It’s More Fun in the Philippines: Philippine Festivals You Need to Attend
Filipinos are known for their upbeat and outgoing personalities, so it is no wonder that celebrations or popularly known as fiestas keep springing up everywhere. Each of the 7,107 islands in the country has an occasion to celebrate throughout the year. These famous Philippine festivals often feature elaborate costumes, parades, and eye-catching processions. The fiestas commemorate the traditions of the indigenous ancestors as well as the Spanish colonizers that helped shaped the country we know today.
To help keep you in the loop for the Philippine festivals that are coming up later this year, here is a comprehensive list.
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Famous Philippine Festivals to Make You Fall in Love with the Philippines Even More
1. Sandugo Festival
When: Last Week of July, Tagbilaran City, Bohol
The Sandugo Festival takes place every year in Tagbilaran City located on the island of Bohol, Philippines. The festival commemorates the Friendship Treaty between Bohol chieftain, Datu Sikatuna, and Spanish conquerer Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. The festival is named so because the two sealed their agreement through a blood compact ceremony also known as sandugo.
When: August, around the Philippines
Muslims make up 11 percent of the total population of the Philippines. To pay respects to our brothers and sisters, the country observes Ramadan every ninth of the Islamic calendar. Ramadan is actually observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting. It is an annual observance that lasts 29–30 days worldwide.
3. Feast of our Lady of Snows
When: August 5, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental
According to a medieval legend, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to a man and asked him to construct the first temple in Rome dedicated to her. The temple finished construction on August 5, a hot summer day. Despite the scorching temperature, the Virgin Mary showered down snow as a form of gratitude, thus giving her the Marian title Our Lady of Snows.
4. Pav-vurulun Afi Festival
When: August 10–17, Tuguegarao, Cagayan
The country’s first-ever “fire” festival was born in 2014 after the city of Tuguegarao decided to celebrate the title as the hottest city in the Philippines. Pavvurulun and Afi are Ybanag words that mean “get-together” and “fire.”
5. Sirong Festival
When: August 15, Cantilan, Surigao del Sur
Sirong Festival is an ethnic mardi gras parade that takes place in Surigao Del Sur. According to legend, the apparition of the Virgin Mary appears every time Moro raiders would attack the coastal town of Cantilan. The story speaks of a woman who appeared on the shores of the town and helped in driving out the raiders.
6. Kadayawan sa Dabaw
When: August 20–24, Davao City
One of the most famous Philippine festivals out there, the Kadayawan Festival takes place every year in the city of Davao, Philippines. It is derived from the Dabawenyo word dayaw, which literally means good, valuable, or beautiful. The festival celebrates life and bountiful harvest.
7. Tuna Festival
When: September 3–5, General Santos City
The city of General Santos is known for two things: national boxing champion Manny Pacquiao and tuna, thus earning the title of the Tuna Capital of the Philippines. In fact, GenSan is one of the leading suppliers of yellow-finned tuna in the world. So it was no surprise that the scenic coastal city would create the Tuna Festival, which is commemorated every first week of September.
8. Kasadyaan Festival
When: September 9–11, Tupi, South Cotabato
The annual fiesta celebrates the foundation anniversary of the Municipality of Tupi. Festivities include a parade of carabao-drawn karitons as well as a lot of fun street dancing.