Upcoming Festivals in the Philippines

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Now that Sinulog, Dinagyang and Ati-Atihan was over, Pinoy travelers are asking, When and Where to go to witness another colorful festival?

With more than 70 ethnic groups in the Philippines, many different kinds of religious festivals and celebrations are held in different parts of the archipelago.

Festival in the Philippines showcases the Filipino cultural diversity, history and traditions of the Filipino people as well as their desire to share their culture with local and foreign tourists.

Heres the list of the most popular Philippine festivals throughout the remainder of 2009:

Baguio Flower Festival
Panagbenga
Feb. 21-22, 2009
This festival (pictured right) celebrates the blooming flower season in the Philippines. Celebrations consist of participants wearing multi-colored costumes resembling the many different flowers that bloom in the highland region (or any of its 11 ethnic tribes). Flowerbeds are then paraded through the city as floats in the Panagbenga parade.

Moriones Festival
Marinduque
April 6-12, 2009
Beginning on Holy Monday and ending on Easter Sunday, participants (pictured right) re-enact the event when Longinus, a blind Roman soldier, punctures Jesus with his spear and blood droplets from the wound restores Longinus’ sight.

Cutud Lenten Rites
San Fernando, Pampanga
April 10, 2009
The Lenten Rites is a controversial annual event where devotees re-enact Christ’s ordeal with the Way of the Cross through a real-life crucifixion.

Pahiyas Festival
Quezon
May 15, 2009
This annual celebration (pictured right) is held at the start of the harvest season to welcome a bountiful crop. The festival features “Suman” which are sticky rice cakes loved by all for their sweet taste.

Flores De Mayo
Nationwide
May 2009
Considered the queen of Filipino festivals, Flores de Mayo (Flowers of May) is celebrated in Metro Manila, as well as myriad provinces throughout the rest of the archipelago. Flores de Mayo is a colorful, month-long festival honoring the Virgin Mary. The festival culminates with the Santa Cruzan (Holy Cross) procession, a parade in honor of Reyna Helena (Queen Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine) featuring young Filipino women dressed in colorful costumes depicting biblical and historical figures.

Pineapple Festival
Daet, Camarines Norte
June 1-30, 2009
The Pineapple Festival features a colorful street presentation complemented by art exhibits, fairs, cultural dances and sport events.

Parade Of Pigs
Balayan, Batangas
June 24, 2009
Succulent roasted pork is the highlight of the occasion, decked out with all kinds of décor. The festival coincides with the feast of St. John the Baptist, observed by repeating the ritual of baptism.

Tacloban Pintados Festival
Tacloban City
June 27, 2009
During the event residents deck themselves out in body paint mimicking the warriors of old while dancing to the drum. Prior to the Spanish Colonial era, tattoos signified courage among the natives of Tacloban.

Sandugo Festival
Tacloban City
July 19, 2009
The Spanish colonization of the Philippines began with a blood-sealed peace treaty on the shores of Bohol. This historic event is remembered with a fiesta at the island’s capital city. The street parade features ten colorfully-dressed groups dancing to the beat of drums. There is also a traditional Filipino carnival, a martial arts festival, and the Miss Bohol Sandugo Beauty Pageant among dozens of other exciting activities.

Peñafrancia Viva La Virgen
Naga City
Sept. 11-20, 2009
Bicol’s biggest celebration is an annual affair that combines religion with culture and tradition, packing it in a nine-day fiesta. Stay until sundown on the ninth day for the fluvial parade as it makes its way down the river, surrounded by a sea of glowing candles.

Zamboanga Hermosa Festival
Zamboanga City
Oct. 1-31, 2009
Zamboanga, known as the “City of Flowers,” holds its annual Hermosa Festival where colorful native sea boats partake in a regatta. There are also cultural and flower shows, art exhibits and trade fairs.

Masskara Festival
Bacolod City
Oct. 19, 2009
The carnival spirit fills the air as masked participants (pictured right) with fabulous costumes dance their way around the city. The festival coincides with the city’s character day celebration and features a carnival.

Christmas
Nationwide
September through December 2008
As September arrives in the Philippines, the sites and sounds of Christmas begin to emerge. Mass media starts a Christmas countdown, radio stations play carols, flea markets and malls are decorated and the streets are lined with colorful holiday furnishings.

During this time almost every Filipino family displays a nativity scene as well as “parol,” traditional Christmas lanterns that can be seen illuminating the streets. Various ceremonies are held throughout the Philippines to celebrate Christmas. Two such festivals include the Giant Lantern Festival and the Christmas Tree or Christmas Symbol contest.

The Giant Lantern Festival
Pampanga
Dec. 19, 2009
The Giant Lantern Festival is celebrated every Saturday before Christmas in Pampanga, a province in Central Luzon. This festival brings together local craftsmen and artists who create huge multi-colored lanterns measuring 18 feet high and 30 feet in diameter. Each lantern is paraded around town while a mix of folk and modern music fills the air. At the end of the parade, the lanterns are judged on improvisation of design, color scheme and light interplay with the music.

The Christmas Tree or Christmas Symbol Contest
Cagayan de Oro City
Dec. 1, 2009 – January 2010
The Christmas Tree or Christmas Symbol contest is held from the beginning of December through the first week of January at the Capitol Building of Cagayan de Oro City. Participants are judged on indigenous design and use of recycled materials, which are complemented with colorful and stylish Christmas lights.

I’m planning to visit and experience some of the festivals listed above… Hope to see you there!!

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