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12 Festivals in the Philippines - One-of-a-Kind Customs, Events, and More!

The Philippines is a very culturally rich country, with amazing and colourful festivals all year round. Every month and every city has its own vibrance popping out of their festivals for at least a week, nothing less. The Filipinos have a strong celebration game. 

1. Ati-Atihan Festival

Originally observed about 800 years ago, the Ati-Atihan celebration is among the oldest in the Philippines. The third Sunday in January is the opening mass of this festival of Santo Nino, the child Jesus. The indulgence of visitors and tourists is what makes Ati-Atihan so wonderful. You can very easily put on your dance shoes and join the show; you don't have to just watch from the sides. Joining the drum beats with colorful and joyful faces is open to everyone. Chantings of "Viva! Santo Niño!" and "Hala Bira! Pwera Pasma!" will also be heard during this festivity. 

Date: January 15, 2023

Location: Kalibo, Aklan, Panay

2. Sinulog Festival

Santo Nino celebrations are major national holidays. The Ati-Atihan Sinulog Festival is another major celebration held in Cebu in commemoration of Santo Nino. The street dancers call their step "sinulog," which translates to "like the water current." It moves in a kind of wave, two steps forward and one back. The dance rite symbolizes the conversion of the Filipino people to Christianity from their pagan background. There is a lot of dancing, food stands, trade fairs, processions, parades, and parties during the festival. All get together for this celebration to honor and commemorate Cebu's patron saint. 

Dates: January 15, 2023

Location: Cebu City

3. Kaamulan Festival

The Kaamulan Festival combines elements of a datukship ceremony, a peace treaty between tribes, a thanksgiving ceremony, and a wedding ceremony. An actual ethnic celebration, this festival honors the lifeblood of tribes and their customs. Seven ethnic Filipino tribes—Bukidnon, Talaandig, Tigwahanon, Manobo, Umayamnon, Matigsalog, and Higaonon—are the hosts. Originating from the verb "amul," which means "to gather," To exhibit their traditional dances, crafts, and clothing, the tribes get together.

Seeing this festival is quite lovely. Along with these customs and ceremonies are Pag Ampo (general worship), Tagulambong hu Datu (chieftain installation ceremony), Panumanod (spiriting ceremony), Panli Sig (rite to drive away evil spirits), and Pamalas (sin atonement ceremony).

Date: March 23 to April 23, 2023

Location: Malaybalay City, Bukidnon

4. Moriones Festival

Most likely the most vibrant and spectacular celebration in the Philippines is the Moriones Festival. It concerns the biography of St. Longinus, the centurion who wounded Jesus with a spear during the crucifixion. Many literally recreate Longinus' post-crucifixion search. Playfully frightening the city's kids, they disguise themselves as Roman troops and hide among homes. Observing such an act is fascinating. 'Morion' actually refers to the 'helmet of Roman warriors'. This event perfectly combines pomp and mysticism to provide a theatrical view into the national customs.  

Date: April 2-8, 2023

Location: Island of Marinduque

5. Panagbenga Festival

Optimistic and the most beautiful Panagbenga Festival in the nation. It commemorates Baguio City's recovery following the earthquakes that rocked Luzon in 1990. 'Panagbenga' in Kankanaey refers to 'A Season of Blossoming'. Beautiful, in bloom flowers adorn the entire city. Throughout its whole month-long duration, it features a Grand Float Parade in which enormous flower-based floats representing various characters are on exhibit.

Participants, celebrities, and regional performers dance to Cordilleran music in the dance and costume competition. Main celebration locations are Burnham Park and Session Street. This celebration makes Baguio City the Philippines' Summer Capital. 

Dates: February 2023

Location: Baguio City

6. Giant Lantern Festival

With a whole month of enormous lanterns illuminating San Fernando City, the Philippines' Christmas Capital, the Giant Lantern Festival celebrates Christmas the correct way. Particularly on the weekend before Christmas Eve, when there is a competition for the biggest lantern in the city, it exudes the ideal festive atmosphere. The only requirement of the competition is the use of locally available materials, thus people start making these lanterns a month before the event. Before Christmas midnight mass, each Pampanga barrio has a colourful parade of lanterns that tower over 15 feet in diameter. San Fernando City is a wonderful location to spend Christmas. 

Dates: December 2023

Location: San Fernando City

7. Dinagyang Festival

The Hiligaynon word "dinagyang" translates to "merrymaking". It celebrates the Santo Nino and the agreement reached between the Datus and the natives following the entrance of Malay settlers. The country's street culture is best seen during this festival. Competitive street dancing competition involving tribes, barangays, and schools is held on the fourth Sunday of January. It also allows you to partake in a stylish street party complete with regional cuisine and beverages. There is a celebration with a parade of tableaus of folkloric situations and body paint-covered dancers wearing flamboyant and gaudy costumes in the closed streets. It is an incredibly joyous celebration. 

Date: January 13-22, 2023

Location: Iloilo City

8. Pahiyas Festival

Filipino inventiveness in the decorations and celebrations of the Pahiyas Festival is evident. San Isidro Labrador is honored as farmers' patron saint for a bountiful crop. There is a costumed, enormous paper-mache, and artistically constructed march of the locals. The decorations are what catch my attention. Fruits, veggies and vibrant Kiplings—traditional Filipino leaf-shaped wafers made of glutinous rice—decorate the residences and floats.

Even better, guests can enjoy all of this fresh vegetables. Free of charge, people can collect this product from homes and savour regional specialties like kaldereta and Lucban longganisa. Additionally recognized is the house with the greatest décor. 

Dates: May 15 2023

Location: Lucban, Quezon

9. Kadayawan Festival

Originating from the Dabawon word "madayaw," which means "good, valuable, and superior," "kadayawan" is a native term. This holiday has to do with customs around thanksgiving and is a feast of gratitude. The residents thank their aboriginal ancestors for a bumper crop and honor them. Fresh fruit and vegetables as well as handicrafts adorn the streets. Along with horse races, beauty pageants, boat races and a firework display, there is also a parade of colourful floats painted with fruit and flowers. 

Dates: August 14-20, 2023

Location: Davao City

10. Masskara Festival

You really should not miss the Philippine Masskara Festival if you enjoy parties. Both the celebration itself and the reason behind it are excellent complements. It started off in 1980 as a means of escaping the circumstances. The townspeople realized the veiled metaphor by donning happy masks in spite of adversities. It is observed in a similar way as today. Putting on happy masks, people take part in a masquerade party complete with food, beverages, and street dance.

Using paints, feathers, beads, and flowers, the masks are vibrantly adorned. Unique competitions at the event include downing coconut milk and chasing after a pig. during three million people attend the festival during its twenty days. Also held is a parade with floats decked out with music and lights dubbed the Electric Masskara. 

Date: October 22, 2023

Location: Bacolod City

11. Higantes Festival

Based on the Angono mythology, the Higantes Festival informs us about "hingates," or enormous paper mache created by the villagers to oppose the Spanish inquisition. And these days, the Higantes Festival incorporates beautiful paper mache sculptures. Celebrated to honor San Clemente, the town's patron saint. The inhabitants throw a feast celebration for guests by opening their homes and restaurants. Every barrio has paper mache structures as long as twelve feet.

During the higantes parade, participants are sprayed with holy water as part of basaan, one of the many ceremonies held at this time for good fortune. This event is another reason Agono is sometimes referred to as the Philippines' Art Capital. 

Date: November 22 and 23, 2023

Location: Angono, Philippines

12. Pintados Festival

Probably because of its unadulterated cultural richness, the Pintados Festival has been the most looked forward to since 1987. The native people who lived here before the Spanish arrived are honored through this event, along with their way of life. Locals with tattoos and tattooed bodies can be seen all over the street, including the Pintados, the tribe of Leyte and Samar. It is commemorated with dance, music, and the vivid shades of blue and green, which stand for the valiant soldiers of the past. 

Date: June 27, 2023

Location: Tacloban City