Mid-Year Festivals and Events in the Philippines

Mid-Year Events: Philippine Festivals and Activities to Take Part in

The Philippines is a land of vibrant traditions, rich cultural heritages, and many colourful festivals and events that celebrate the nation’s history, rich culture, religion, and community spirit. The country’s festive calendar reflects its colorful history and diverse influences, and it offers a remarkable experience for both locals and tourists alike. Metro Manila denizens take note of these popular festivals and plan their vacation leaves ahead of time.

festivals and events in the philippines | Source: https://images.gmanews.tv/webpics/2020/12/GLF21_2020_12_17_07_42_46.jpg
Photo taken by Gerald Gloton (source: https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/lifestyle/artandculture/768341/joyful-and-heartwarming-scenes-from-the-2020-giant-lantern-festival-in-pampanga/story/)

The celebration dates kick off with the lively Dinagsa Ati-atihan Festival in Aklan, Sinulog Festival in Cebu, and Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo City in January (the first to third week). These festivities, held in different regions, showcase Filipinos’ deep-rooted faith, a means to express gratitude for bountiful blessings, and their penchant for grand celebrations.

Festive atmosphere with street dances, intricate tribal costumes, lively music, beauty pageants, holy mass, and elaborate parades are familiar sights as communities come together to honor the Santo Niño, or the Child Jesus and Jesus Christ, in a display of gratitude and devotion.

Every January 23, the Halamanan Festival is celebrated in Guiguinto, Bulacan, the Garden Capital of the Philippines. Filled with flowers of thousand colors and variety, the festivity is a celebration of the country’s diverse plant, flowers, and tree varieties.

Not to be outdone, the summer capital of the country, Baguio City, holds the Panagbenga Festival or flower festival every February. Panagbenga is derived from a Kankanaey term meaning “season of blooming” which reflects the traditions of Baguio City and the Cordilleras.

As the year progresses, Holy Week and Easter Sunday stand out as significant religious events deeply ingrained in Filipino culture. Holy Week, known locally as “Semana Santa,” is observed with solemn processions, reenactments of Christ’s Passion, and various church activities. This period culminates in Easter Sunday, a day of joy and celebration marking Christ’s resurrection. Families gather for festive meals, and communities often participate in “Salubong,” a dawn ceremony that dramatizes the meeting of the risen Christ with His mother, Mary.

One popular religious festival during the Lenten Season is the Moriones Festival celebrated on the island of Marinduque during the entire Holy Week – from Holy Monday to Easter Saturday. During the festival, the men and women from the island don on costumes and masks worn by Roman soldiers.

From July to December, the country transforms into a lively hub of celebrations, with each festival offering a unique glimpse into the Filipino way of life. Events like the Kadayawan Festival in Davao and the MassKara Festival in Bacolod highlight the agricultural bounty and resilient spirit of the people. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, these festivals provide an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture, enjoy spectacular displays, and participate in various activities. The rich tapestry of Philippine festivals ensures that there’s always something to celebrate, making it a truly enchanting destination year-round.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to some of the most exciting festivals and events in the Philippines during the latter half of the year.

June: Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival

Image taken by Martinoy Absin Photography (source: https://www.beholdphilippines.com/tacloban-city-pintados-kasadyaan-festival/)

Kicking off the mid-year festivities in the Philippines is the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival, celebrated in Tacloban City, Leyte, every June 29th. This festival celebrates the region’s rich cultural heritage and history.

The “Pintados” refers to the body tattoos worn by the native warriors, symbolizing their courage and bravery. During the festival, you can witness street dancing, cultural performances, and a grand parade showcasing vibrant costumes adorned with intricate designs that tell stories of the region’s past. The festival is held in honor of the patron saint, Señor Santo Niño de Leyte, blending cultural and religious elements.

List of Other Festivals Celebrated in June

  • Pili Festival
  • Naro Festival
  • Pulang-Angui Festival
  • Tabak Festival
  • Pinyasan Festival
  • Ginubat Festival
  • Pinangat Festival

July: Magalleones Festival

The Magalleones Festival of Sorsogon is a vibrant celebration that pays homage to the municipality’s illustrious heritage as a prominent shipbuilding center in the Bicol peninsula during the Spanish colonial era.

This annual event commemorates the town’s historical maritime prowess and honors its revered Patroness, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. The festival’s highlight is the mesmerizing street dance presentations, where participants don colorful costumes and perform choreographed routines that tell the rich stories of shipbuilding and devotion. These performances bring the community together in a triumphant display of culture and faith, reflecting the enduring spirit and pride of the people of Sorsogon.

List of Other Festivals Celebrated in July

  • Grand Kaliga Festival
  • Spring Festival
  • Subayan Keg Subanen Festival
  • Pagoda Festival
  • Sublian sa Batangas
  • Kinabayo Festival

August: Kadayawan Festival

Image taken by Fpj455, from Wikipedia

In August, Davao comes alive with the Kadayawan Festival, a Thanksgiving festival that celebrates the bountiful harvest, the diverse cultures of the region’s indigenous tribes, and Davao’s foundation day.

The word “Kadayawan” is derived from the Mandaya word “madayaw,” meaning valuable or beautiful. The festival features a week-long celebration with various activities such as the “Indak-Indak sa Kadalanan” (street dancing), “Hiyas sa Kadayawan” (beauty pageant), and trade fairs showcasing local products. The vibrant costumes worn by the street dancers and the colorful floral floats are a sight to behold, making Kadayawan one of the most anticipated festivals in the Philippines.

List of Other Festivals Celebrated in August

  • Longganisa Festival
  • Tig-aw Festival
  • Coron Festival
  • Mercedes Kadagatan Festival
  • Higalaay Festival
  • Ibalong Festival

September: Penafrancia Festival

Image taken by Christopher Cruz (source: https://www.vigattintourism.com/tourism/articles/Peafrancia-Festival-2014-Asias-Biggest-Marian-Festival#google_vignette)

September marks the celebration of the Penafrancia Festival in Naga City, Camarines Sur. This religious festival honors Our Lady of Penafrancia, the patroness of Bicolandia.

The festival is a nine-day event filled with religious activities, processions, and novenas. The highlight is the fluvial procession, where the image of Our Lady of Penafrancia is paraded along the Naga River, accompanied by thousands of devotees. The festival also features cultural events, trade fairs, and street dancing, making it a perfect blend of faith and festivity.

List of Other Festivals Celebrated in September

  • Lapay Bantigue Dance Festival
  • Busig-On Festival
  • Diyandi Festival sa Iligan
  • Dahunog sa Dipolog
  • Bicol Food Festival

October: MassKara Festival

Image source: https://guidetothephilippines.ph/articles/history-culture/masskara-festival-bacolod-guide

Bacolod City, known as the “City of Smiles,” hosts the MassKara Festival every October. This festival celebrates the resilience and optimism of the Bacolodnons amidst challenging times.

The word “MassKara” is a fusion of the English word “mass” and the Spanish word “kara,” meaning face, thus “many faces.” The festival is famous for its street dancers wearing elaborate masks adorned with smiling faces, colorful costumes, and headdresses. The MassKara Festival also includes various activities such as food fairs, street parties, and dance competitions, making it one of the most vibrant and lively festivals in the Philippines.

List of Other Festivals Celebrated in October

  • Rahugan Festival
  • Mambulawan Festival
  • Parau Festival
  • Halaran Festival

November: Higantes Festival

Image taken by Ryan Eduard Benaid (source: https://www.judethetourist.com/higantes-festival-guide/)

The town of Angono in Rizal province celebrates the Higantes Festival every November. This unique festival celebrates the creativity and artistic talents of the locals, featuring giant papier-mâché effigies known as “higantes.” The festival is held in honor of San Clemente, the town’s patron saint, and includes a grand procession where the higantes are paraded through the streets. The event also features street dancing, cultural shows, and art exhibits, reflecting the town’s rich artistic heritage and community spirit.

List of Other Festivals Celebrated in November

  • Lambat Festival
  • Pintaflores Festival
  • Kalag-Kalag Festival
  • Sanduguan Festival
  • Kawayanan Festival

December: Giant Lantern Festival

Image source: https://culturalcreatives.org/festivals/giant-lantern-festival/

Usually held during the last week of December, the city of San Fernando in Pampanga, touted as the Christmas capital of the Philippines, lights up with the Giant Lantern Festival, also known as “Ligligan Parul.” This festival celebrates the artistry and craftsmanship of the local lantern makers, showcasing giant lanterns that can reach up to 20 feet in diameter.

The lanterns are illuminated with thousands of lights, creating mesmerizing patterns and designs. The festival is a competition among the different barangays (villages), each vying for the title of the best lantern. The Giant Lantern Festival is a testament to the creativity and ingenuity of the Filipino people, making it a must-see event during the holiday season.

List of Other Festivals Celebrated in December

  • Kahumayan Festival
  • Kamundagan Festival
  • Sinadya
  • Feast of the Immaculate Concepcion

Other Notable Festivals and Activities

The Colorful Pahiyas Festival | Image source: https://www.knorr.com/ph/tips-and-tricks/pahiyas-festival-food.html

Aside from the major festivals mentioned above, there are several other noteworthy events and activities to attend in the Philippines.

Zamboanga La Hermosa Festival

The Zamboanga La Hermosa Festival in October celebrates the rich cultural heritage of Zamboanga City, featuring street dancing, regattas, and trade fairs.

Pahiyas Festival

The Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Quezon, held in May but worth mentioning, showcases houses adorned with colorful decorations made from rice, fruits, and vegetables, celebrating the bountiful harvest and the town’s patron saint, San Isidro Labrador.

Experiencing Life, Culture, and Faith

The Philippines knows how to celebrate and is a place where you can truly experience life, culture, and faith. From July to December, the archipelago hosts many festivals and events that showcase the Filipino people’s rich cultural heritage, creativity, and community spirit.

Whether visiting the country for the first time or a seasoned traveler, these festivals offer an unforgettable experience filled with vibrant costumes, lively street dancing, and a deep sense of tradition and community.

So mark your calendars and get ready to immerse yourself in the joyous celebrations that the Philippines has to offer.

Communities as Vital as the Festivals

At Camella, we understand that a house is more than just a structure; it’s a home where families create lifelong memories. That is why our communities are strategically located to offer easy access to these vibrant cultural festivities, allowing our residents to fully embrace and participate in the rich traditions of the Philippines.

Camella provides the perfect starting point for families to explore and celebrate the beauty of Filipino culture. We are not just building houses but fostering communities that live, celebrate, and grow together.

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