Top 15 Best Festivals In the Philippines for 2023
Filipinos love to get together for a good time. Hardly a day goes by without there being a celebration somewhere in the country. Vibrant festivals characterized by lots of creativity, artistry, and passion last anywhere from one day to a full month.
The Philippines is home to many vibrant and colorful festivals that reflect the country’s rich history, culture, and traditions. Some of the best festivals in the Philippines include Sinulog Festival in Cebu City, Ati-Atihan Festival in Kalibo, Aklan, Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo City, Panagbenga Festival in Baguio City, and Kadayawan Festival in Davao City. Each of these popular Philippine festivals features street dancing, parades, and cultural performances that showcase the unique traditions and customs of each region.
These celebrations are hugely cultural and partly religious, displaying the fun-loving spirit of Filipinos around the world. In these celebrations, the Filipinos’ history, traditions, and spiritual side come to the forefront.
Indeed, some of these celebrations are so grand that they’ve birthed many of the region’s most popular festivals. If you happen to be touring the Philippines any time this year, here are ten festivities that you can be a part of.
Date: Third Sunday of January
The Ati-Atihan Festival is regarded as the granddaddy of all festivities in the Philippines, and for a good reason. This religious festivity is one of the oldest Philippine celebrations and is widely touted as the country’s best and biggest Mardi Gras.
The celebration takes a whole week, reaching its peak on the third Sunday of the New Year. There’s usually a frenzied parade on the streets where celebrants with colorfully painted faces and indigenous costumes come out for a fun-filled march along the streets of Kalibo.
The highlights of this popular festival include mesmerizing tribal dances, loud drum beats, and Catholic rituals. Even if you only prefer to watch the proceedings from a distance, the experience is still truly memorable. It’s a mix of ingenious drama and religious ritual that has no equal.
Looking for a perfect place to stay in Kalibo? Visit Agoda for discounted rates!
Date: Third Sunday of January
Location: Cebu City
On the third weekend of January, Cebu City serves its own festival dish to rival any the world over. This festival, fondly known as Sinulog, brings together gifted residents of the city and the provinces beyond to showcase their talent through pageantry, street dancing, sports, and other events.
Thousands of people from the Philippines and the rest of the world attend this festival every year, putting it right there at the top with the other most attended festivals worldwide. Added to this kaleidoscope parade are numerous concerts that host the Philippines’ biggest and most exciting raves, making Cebu a haven for fun-loving partygoers.
Date: Fourth Sunday of January
Location: Iloilo City
On the fourth weekend of January, all roads lead to Iloilo City for an annual street party bringing the city to a standstill. Streets are usually closed during this festival, with bands playing on every corner and people enjoying endless food and drinks. There are towering boom boxes everywhere. Different tribes come together in this festival, with each making entertaining presentations and street dance routines.
There are highly competitive performances from different high schools, too. Once a simple celebration of Child Jesus, this festivity has become such a force that it has received several awards in the past, one of them for Best Tourism Event of the Philippines from the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines.
Date: February 1 – March 4
Location: Baguio City
February ushers in the “season of blooming.” This festival is a treat by Baguio City, one whose charm especially lies in its flora and fauna theme. Expect beautiful parades of floral floats in the city and children adorned with flora and fauna.
Feast your eyes on Session Road in Bloom, where the street is closed to allow for gorgeous flower carts, beautiful street dancing, and outdoor cafes. It’s a refreshing celebration for those coming from the frenzy of January celebrations.
Date: April 2-7
Location: Marinduque Province
Come Holy Week in the Philippines, people flock to the island province of Marinduque for a weeklong celebration of St. Longinus. Scores of people wear helmets to reenact the search of the saint by fellow centurions once he has converted to Christianity.
This is the same centurion who pierced Jesus’ side with a lance. The locals reenact the hunt theatrically, with one of the locals playing the saint while the rest, dressed as centurions, search for him.
Date: May 14-15
Location: Lucban Quezon
In May, Lucban treats people to a unique harvest festival called the Pahiyas. Residents of the area colorfully decorate their homes with farm produces. The display is done competitively, which adds to the glamor of the affair.
Come out with a basket and pick the product from the walls without paying if you wish. All those lush vegetables and fruits mentioned in the Bahay Kubo song are usually on display, especially the sigarilyas, sitaw, and talong.
Date: June 28- June 29
Location: Tacloban City, Leyte
This festival is the highlight of June for residents of Tacloban City. It is the fourth celebration in honor of Sto. Niño-the baby Jesus. Yes, Filipinos love to remind everyone to be childlike in their ways and treasure their children, placing their hopes in them.
This festival has been growing in popularity over the years as it sends a lot of participants to the next festival on this list, the Aliwan Fiesta.
Date: April 26-28
Location: CCP Complex Pasay City
The Aliwan Fiesta takes place in the last week of April. This festival is one of the newest in the country, having started in 2003. However, its wild popularity is rivaled by a few others in the country. Currently, the festival, which takes place in Pasay City, is lauded as the mother of all festivities in the country.
The festival is meant to promote the different cultures in the country and brings together thousands of young men and women to competitively showcase their colorful costumes and street dance routines, with the winner bagging a million pesos.
Location: Naga, Camarines Sur
Date: 3rd Satruday of September
The Penafrancia Festival is an annual religious festival held in the city of Naga in the Bicol region of the Philippines. The festival is in honor of Our Lady of Peñafrancia, the patroness of the Bicol region.
The festival takes place on the third Saturday of September and lasts for nine days. It features a series of religious and cultural events, including a fluvial procession where the image of Our Lady of Peñafrancia is carried on a brightly decorated barge down the Naga River. This is followed by a procession on land where devotees carry the image of the patroness on their shoulders, shouting “Viva la Virgen!”.
The festival also features a street dancing competition, where participants perform in colorful traditional costumes and carry images of the Virgin Mary. There are also beauty pageants, a trade fair, and cultural exhibits.
The Penafrancia Festival is a significant religious and cultural event in the Bicol region, attracting thousands of devotees and visitors from different parts of the country and around the world. It is a celebration of faith and devotion to Our Lady of Peñafrancia, and a showcase of the region’s rich culture and traditions.
Date: Third Week of August
Location: Davao City
Well into the year’s second half, Davao City brings residents and visitors together in the biggest celebration in Mindanao.
This festival takes place during the third week of August and features floral floats, beauty pageants, street dancing, and fireworks displays. This festival has all the hallmarks of a traditional Filipino festival.
Read: Kadayawan Festival 2022
Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta
Dates: Every 2nd week of February
Location: Clark Freeport Zone, Angeles City, Pampanga
The Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is back, and everyone is excited about it. The 4-day festival, which was previously held in Pampanga, has a new venue. The festival features activities to do with flying, skydiving, paragliding, and stunning hot air balloons, among others.
This festival is Asia’s longest-running event and will bring together aviators and tourists from around the world.
Giant Lantern Festival
Begins: December 17
Ends: January 1
Observed by: City of San Fernando, Pampanga
Significance: Celebrates the start of the Christmas season in the Philippines
The Giant Lantern Festival is a popular event held annually in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga, Philippines, every December. It is also known as the “Ligligan Parul” or the “Parul Sampernandu” in the local Kapampangan language. The festival is a celebration of the holiday season and the creativity of the local lantern makers.
The main highlight of the festival is the giant lantern competition, where participants create intricately designed and illuminated lanterns that measure up to 20 feet in diameter. The competition is divided into two categories – the traditional and the modern – and it attracts participants from different parts of the country.
The festival also features other events such as street dancing, cultural shows, and a grand fireworks display. The Giant Lantern Festival has become a significant cultural and tourist attraction in the Philippines, drawing in thousands of visitors each year.
Location: Angono, Rizal
Date: 22nd and 23rd Day of November
The Higantes Festival is a cultural event celebrated every November 23 in the town of Angono, Rizal, Philippines. The festival features giant paper mache effigies, known as higantes, which are made by local artisans and carried through the streets by the participants. The higantes measure up to 10 feet in height and are adorned with colorful clothing and hats.
The Higantes Festival is a celebration of the town’s patron saint, St. Clement, and its fishing heritage. According to the legend, the higantes were used by the fishermen to scare away the birds that would eat their catch.
During the festival, the participants parade through the streets, dancing to the beat of drums and other musical instruments. They also carry baskets of fruits and vegetables, which they offer to the crowd. The festival culminates with a procession to the church, where a Mass is held in honor of St. Clement.
The Higantes Festival is a unique and colorful celebration of the town’s culture and traditions, and it attracts both locals and tourists alike.
Zamboanga Hermosa Festival
Location: Zamboanga City
Date: October 12th
The Zamboanga Hermosa Festival, also known as the Fiesta Pilar, is an annual festival held in the city of Zamboanga, Philippines. The festival is celebrated every October in honor of the city’s patroness, Our Lady of the Pillar.
The Zamboanga Hermosa Festival features a variety of cultural and religious events, including a fluvial procession, a grand parade, and a regatta. The highlight of the festival is the street dancing competition, where participants wear colorful costumes and perform choreographed dances that showcase the city’s unique cultural heritage.
During the festival, the city comes alive with street vendors selling local delicacies, music and dance performances, and other cultural activities. It is a time for locals to come together and celebrate their heritage, and for visitors to experience the vibrant culture and traditions of Zamboanga.
The Zamboanga Hermosa Festival is an important part of the city’s cultural identity, and it has become a popular tourist attraction in the Philippines. It is a celebration of faith, culture, and community, and it showcases the rich history and traditions of the people of Zamboanga.
Location: Koronadal, South Cotabato
Date: 2nd Week of July
The T’nalak Festival is an annual event held in South Cotabato, a province in the southern Philippines. It is a celebration of the indigenous T’boli tribe’s culture and heritage, particularly their famous handwoven T’nalak cloth.
The festival is held every July and features a variety of cultural events, such as street dancing, parades, and cultural performances. The highlight of the festival is the “Hinugyaw sa T’nalak” street dancing competition, where participants wear colorful costumes made of T’nalak cloth and perform choreographed dances that showcase the T’boli culture and traditions.
Apart from the street dancing competition, the festival also features a trade fair where visitors can buy T’nalak products and other local handicrafts. There are also food stalls serving traditional T’boli cuisine, as well as cultural exhibits and demonstrations.
The T’nalak Festival is an important event for the T’boli community and serves as a platform to promote and preserve their cultural heritage. It also draws in visitors from different parts of the Philippines and around the world who are interested in experiencing and learning about the T’boli culture.
With a major celebration happening somewhere in the country virtually every month of the year, the Philippines is indeed the land of colorful and exciting festivals. For the fun-loving tourist looking for some unforgettable action, there’s always something on offer all year round.
Manila Travel and Tour Packages
Searching for the best hotels and affordable flights? Check out our complete list of affordable hotels and resorts via Agoda, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.
Want more updates about upcoming festivals in the Philippines? Please follow #TeamOutofTown, on Facebook, and Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for more travel ideas.