Festivals in the Philippines: Part 2
Filipinos are joyful people by nature. They also love festivals, which have been ingrained deeply in their culture since the old times. When it comes to celebration, they never fail to make these popular Philippine festivals more eventful by just being themselves.
We featured different festivities celebrated during the first quarter of the year in the first installment of this article series, and now we’re back with more popular Philippine festivals that held during summer.
A Quick Guide to Popular Philippine Festivals
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Every Holy Week, Boac, Gasan, and Mogpog, Marinduque
Moriones is an annual dramatization of the life of the legendary St. Longinus held in Marinduque every Holy Week, where participants wear costumes complete with masks posing as old Roman Soldiers. St. Longinus was the near-blind centurion who pierced Jesus with his spear and got his sight back after some of Jesus’s blood splattered on his eyes. He later converted to Christianity.
Araw ng Kagitingan
Every 9th of April, Mount Samat, Bataan
Araw ng Kagitingan or Day of Valor is a day of commemoration of the fallen soldiers during the Fall of Bataan, Philippines’s last stronghold during World War II. It is said that the 70,000 sick, tired, hungry, and injured U.S. and Filipino troops who surrendered to the Japanese soldiers were forced to hike (known as Death March) under the scorching heat of the sun from Bataan to Tarlac, which is a good 128 kilometers in distance.
San Pedro Cutud Lenten Rites
Every 16th–18th of April, San Fernando, Pampanga
Every Holy Week, in a far off village in San Fernando, Pampanga, particularly in Barangay San Pedro Cutud, pilgrims and tourists flock to watch the Way of Cross or the reenactment of Christ’s Passion and Death. This is one of the popular Philippine festivals that many look forward to. During the event, penitents are nailed literally to a wooden cross on top of an improvised calvary.
Pabasa ng Pasyon
Every 21st of April, San Juan, Batangas
Pabasa ng Pasyon is a traditional Filipino ritual involving continuous chanting, in these modern times, singing instead of just reading the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. During the event, participants are divided into two groups who will then sing the lyrics alternately. This ritual can go on as long as three days and ends in merrymaking.
Kadaugan sa Mactan
Every 27th of April, Cebu City
Kadaugan sa Mactan is also one of the popular Philippine Festivals held annually in Mactan, Cebu. It highlights the reenactment of the historic battle of the local hero Lapu-Lapu and Spanish invader Ferdinand Magellan some 490 years ago. What makes this event even more attractive are the people who portray the major roles, who are usually known local celebrities.
Flores de Mayo/Santacruzan
Whole month of May, nationwide
One of the most awaited festivities during the month of May is the Santacruzan. Every day, beginning on the first day of the month, children walk down the aisle of the church and offer flowers to the Virgin Mary as a tribute for her help in bringing rain after the dry season so flowers could bloom. At the end of the month, beautiful ladies with good-looking gentlemen as their escorts are chosen to join the parade, and they wear colorful and lovely costumes under the hand-carried bamboo structure adorned with various flowers. This festivity is observed throughout the country.
Obando Fertility Rites
Every 17th–19th of May, Obando, Bulacan
In this festivity, thousands of childless couples from across the country flock to Obando, Bulacan, to join the ritual known as Sayaw sa Obando, in which couples dance to an ancient rhythm, believing it will improve their chance of conceiving. This rite is a combination of Filipinos’ earliest practices and religious beliefs.
Every 24th–31st of May, Pili, Camarines Sur
Kaogma means happiness in the local language. It’s the biggest and most exciting festival in Bicol Region. During the nine-day-long celebration, the guests and tourists can enjoy the colorful parade, lively street dancing, exciting performances, and appearances by local bands and celebrities. But its main activities are mostly extreme sports competitions including wakeboarding, skateboarding, motocross, and off-road driving. If you’re in the area during those dates, never miss the chance to be part of the “world’s hottest festival.”
Every 12th of June, nationwide
Every 12th of June, Filipinos raise their flags to celebrate the nation’s independence. Though the country had been declared independent six times (first was by Andres Bonifacio on April 12, 1895), it was the declaration of Pres. Emilio Aguinaldo in 1898 in Kawit, Cavite, that is recognized and celebrated.
Every 27th or 29th of June, Tacloban, Leyte
Pintados Festival in Tacloban is a combination of cultural and religious celebration held in honor of Sr. Santo Niño. Dancers are body-painted with patterns resembling tattoos of ancient Filipino warriors who once walked on the island many years ago. After the street dancing with movements that depict ancient traditions that existed long before the first Spaniards came, celebration follows, which anyone can join.