Your 2019 Guide to Philippine Festivals

by Anna Maria Cos Alcantara

Everyone at some point has learned some of these festivals from their Sibika class – why not include them in your 2019 travel list?

JANUARY – Sinulog Festival, Cebu City
Usually set around the third week of January, this festival celebrates the Santo Nino, but the actual Sinulog dance ritual commemorates the pagan past of the Filipinos. This festival also commemorates the acceptance of Christianity. But really, people come for the street parties!

Ati-Atihan, Aklan
Just like the Sinulog festival, this celebration honors the Santo Nino. But unlike the colorful features of the Sinulog, people paint their bodies black and parade their traditional costumes and weapons.

FEBRUARY – Panagbenga Festival, Baguio
Unlike the first two mentioned the usually last about a week long, this festival is celebrated all throughout the month of February. This festival commemorates the 1990 earthquake, and also highlights the blooming of the flowers. Tourists can expect flower- inspired costumes and colder temperature around this time.

MAY – Pahiyas Festival, Lucban
Every May 15, Lucban locals decorate their houses with lively colors in celebration of the season of harvesting. Did you know that you can bring your own basket and pick fresh vegetables from the walls all over town for free?

JUNE – Pintados-Kasadayan Festival, Tacloban
Just like the Sinulog and Ati-Atihan, this festival also celebrates the Santo Nino. This festival also celebrates the history and culture of the province of Leyte, where dancers paint their bodies with blue and green to symbolize their ancestors.

OCTOBER – Masskara Festival, Bacolod
This festival is actually celebrated by 20 days of beer, street parties, and all around festivities. While other festivals commemorate saints, this festival was a form of escape whenever it is the dead season of sugar harvest.

DECEMBER – Lantern festival, San Fernando

In this proudly local festival, all lanterns are required to be locally sourced and showcased in a parade in each barrio on Christmas Eve. This is why this town is called the “Christmas Capital of the Philippines”

This is really just a short list of the many festivals held around the country, but a great way to further appreciate how rich the Philippine culture is.

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