December Festivals 2012

Get into a celebratory spirit with these various fiestas all over the country.

By TravelBook
December 01, 2012

Christmas isn't the only occasion Filipinos celebrate in December. Check out this overflowing list from feasts dedicated to saints to colorful lantern parades for a sample of the many festivals Pinoys love.

Immaculate Conception Day
December 8 | Cotabato City

December 8 is Immaculate Conception Day, which refers to the Blessed Virgin Mary's conception without original sin. Roman Catholics nationwide celebrate it with various cities staging their own processions and festivities. In Cotabato City, this feast often includes a civic-military parade, cultural shows, and sports competitions.

Kasadyaan Festival (Mardi Gras)
December 12-14 | Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental

This is a 50-year tradition known as the longest parade in Dumaguete. It was created to complement the city's Christmas festivities. Grand costumes characterize the parade, and events like beauty pageants and booth presentations are also included in the festival activities.

Shariff Kabunsuan
December 15-19 | Cotabato City/Maguindanao

This festival is a celebration of Shariff Kabunsuan's arrival in Rio Grande de Mindanao 500 years ago to introduce Islam. Among events during the festival are street dancing competitions and a thanksgiving banquet (called Kanduli).

Giant Lantern Festival
Photo by studio_juan via Flickr Creative Commons

Giant Lantern Festival
December 15-30 | San Fernando, Pampanga

This annual festival in San Fernando, Pampanga, celebrates creativity and Christmas spirit with a competition of giant lanterns. Sizes range from 14 to 18 feet in diameter. This festival of lights is highlighted with music from bands.

Simbang Gabi
December 16-24 | Nationwide

Simbang Gabi, a nine-day ritual in which Filipinos go to mass, culminates in the Misa De Gallo—midnight mass—on Christmas Eve. According to tradition, those who complete all nine days can have one of their wishes granted.

Tultugan Festival
December 21-27 | Maasin, Iloilo

The Tultugan Festival is a commemoration of Maasin's heritage and its primary export, bamboo. Events include a street dance competition with participants in tribal costumes performing to bamboo instruments.

Jose Rizal Monument in Dapitan
Photo by VisualTreats via Flickr Creative Commons

Handuraw Festival
December 27-31 | Dapitan City

December 30 is a commemoration of national hero Jose Rizal's death anniversary. While the event is a national holiday, it is most popular in Dapitan City where he was exiled for four years. The Handuraw Festival celebrates him and his life work through events like lectures, street dancing, film showings, and more.