The 11 Most Popular Festivals in the Philippines

Sinulog Festival in Cebu
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Top Must-See Festivals in the Philippines

(Manila, Philippines) – Festivals are incredible in the Philippines and this is one of the reasons why It’s More Fun to visit every single island. Often including elaborate costumes, parades and processions, and demonstrating the integration of historical traditions from the indigenous as well as Spanish and Mexican influences that characterize the modern Philippines.

Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo - Most Popular Festivals in the Philippines
Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo – Most Popular Festivals in the Philippines

This is a quick summary of the 10 most popular festivals in the Philippines, but nothing compares to finding out more and going to take part in one yourself.

Feast of Black Nazarene

  • Location: Quiapo, Manila
  • Dates: January 9
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The procession of Black Nazarene in Manila
The procession of Black Nazarene in Manila (photo courtesy of denvie balidoy)

Considered as the largest annual religious procession in the Philippines, the Feast of Black Nazarene celebrates an over 200-year-old statue of a black Christ figure, said to bring good luck to those who participate or come to pay honor. The procession of barefoot men and women takes place in Quiapo, Manila on January 9th and Good Friday.

Sinulog Festival

  • Location: Cebu City
  • Dates: January 20

A woman during the Sinulog Festival
A woman during the Sinulog Festival (photo by George Parrilla)

Every third Sunday of January, Cebu City celebrates Santo Niño with Sinulog Festival. During the highlight of the festival, the streets are filled with energetic street dancers performing the traditional Sinulog dance wearing an intricate and colorful costume.

Kadayawan Festival

Kadayawan Street Dancers
Kadayawan Street Dancers

Kadayawan takes place in Davao and is a celebrated during the month of August with various events including ethnic dance demonstrations and competitions as well as a trade fair and exhibit. It’s a harvest celebration and is one of the most cheerful festivals in the Philippines.

Pahiyas Festival

  • Location: Lucban, Quezon
  • Dates: May 15

Lucban Pahiyas Festival
Lucban Pahiyas Festival

On May 15 every year, Lucban in Quezon celebrates Pahiyas Festival in honor of San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers. Fresh fruits and vegetables are set out on houses and buildings as decorations. The decorations are judged and the best is given awards and prizes.

Ati-Atihan Festival

  • Location: Kalibo, Aklan
  • Dates: Third Sunday of January

Ati-Atihan Festival (photo by Wikipedia)
Ati-Atihan Festival (photo by Wikipedia)

Another January festival, Ati-Atihan is the annual tribute to the baby Jesus in Kalibo, Aklan. Ati-Atihan legally holds the title “The Mother of All Philippine Festivals“. A celebratory display of costumes, weapons, music, and dance is meant to celebrate the Santo Niño.  The festival has inspired many other Philippine Festivals including the Sinulog Festival of Cebu and Dinagyang of Iloilo, both adaptations of the Kalibo Ati-Atihan Festival.

Dinagyang Festival

  • Location: Ilo-ilo City
  • Dates: 3rd Sunday of January

Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo City
Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo City

On the fourth Sunday every January in Iloilo City, Dinagyang Festival is another celebration of Jesus that includes a huge feast and a mascot called Dagoy who represents the traditional Aeta people of the islands. The Dinagyang is divided into three Major events: Ati-Ati Street Dancing, Kasadyahan Street Dancing and Miss Dinagyang. This is one of the fun Philippine Festivals you should not miss.

Masskara Festival

  • Location: Bacolod City
  • Dates: Fourth Sunday of October

Incredible costumes and days of celebrations are typical of Masskara festival in Bacolod City. It’s a giant masquerade party and one of the most fun and most widely known festivals in the Philippines. It’s held in the third week of October, on or around Oct 19th. The festival features a street dance competition where people from all walks of life troop to the streets to see colorfully masked dancers gyrating to the rhythm of Latin musical beats in a display of mastery, gaiety, coordination, and stamina.

Masskara Festival Performer
Masskara Festival Performer

Major activities include the MassKara Queen beauty pageant, carnivals, drum and bugle corps competitions, food festivals, sports events, musical concerts, agriculture-trade fairs, garden shows, and other special events organized ad-hoc every year.

Panagbenga Festival

  • Location: Baguio City
  • Dates: March 2-3 (Highlight)

Panagbenga Flower Festival
Panagbenga Flower Festival

Also known as the Flower Festival, this beautiful and celebratory event embodies many of the best things about the Philippines. Celebrating people dressed in beautiful, colorful, elaborate flower themed costumes. Baguio City turns into one big party during February each year for Panagbenga Festival.

Moriones Festival

  • Location: Marinduque Province
  • Dates: March 25-31

Marinduque Moriones Festival
Marinduque Moriones Festival

Holy Week leading up to Easter Sunday is celebrated in Marinduque with intricate Roman soldier costumes called Moriones. The wearers are both celebrated and a symbol of the self-cleaning of this time of year. They play tricks and cause trouble and their real identities are unknown. A huge search for Longino is undertaken on Easter Sunday and is sacrificed after being caught a third time. The drama is engaging and the crowd is involved, making this one of the most unique festivals in the country.

Higantes Festival

  • Location: Angono, Rizal
  • Dates: November 22-23

Higantes Festival (by IvanLakwatsero.com)
Higantes Festival (by IvanLakwatsero.com)

In Angono in Rizal, the Higantes Festival is another incredible example of the devotion and dedication that Filipinos put into their festivals. The Higantes, or giants, are huge paper mache people that can be as tall as 12 feet high and about five feet in diameter. It’s held on November 23rd and celebrates the patron saint of fishermen, San Clemente.

Bambanti Festival

  • Location: Ilagan City, Isabela Province
  • Dates: January 21 – 26
Bambanti Festival 2017 Street Dancers
Bambanti Festival 2017 Street Dancers

#Teamoutoftown was lucky enough to witness this festival for three consecutive years and each one of them was an amazing experience. Bambanti Festival is a yearly thanksgiving festival for an abundant harvest. “Bambanti” is an Ilocano word for a scarecrow, which the province considers as protection despite the common notion that it sows fear. The scarecrows are created with colorful straws and grasses wrapped in farmer’s clothing, bambanti has always been the icon and mascot of the festival.

Also Read: Bambanti Festival 2019

These are the Most Popular Philippine Festivals. How about you? What is your favorite Festival in the Philippines?

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