The Philippine festivals were influenced by Spain. Almost every city and municipality celebrate to honor their patron saint, the numbers are ginormous with 145 and 1,489 respectively spread all over the country. And this does not include the 42,029 barangays which have their own celebration of a fiesta.
But do you know that not all are in honor of patron saints? Some are commemorated to pay tribute to animals and crops – does this sound interesting? You will see participants elaborately dressed in indigenous get-ups mimicking the movement of an animal like a crab or a frog.
The days in a year won’t be enough to cover all of these festivals, so we have prepared a list of the out-of-the-ordinary fiestas for your bucket list of go-to places.
Lingayen is located in the province of Pangasinan, every April the town celebrates the Bagoong Festival honoring the talent of the makers and the rituals of the bagoong-making process.
To our expatriate friends, bagoong is a condiment made of fermented fish or shrimp. It goes well with green mangoes and kare-kare, beef stew, or mixed with vegetable to produce pinakbet. It tastes salty, producers mix it with sugar and chili to make it sweet and spicy.
The highlight of the celebration is the parade in the streets, participants wear bagoong inspired costumes and life-sized bagoong bottles made of straw. Other activities are the colorful float cavalcade, cooking exhibition matching bagoong with other dishes, and the bagoong making demo where the condiment is mixed with other ingredients to make it delicioso.
Summer isn’t summer without observing the Guyum-Guyuman festival celebrated every May in the municipality of Pontevedra, Capiz.
The feast was derived from Caguyuman, former name of Ponteverde, which means ant hill. Years back people would swarm the town like ants for commerce and trade. Products from the sea like fish, crabs, sea shells, and shrimp will be exchanged with the farm produce of vegetable and fruits.
Participants parade in the streets dressed in animal and farm produce costumes as they gyrate to the beat of the music. The search for the Festival Queen and the coronation town’s ambassadress of Goodwill are other colorful events that make the festival memorable. Capping the affair are the sound of booming speakers blasting disco music all night to promotes merrymaking and dancing in the streets.
Include the Castilla municipality, Sorsogon in your bucket list of go-to places in October for the Unod Festival. Unod, a local term for root crops. The feast is a celebration and thanksgiving for the bountiful harvest of agricultural products and an opportunity for farmers to showcase their wares.
The highlight is the Agro-Festival Fair showcasing the root crops that were preserved and made into candies, condiments, add on to food, and as an alternative to junk food. A grand parade of revelers dressed in exhilarating root crop inspired ensembles will keep those selfies clicking for mementos, street dance to the beat of the music and let it all hang out.
Scoot over to Davao City, Davao del Sur this August and celebrate the annual Kadayawan, treasured or valuable, Festival. The event commemorates the bountiful harvest by the locals.
During the festivity, there will be a splashy float parade, Pamutak, that will showcase the farm produce; street dancing competition, Indak-Indak sa Kadalanan; drum beating, Pitik Kadayawan;
trade fairs to buy products; art exhibits to display the talent of the locals; beauty pageants, and fireworks displays.
Most likely President Rodrigo Duterte will join the celebration that will entice revelers from other Mindanao provinces, expect more pomp and pageantry to the festival.
Do you like exotic dishes? Go to San Fernando City, Pampanga this November and witness how Kapampangans, locals, celebrate Piestang Tugak, Frog Festival.
The origin started during the rainy season, there were lots of frogs in the rice fields and waterways. As the Kapampangan town folks plant rice, children would snag frogs which signal
l jump and swallow the cloth, they are caught and placed in sacks. To remove the slime, they are dressed with ash, stuffed with sausage or minced meat, cooked, and PRESTO-Betute, a Kapampangan food delicacy. The ingenuity of the locals has transformed a single dish to a variety enough to fill a long table.
During the festival, tourists can enjoy street dancing with frog mascots as partners, frog catching competitions, and frog cooking demonstrations. And of course, Kapampangans wouldn’t want you to leave without sampling their sumptuous frog dishes.
Seafood lovers check out Lala, Lanao del Norte as they celebrate the Alimango, mud crab, Festival every March. This is an expression of their appreciation for a good harvest of alimango every so often.
Together with the sale and display fair is the Alimango Street Dance competition, participants are dressed in indigenous alimango inspired costumes. They are judged on how their body movements closely resemble the alimango. There is the fluvial parade passing through mangroves, a contest featuring the biggest alimango, a flurry of songs to entice visitors to dance in the streets, crab tying and racing competitions.
All these activities will make you tired and hungry, no worries this year’s host offered 1 ton of alimango to their visitors. Aaahhh… before you go bring some rice they don’t serve it.
Enjoy the moment, get amazed at the dexterity of Filipinos by turning something insignificant into something remarkable. Travel safely.