The Philippines has 81 provinces subdivided into 145 cities and 1,489 municipalities. And each area has its own fiestas dedicated to their patron saints, myths, culture, and traditions. No wonder the country is called “The Land of Festivals” there are fiestas in the Philippines from January to December. Full of life parades, extravagant costumes, dazzling celebration, and a festive atmosphere highlight these fiestas.
There is a large crowd during these events, it is best to fill your tummy before going out and bring some provision in case you get hungry. A jug of water would be helpful to keep you hydrated especially during the peak of the day when the heat can be excruciating. Leave behind your precious belongings, these might be stolen when you are shoulder to shoulder with strangers. Rub on sunscreen to safeguard your skin from harsh elements and wear light clothes.
Foreigners in these festivals come as no surprise, they want an up-close experience whenever they visit these places. Their motto is to stay loose, have fun, gyrate to the beat of the music, dance in the street, and do what the locals do.
Get ready with your paper and pen or tablet for a list of famous Philippine festivals in 2018 with info on when and where to party!
- Feast of the Black Nazarene. This is celebrated on January 9 honoring the over hundred-year-old statue of the Black Nazarene with a procession that starts at the Quiapo church proceeds to different stops within Manila and goes back to the church. Millions of devotees from all over the country join the parade as a way of thanking the Black Nazarene for help during the previous year and aid to problems in the current year.
- Sinulog Festival. This is an annual festival held in Cebu City celebrated every January 15 or every second Sunday of January. Beckons millions of people from all over the world, with the pomp and pageantry of kaleidoscopic parade, religious observances, and grand presentations of locals.
- Ati-Atihan Festival. This feast is celebrated every third Sunday of January in Kalibo Aklan. This is the granddaddy of all festivals, the greatest and the leading Mardi Gras in the Philippines. Participants smear their body with soot to blacken the skin and garb in ethnic finery. They start the frenzied street parade with whistles and drums and catchy tribal beats peppered with shouts of “Hala Bira.”
- Panagbenga Festival. The celebration starts on February 24 in Baguio City. This is similar to the Rose Bowl Parade of the US featuring gigantic floats with beautiful flower adornments provided by local horticulturists.
- Moriones Festival. This is a week-long celebration that starts on March 25, Palm Sunday, in Marinduque. Male penitents in Longinus costume parade around the town. They reenact the story of Longinus, a centurion blind in one eye, who speared Jesus side and was able to see when Christ’s blood fell on his blind eye. Those in costume will roam the street an jostle people for some wholesome fun.
- Kadaugan sa Mactan. The event is celebrated on April 27 in Mactan to honor the triumph of Lapu-Lapu, local chieftain, over Magellan, Portuguese explorer.
- Pahiyas Festival. Celebrated every 15th of May in Lucban and Sariaya, Quezon as a thanksgiving festival for the bountiful harvest to San Isidro Labrador, a Spanish patron saint of farmers. Vegetables, fruits colorful kiping (rice wafers), and handicrafts decorate the houses that joined the festivities.
- Flores de Mayo. Literally translated it means “Flowers of May” and celebrated in the whole month of May in the Philippines. It is one of the devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary and is culminated by a Santacruzan, a procession commemorating the finding of the true cross, where Jesus was crucified, by Queen Elena.
- Parada ng mga Lechon. Meat Lovers mark June 24 on your calendar and the place to be is at Balayan, Batangas. Once the best decorated pig is determined eat all the roasted pig you want.
- Pagoda Festival. On July 4 in Bocaue, Bulacan a feast is held in honor of the Holy Cross of Wawa found in the river of Bocaue. Witness the Holy Cross mounted on a floating pagoda that is lavishly fashioned and garlanded with floras, banners, and other flashy fixings. The barge slithers down the river accompanied by a retinue of devoted riding on bancas.
- Kadayawan Festival. Celebrated in the third week of August in Davao as a thanksgiving festival for life, nature and abundant harvest. Participate in the street dancing parade, witness the gorgeous dabawenyas in beauty contest, feast your eyes in enchanting fireworks spectacle, and attention-grabbing boats festooned with flowers.
- Masskara Festival-Reserve October 4 for a visit in Bacolod to celebrate the Masskara Festival. Join the giant masquerade party highlighted by sports events, concerts and a beauty pageant. Indulge in the delicious food that the city has to offer.
- Giant Lantern Festival, San Fernando, Pamapanga. A month-long Christmas festival of giant, hypnotizing, and bright lanterns lanterns will dazzle your eyes. The best lantern makers in the land will show their wares in constructing a 14 to 18 feet in diameter lantern with kaleidoscope patterns that will gyrate to the beat of the music.
Click on Tourism Promotions Board Philippines (TPBPHL) for a complete list of the Philippine festival in 2018.