It’s October: Festivals Around the Philippines to Be Excited About
The Philippines is one of the countries with the most number of festivals in the world. The feasts in a single month alone will show you just how many there are in a year. A little over a week into October and there have been over thirty festivals that have gone by!
If you are meaning to witness the diversity of cultures thriving in the barangays, towns, cities, and provinces in the Philippines this month, here are the countless other chances that October can offer you.
October Festivals Around the Philippines to Choose From
When: Entire October
Where: Angeles City
Scroll down for the videos
Fiestang Kuliat is the longest feast in the country. Celebrated during the whole month of October, the feast venerates the patron saints of the city and preserves local culture and tradition through its festivities, activities, parties, traditional games, and pageants. The feast also celebrates the resiliency of the Kapampangans after the devastating Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991.
One of the things that make the Fiestang Kuliat unique is that the month-long celebration encompasses three feast days:
- the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels (held every first week of October)
- La Naval Festival in honor of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary whose intercession saw the victory of the Spanish felt over the Dutch invaders (every second Sunday of October)
- Fiestang Apo in honor of Apu Mamacalulu (every last Friday of October)
Fiestang Kuliat culminates in the Tigtigan at Tarakan Keng Dalan (literally “music and dancing on the streets”) on the last Friday and Saturday of October, where locals and tourists alike enjoy two nights of music, dancing, and overflowing drinks.
When: October 1
Where: Gloria, Oriental Mindoro
The Kawayanan Festival celebrates the abundance of bamboo in the locality through street dancing performances, costumes made of bamboo materials, and a trade fair that sells and displays bamboo products.
When: October 1
Formerly known as Isla del Fuego (literally island of fire) by the Spaniards due to the swarms of fireflies that light up the island at night, Siquijor named its main festival the Dilaab Festival—dilaab meaning “blazing.” The Dilaab Festival is celebrated to appreciate the natural beauty of Siquijor and to honor the island’s patron saint, St. Francis of Assisi, who is known as a lover of nature.
When: October 1 to 2
Where: Pasay City
Talulot is named after the Filipino word for petal, in honor of St. Therese of the Child Jesus who is as well-known as God’s little flower. The Philippine festival is a vibrant and wondrous spectacle of music, dance, and other local talents.
When: October 1 to 4
Where: Talisay, Camarines Norte
Representing the municipality’s heritage and main product, which is rice, the Paruyan Festival is celebrated through several activities including a street dance competition and a beauty pageant. Paruyan is derived from the Bicolano root word paruy, meaning palay.
When: October 1 to 7
Where: Castilla, Sorsogon
Unod Festival is a celebration and thanksgiving of the bountiful harvest of rich agricultural resources in the municipality and an opportunity for the farmers to display their products, which are usually root crops.
When: October 1 to 7
Where: Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte
Held in honor of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, the festival aims to forge unity and cooperation among the community through showcasing the town’s best in promoting culture and arts and revitalizing the mining industry.
When: October 1 to 12
Where: Pilar, Sorsogon
The patience, determination, and ingenuity of Pilareño descendants as shipbuilders are shown through the Parau float competition and their victory over the sufferings and agony from the brutality of Spaniards are showcased through street dancing.
When: October 4
Where: Dumanjug, Cebu
The term sinanggiyaw comes from the two Cebuano words: sinanggi, meaning the harvested crops or the way/method of harvesting the crops, and the last syllable “-yaw” for sayaw or “to dance.” To celebrate, the townspeople showcase handicrafts, agricultural products, and a street dancing competition with steps that depict planting, harvesting, and thanksgiving.
When: October 5
Where: Cardona, Rizal
The Pagoda Festival is observed to ask for a bountiful lake by throwing bread into the water, praying symbolic of prayers for abundance of the sea through the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi, and witnessing a colorful fluvial parade participated in by various sectors.
When: October 6
Where: Cardona, Rizal
For years, the bells in the tower (la torre) of the church belfry at Cardona announced cultural events and issued warnings in the advent of unforeseen calamities. Today the people celebrate the sound of the bells colorfully with the music of brass bands as a symbol of hope that Cardona may always remain in the grace of God.
When: October 8
Where: Glan, Sarangani
Almost 90 percent of the Glan’s total land area is planted with coconuts, naming the town the Coco Queen of the South. Lubi-Lubi Festival reflects the old traditions of Glan celebrated through festive group dance competitions, each showcasing a particularly old religious belief of the people about the coconut tree. Animistic beliefs are brought to life in choreography by rituals of reverence to the tree as a source of blessings such as wind, water and rain, fire, good health, and even life.
When: First Friday of October
Where: San Jose, Batangas
In celebration of World Egg Day, Eggstravaganza Festival highlights the dominant business of San Jose, Batangas, as a town: poultry farming. This is also their way of thanking St. Joseph, their patron saint, for the success of their business. The town celebrates it with street dancing, contests, programs, and fun-filled activities to entertain local folks and tourists.
When: October 9 to 12
Where: Lutayan, Sultan Kudarat
Kanduli is a Maguindanaoan term that literally means “offering.” The Kanduli Festival is a thanksgiving celebration showcasing the rich culture and traditions of the people of Lutayan.
It is conducted during the celebration to give thanks to Allah for the blessings he has extended and to sustain these blessings and ask for more for the improvement of lives of every people in the community. The barangays of Lutayan set up booths displaying agricultural products, traditional foods, and Muslim delicacies.
When: October 10
Where: Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro
The Karakol Festival of Mamburao in Occidental Mindoro is celebrated in honor of Our Lady of the Pillar. This parade is a festive celebration in the streets of the town where parishioners joyfully carry the patron saint with jovial music, dancing, and praising with the belief that they will be blessed with a prosperous life and good health. Street dancers wear colorful dresses and hats decorated with fresh flowers.
When: October 10
Where: Tagum City, Davao del Norte
The word kaimonan literally translates to “gathering.” The Kaimonan Festival is a gathering of the four dominant tribes in Tagum City—namely, Mansaka, Mandaya, Kalagan, and Dibabaon—to celebrate a bountiful harvest and to give thanks to Magbabaya, their God. This celebration showcases different rituals, tribal songs, and dances.
When: October 10 to 12
Where: Zamboanga City
Hermosa Festival, also known locally as Fiesta Pilar, honors Our Lady of the Pillar. In commemoration of her feast day, Zamboanga displays its devotion and enthusiasm with a nine-night procession, fireworks, an ethnic parade, a cultural show, a colorful regatta, and the Miss Zamboanga parade.
When: October 10 to 22
Where: Ormoc City
Tugob is a Visayan word that means “bountiful” or “abundant.” Because of the abundance of coconut, rice, pineapple, livestock, minerals, sugarcane, vegetable, fish, steam, and water, Ormoc City celebrates the Tugob Festival alongside the city’s charter day on October 20. Clad in brilliant clothing, participants stomp their feet, raise their arms, slap their thighs, and applaud and yell as one as they express gratitude toward the Lord for a plentiful reap and for giving the city a variety of natural resources.
When: October 12 to 15
Where: San Fernando City, Pampanga
Tugak is the Kapampangan term for frog. The citizens of San Fernando have reserved a special day every year to honor this amphibian because of its important contributions to the environment, the economy, and culture. This festival exhibits the traditional way of catching frogs with a bamboo rod and showcases various culinary ways in preparing frogs.
When: October 14
Where: Oroquieta City, Misamis Occidental
This festival showcases tribal performance in honor to the city’s patron saint, Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, and as a tribute to the Subanen tribe inhabiting along the numerous rivers inside the Mt. Malindang Ranges Natural Park. Live music and ethnic musical instruments such as bamboos, gongs, and native drums provide accompaniment to street dances. Performers dress up in ethnic costumes while performing rituals in the street and dancing to the rhythm of the parade.
When: October 14 to 24
Where: Calaca, Batangas
The Calacatchara Festival usually runs for a week and ends on October 24, the feast day of the town’s patron saint, St. Raphael the Archangel. During this ten-day period, you’ll see activities like pageants, concerts, dancing, singing, and other competitions.
Halad Inasal Festival
When: October 15
Where: Talisay City, Cebu
The city of Talisay in Cebu is well-known for its inasal na baboy or roasted pig. After the town became an independent parish under the advocating of St. Teresa de Avila, the people began to go out on the streets, dance, and parade their showcase of roasted pigs with their colorful costumes and decorated carts.
When: October 16 to 17
Where: Tubod, Lanao del Norte
Lanao del Norte is a banana-growing province, and the town of Tubod is one of its biggest producers. In fact, Tubod yields thirty amazing varieties of bananas! Thus the town celebrates the bounty of its land and the fruits of its people’s labor. This weeklong festival showcases artistic presentations of their banana produce, as well as other products like handicrafts, through an annual booth competition participated by all barangay and local government agencies. Aside from this booth competition, the festival is also celebrated through a pageant, street parties, and dances.
When: October 16
Where: Mansalay, Mindoro Oriental
Locals of Mansalay celebrate the Pamugu-an Festival as an annual reunion of the different Mangyan tribes. There are sports events (Palaro ng Lahi), cultural presentations, product demonstrations, and an exhibit of native products.
When: Fourth Sunday of October
Where: Bacolod City, Negros Occidental
Every fourth Sunday of October, the streets of Bacolod become filled with street dancers in colorful costumes, masks, and headdresses. Concerts, food fests, street parties, and revelry keep the city awake for a week more. This festival was actually born at a time of economic crisis and tragedy. To make ends meet, a couple of artists proposed the idea of making masks through paper-mache as an alternative livelihood for the city. The masks brought back the smile on the gloomy faces of the locals, and since then, Bacolod has been nicknamed the City of Smiles.
When: October 22
Where: Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental
Buglasan is a provincial event where all the municipalities, cities, and towns of Negros Oriental come together and celebrate to promote and conserve the diversity of the province’s heritage through dances, songs, food, rituals, stories, and many more. The festival is named in honor of the original name of the province of Negros: Buglas.
When: October 22
Where: Rosario, Cavite
Just like many coastal towns in the Philippines, Rosario is well-known to be a fisherman’s town. The making of tinapa or smoked fish, which is branded as tinapang Salinas among the townsfolk, remains to be the town’s primary cottage industry. This festival promotes Rosario as the tinapa capital of the nation.
When: October 24 to 31
Where: Tagum City
The Pakaradjan Festival exhibits the culture of the diverse Muslim clans in Tagum City, Davao del Norte, with a shared objective, that is, to safeguard, advance, and commend the custom of the five overwhelming clans in Tagum City: the Ka’agan, Maranao, Maguindanao, Tausog, and Iranon. It is a celebration of music, dances, and cultural presentation to the beat and rhythm of the kulintang, dobakan, and agong.
When: October 25 to 28
This festival is celebrated in honor of the lanzones tree, the most important source of livelihood of Camiguin. The main town on the island, Mambajao, is the center of the festival celebrations, which include cultural shows, street dancing, and a beauty pageant.
When: October 25 to 28
Where: Legazpi City, Albay
Ibalong Festival is a yearly non-religious, folklore-based celebration depicting Bicol’s early beginnings, based on the epic written by the late Professor Merito Espinas, which tells of mythical superheroes, villains, monsters, and wild animals in the ancient times. Giant masks depicting characters of the Bicol epic of Ibalong are paraded the streets. Other attractions include street carnivals, musical performances, firework displays, and many more.
When: October 27
Where: Botolan, Zambales
The Aeta Festival showcases the culture and arts of the Aeta tribe in the province of Zambales, a celebration that also coincides with the celebration of Indigenous People month. Highlights of this event are ethnic performances like dances, music playing, songs, and indigenous games.
When: Last week of October
Where: Mati City, Davao Oriental
Sambuokan is a Mandaya word taken from the term buok, which means “one,” signifying the oneness of the people of Mati. The festival is a celebration of thanksgiving for the year’s blessings and bountiful harvest. It is also celebrated with the founding anniversary of the city, which is on October 29. The event is a long-week celebration highlighted with the neo-ethnic Indak-Indak sa Kadalanan street dancing competition and other remarkable activities like concerts, musical showdowns, trade fairs, exhibits, beach parties, pageants, boat races, skimboarding and photography competitions, and many more.
When: October 30
Where: Pavia, Iloilo
Tigkaralag, from the Hiligaynon root word kalag, meaning soul, is Pavia’s way of celebrating Halloween. Now on its twentieth year, eighteen contesting barangays in scary masks and costumes amuse visitors with horror stories interpreted through dance amid a very large crowd on a chilly evening. Tigkaralag opens at the public plaza with a parade of the contesting barangays carrying torches.
It is indeed more fun in the Philippines. Enjoy the festivities!