Top 10 Festivals In the Philippines photo by Herbert Kikoy via Unsplash
in ,

Top 15 Best Festivals in the Philippines You Should Experience

The Biggest and Most Exciting Philippine Festivals

Top 15 Festivals to Look Out For In the Philippines (2023 Edition)

Filipinos love to get together for a good time. Hardly a day goes by without a celebration somewhere in the country. Vibrant festivals characterized by creativity, artistry, and passion last from one day to a month.

Aliwan Fiesta Streetdancer by Clark Valera via Flickr Creative Commons

Aliwan Fiesta Streetdancer by Clark Valera via Flickr Creative Commons

The Philippines has 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. These popular Philippine festivals feature street dancing, parades, and cultural performances that showcase each region’s unique traditions and customs.

These celebrations are hugely cultural and partly religious, displaying the fun-loving spirit of Filipinos around the world. The Filipinos’ history, traditions, and spiritual side come to the forefront of these celebrations.

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 you can participate in.

Ati-Atihan Festival

Kalibo Ati-atihan Festival Top 10 Festivals In the Philippines
Kalibo Ati-atihan Festival – Top 10 Festivals In the Philippines

Date: Third Sunday of January
Location: Aklan

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 famous 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!

Cebu Sinulog Festival Schedule
Cebu Sinulog Festival Schedule

Sinulog Festival

Date: Third Sunday of January
Location: Cebu City

On the third weekend of January, Cebu City serves its 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 yearly, putting it at the top among the most attended festivals worldwide. Added to this kaleidoscope parade are numerous concerts hosting the Philippines’ most prominent and exciting raves, making Cebu a haven for fun-loving partygoers.

Dinagyang Festival by Maxi Adrian San Agustin via Flickr

Dinagyang Festival

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 unite in this festival, 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.

Panagbenga Festival Schedule of Activities photo by Ranieljosecastaneda via Wikimedia cc
Panagbenga Festival Schedule of Activities photo by Ranieljosecastaneda via Wikimedia cc

Panagbenga Festival

Date: February 1 – March 4
Location: Baguio City

February ushers in the “season of blooming.” This festival is a treat by Baguio City, 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.

Experience Moriones Festival
Experience Moriones Festival

Moriones Festival

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.

Pahiyas Festival

Lucban Pahiyas Festival
Lucban Pahiyas Festival

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.

Pintados Festival

Buyogan Festival at the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival
Buyogan Festival at the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival

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 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.

Aliwan Festival

aliwan fiesta
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. It 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.

Penafrancia Festival

Penafrancia Festival
Penafrancia Festival

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.

Kadayawan Festival Float Parade
Kadayawan Festival Float Parade

Kadayawan Festival

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.

Hot Air Balloon
Hot Air Balloon

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, 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 aviators and tourists worldwide together.

Giant Lantern Festival

Robinsons Giant Lantern Festival 2019 Photos From left - The parols of Sta, Lucia, Sto. Nino, San Jose
Robinsons Giant Lantern Festival 2019 Photos From left – The parols of Sta, Lucia, Sto. Nino, San Jose

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 festival’s main highlight is the giant lantern competition, where participants create intricately designed and illuminated lanterns measuring up to 20 feet in diameter. The competition is divided into two categories – the traditional and the modern – attracting 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 yearly visitors.

Higantes Festival

Higantes Festival
Higantes Festival

Location: Angono, Rizal
Date: 22nd and 23rd Day of November

The Higantes Festival is a cultural event celebrated every November 23 in Angono, Rizal, Philippines. The festival features giant paper mache effigies, known as higantes, 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 celebrates 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 basket fruits and vegetables, which they offer 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

Zamboanga Hermosa Festival by Raieljosecastaneda via Wikimedia cc
Zamboanga Hermosa Festival by Raieljosecastaneda via Wikimedia cc

Location: Zamboanga City
Date: October 12th

The Zamboanga Hermosa Festival, also known as the Fiesta Pilar, is an annual festival held in 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 festival’s highlight is the street dancing competition, where participants wear colorful costumes and perform choreographed dances that showcase the city’s unique cultural heritage.

The city comes alive during the festival, 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, showcasing the rich history and traditions of the people of Zamboanga.

T’Nalak Festival

T’Nalak Festival by Mark Navales via Wikimedia cc
T’Nalak Festival By mark navales – T’boli dance during colorful street dancing competition on 9th T’NALAK Festival in Koronadal, South Cotabato, CC BY 2.0, cc

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 celebrates 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 festival’s highlight 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. Food stalls also serve 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 worldwide interested in experiencing and learning about the T’boli culture.

Top 10 Festivals In the Philippines photo by Herbert Kikoy via Unsplash
Top 10 Festivals In the Philippines photo by Herbert Kikoy via Unsplash

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.

These are just a few examples of the many vibrant festivals celebrated in the Philippines. Each festival has unique traditions, customs, and attractions, making them a must-see for anyone interested in experiencing the country’s rich cultural heritage.

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, TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest for more travel ideas.

Also Read:

Written by Melo Villareal

Melo Villareal is the Online Publisher of Outoftownblog.com. He is an Accountant by profession who left the corporate world at the age of 23 to explore his beautiful country and the rest of the world. Today, Melo works as a part-time Social Media Manager for local and international clients. His full-time work focuses on discovering interesting culture, explore different cuisines and take memorable photos from local and international destinations he's visiting.

What do you think?

Comments

OPPO F7 is Coming Soon in the Philippines

OPPO F7 Smartphone: A new Travel Gadget to Watch Out for this year

Image via Pexels.

Laboracay 2018 is Cancelled: Alternative Places to Go