5 Must-Attend Philippine Festivals
Celebrate culture, religion, and food when you attend these fun fiestas!
Traveling the Philippines won’t be a complete experience if you don’t attend a festival. Fiestas are common in the Philippines, and the celebrations have gotten grander over the years. There is an abundance of festivals you can experience in the country, and here are 5 you must attend at least once in your life.
1. Sinulog Festival
The Sinulog Festival is held every third Sunday of January in Cebu City. It is a feast dedicated to the Sto. Niño as well as a commemoration of the Filipinos’ acceptance of Christianity back in the early 1500s. It is one of the most popular festivals in the Philippines with a grand parade and a street party like no other. To differentiate itself from other Sto. Niño festivals, Sinulog has a special dance, a simple "two steps forward, one step back" routine.
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2. Masskara Festival
The Masskara Festival is held in the City of Smiles, Bacolod, every third week of October. It is one of the most colorful festivals in the Philippines with everyone donning giant colorful masks. The festival originated from the local government’s desire to uplift the spirits of its citizens amidst a time of crisis in 1980. There are food fairs and street dances throughout the festival. The masks they wear serve as a reminder that Bacolod can still rise up from hard times with a smile.
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3. Ati-Atihan Festival
The Ati-Atihan Festival is said to have inspired the Sinulog Festival as both center on the Sto. Niño. It is also held around the third week of January. Ati-Atihan roughly translates into “to be like itas/atis” who were the first settlers in the region. The festival makes use of indigenous and tribal themes such as music, dance, and other variations throughout the festival.
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4. Panagbenga Festival
The beautiful Panagbenga Festival is a month-long celebration in Baguio. It begins on February 1 and ends on the first Sunday of March. The festival was born to highlight the stunning flowers you can find in the area as well as to cheer up and raise morale after the tragic 1990 earthquake. All the events feature flower motifs. The grand parade is the highlight of the festival featuring floats covered in gorgeous flowers.
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5. Pahiyas Festival
The Pahiyas Festival is a thanksgiving festival held every May 15 in the towns of Tayabas, Sariaya, Gumaca, and Tiaong in Quezon Province. It celebrates the bountiful harvest the province of Quezon has every year. What’s unique about the festival is their use of kiping, a rice cake wafer that is used to decorate homes, floats and, costumes. It happens to be edible as well, and it has even garnered recognition from various sectors for its being very eco-friendly.
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