the masked metaphor to life. The Filipino word “mascara” is the source of the English word “masskara”. which means “masks” in the literal sense. That is the real reason for the celebration, which calls for smiling masks to be worn by dancers, singers, and even viewers in tribute to Bacolod, known as “The City of Smiles”. It is observed in a manner comparable to today. A masquerade celebration featuring street dance, food, and beverages is attended by people wearing happy masks.
(First Week of September | General Santos City)
General Santos City has hosted the Tuna Festival every year since 1998. The vibrant event, which honors all things tuna, is usually held during the first week of September. The vibrant Tuna Float Parade and Parada sa Dagat, which feature festive and ocean-themed floats that showcase the diversity of the city’s culture, often kick off the Tuna Festival.
The villagers dance to upbeat music as they display the abundant catch of the province and their spirited performances. The Sugbahan sa Dalan is completed as a lengthy line of grilled tuna is shown inside the streets after taking in the pleasant street dances. Anyone who wants to taste the food can enjoy this line of grilled tuna for no cost. On the last day of the festival, a magnificent seafood breakfast delight is served in the municipal hall to honor the Pamahaw ug Pasalamat.
(23rd of November | Angono, Rizal)
Visit Angono, Rizal on November 23 to take part in its spectacular festival, the Higantes Festival. Paper-mâché giants are a sight to see, some of which are as tall as 12 feet, parading along the street. These massive figures can stand in for various Angono residents or barangays. A band of drums and lyres plays throughout a number of parades and processions where participants yell, “Viva San Clemente! as a tribute to their patron saint.
There are several various traditions taking place during this time, such as basaan, where participants are doused with holy water for luck during the higantes procession. Angono is frequently referred to as the capital of Philippine art because of this event. The Higantes Festival also features concerts, food fairs, and a battle of the bands in addition to the parades.
(Third Tuesday of April | Zambales City)
The dancers’ shimmering yellow outfits reflected the scorching afternoon sun. As Zambaleans hailed the festival queen clutching a basket of delicious golden mangoes, drumbeats rumbled across the concrete road in front of the capitol building clothed in native costumes.
In March or April, the Dinamulag Festival honors one of Zambales’ major exports: mangoes. Every summer, the province is overtaken by ripe golden mangoes, the most well-known of which is the Dinamulag kind of carabao mangoes—the name “damulag” actually translates to the phrase “carabao”—which is the most well-known of all.
(Every April | Dagupan City)
One of the most thrilling celebrations in the Philippines is the Dagupan Bangus Festival, which is marked by the grilling of bangus in the streets for a little more than two weeks in April and the first few days of May. One of the leading milkfish or bangus producers in the province is Dagupan, which is a city on the Lingayen gulf in Pangasinan, on the island of Luzon.
The Dagupan Bangus Festival also features a parade of street dancers who dress in eye-catching costumes to represent the abundant harvest of bangus. Before enjoying the juicy and delicious flavor of the bangus dishes, a group of chefs also display about 101 ways of preparing bangus. Additionally, you may watch as the residents of Dagupan quickly debone and consume bangus.
(From Holy Monday to Easter Sunday | Marinduque)
Every year, during Holy Week, locals in Marinduque perform a biblical reenactment on the country’s roads by dressing in costumes modeled after those used by Roman soldiers. The Moriones Festival, which is performed as an act of punishment, depicts the hunt for Longinus, the Roman soldier who stabbed Jesus’ side with a lance during the Crucifixion. The name Moriones is derived from the word “Morion,” which describes the helmet worn by Roman soldiers.
Because of the Philippines’ intense devotion to Christianity, you can clearly see the negative effects of Spanish colonization in this event. Locals parade around the streets as Roman military troops at the Moriones Festival.
(Every August | Legazpi City)
Ibalong Festival is a collection of festivities that last for one or two weeks. The festival’s name, “Ibalong,” is derived from one of the most famous epics in the area. Long before invaders arrived, local myths and tales are described in the Ibalong epic. It recognizes their resilience in the face of disasters that frequently affect the area as a result of its vulnerable location to typhoons.
One of the highlights of the Ibalong Festival is the street dancers. Additionally, fireworks shows, drag races, street parties, weekly band performances, and flea markets welcome both locals and visitors. And because of the delicious Bicolano cuisine, one of the events’ most well-known features is the presence of food fairs and shows featuring impressive culinary skills.
(Every July | South Cotabato)
The T’Nalak Festival is one of the most well-known celebrations in the Philippines. It is a week-long celebration highlighting the vibrant “T’Nalak” cloth from the province of South Cotabato. These are made of abaca, which the women of the ‘T’Boli’ tribe themselves weave and craft.
The Grand Parade, which is often held on the opening day of the week-long festival, kicks off T’Nalak promise of a stunning sight to see. Numerous events, including the Fun Run, Cheer Dance Competition, and the renowned Bahay-Kubo (Nipa Hut) Competition, are to be anticipated.
(29th of June | Tacloban City)
The Pintados Festival, a month-long celebration honoring Señor Santo Niño de Leyte, was first held in 1987 as a tribute to the tattooed tribespeople of Samar and Leyte known as “Pintados.” This June 29th event offers a glimpse of native life before the advent of the Spaniards by portraying the adoring practice of the natives as well as their love of music and dance.
The dancers who are painted or tattooed from head to toe with armor-like decorations to represent the warriors of the past are one of the festival’s most notable features. With song, dance, and the vivid hues of green and blue, it honors the valiant warriors of the past.
(Second half of February to March 10 | Malaybalay City, Bukidnon)
The Kaamulan Festival combines a datukship ritual, a ritual of gratitude, a peace agreement between tribes, and a wedding ceremony. Seven ethnic Filipino tribes, including the Bukidnon, Talaandig, Tigwahanon, Manobo, Umayamnon, Matigsalug, and Higaonon, are hosting it. It derives from the word “amul,” which means “to gather.” The tribes come together to display their traditional crafts, dances, and clothing.
The Tagulambong hu Datu (ritual for the installation of a Chieftain), the Panumanod (a spiriting ceremony), the Panli Sig (rite to drive away evil spirits), and the Pamalas are only a few of the customs and rituals they practice. They also have other customs and rituals (sin atonement ritual).
Giant Lantern Festival
(Every Saturday of December before Christmas Eve | San Fernando City)
The only condition of the competition is to use locally available materials, therefore people start building these lanterns a month before the event. Due to the Giant Lantern Festival’s fame, San Fernando has acquired the title “The Christmas Capital of the Philippines.” Before the holiday’s midnight service, the nearly 15-foot-diameter lanterns are paraded around each barrio in Pampanga in colorful displays.
The original purpose of this century-old celebration was to thank President Manuel L. Quezon for establishing Mount Arayat National Park, which paved the door for booming tourism and greatly benefited the Kapampangans. The Giant Lantern Festival serves as a reminder to Filipinos that our country does indeed enjoy the best and longest Christmas celebration. But it also provides them with unshakeable hope, which is represented by the beautiful light show.
Zamboanga Hermosa Festival
(12th of October | Zamboanga City)
This celebration, sometimes referred to as “Fiesta Pilar,” is conducted in honor of Zamboanga City’s patroness, Our Lady of the Pillar. It is one of the nation’s largest and most anticipated celebrations. That’s accurate, in addition to being one of the longest. This event lasts for one month.
The Fiesta Pilar event includes novenas, pageants, fashion shows, singing and dancing competitions, and commerce fairs. This festival’s “Regatta,” which is a race of brilliantly colored vintas, is its most notable activity (traditional boats of Mindanao).
(Third Sunday of September | Naga City, Camarines Sur)
The Peñafrancia Festival has been one of the biggest and most popular celebrations in the Philippines for more than 300 years. This celebration honors Nuestra Senora de Peñafrancia, the miraculous patroness of Bicol.
One of the longest festivals in history, the Peñafrancia Festival lasts for approximately three weeks. The religious procession “Traslacion” that transports the carriage bearing the image of Nuestra Senora de Peñafrancia from the Basilica to the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral traditionally kicks off the celebrations. Amazing dance competitions and civic-military parades take place alongside religious festivals on practically every street in Naga.“
(Summer Months of either April or May | Star City Complex, Pasay City)
Even though the Aliwan Festival is one of the newest, it is already one of the biggest events in this nation. The events, which were first held in 2003, are aimed at promoting the unique culture of the Filipinos to both their own people and the rest of the globe.
The word “Aliwan” in the native dialect of the Philippines literally means “entertainment.” It should come as no surprise that the Aliwan Festival amuses countless numbers of people all around the world. It is one of the most competitive events in the nation, and each of the 17 areas is expected to take part in the main competitions, which include the Cultural Street Dance Contest, the Beauty Pageant, and the Float Parade.