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January 2012 Festivals

Here’s a list of this month’s festivals, most of them commemorating the Sto. Niño and his many manifestations.

Happy 2012! The beginning of the new year brings with it the idea of a fresh start, be it in terms of ideas, habits, and resolutions. One thing that will never change is the Filipino's penchant for partying. Most January fiestas are held in honor of the Sto. Niño, with each province honouring the Child Jesus in its own way. If you're traveling this month and looking for some local color, here are some celebrations to check out:

Ati-Atihan Festival
Kalibo, Aklan
January 3-16

The Ati-Atihan is one of the county's most iconic festivals. It celebrates Ferdinand Magellan's gift of a Sto. Niño to the Queen of Cebu. The festival's name translates to "make-believe Atis," referring to the people that lived on the islands before the Spanish arrived. The festival is characterized by parades and street dances, the highlight of which is when performers put soot on their faces and bodies and dress in tribal gear as they dance around the city.

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Photo by Cea Bacolor

Feast of the Black Nazarene
Quiapo, Manila
January 9

The feast of the Black Nazarene is an intense day-long event where the statue of the Black Nazarene is taken out of the Quiapo Church and paraded around the streets of Manila. Devotees from all over the country flock to the area with the purpose of touching the statue. The festival can be dangerous, with people getting trampled underfoot every year. Still, it remains one of the most popular festivals in the Philippines, and one of the most documented and televised.

Lingayen Gulf Landing Anniversary
Lingayen, Pangasinan
January 9

Probably the only non-religious festival on this list, the festival commemorates Gen. Douglas McArthur's liberation of Pangasinan from the Japanese in 1945. Festivities include exhibits and programs, and is usually attended by veterans and public officials.

Hinugyaw Festival (Araw ng Koronadal)
Koronadal
January 10

The festival takes its name from the Hiligaynon term for merrymaking. It is a celebration of all the cultures that have resided in the Koronadal Valley. A major part of the festival is the storytelling of how the different tribes arrived in the area and how each tribe's culture has benefitted the area.

Sinulog Festival
Cebu City, Cebu
January 20

Another major celebration every January is Cebu City's Sinulog Festival, or Fiesta Señor, as it is fondly called. The province's most popular festival, it is held in honor of the Holy Image of Senyor Santo Niño de Cebu. Festivities include a solemn procession, followed by lots and lots of partying.

Dinagyang Festival
Iloilo City, Iloilo

January 22-26

Iloilo 's Dinagyang Festival is celebrated every 4th week of January. It is a colourful festival that includes parades, processions where participants dress in elaborate costumes and dance the night away.

Sto. Niño Festival
Malolos, Bulacan
January 30

Celebrated every last Sunday of January, Bulacan's Sto. Niño Festival has been dubbed "t biggest expression of devotion of the Holy Child Jesus in the Luzon island." The celebration includes a mass, exhibits on the Child Jesus, and a procession that features the Sto. Niño's different manifestations, such as a shepherd boy and sleeping child.