Festivals, or also referred as fiestas, are by far an integral part of the Philippine culture. From small remote villages to bustling metropolitan cities, nearly every region of this tropical archipelago celebrates a colorful and vibrant festival every year. As part of their traditions, fiestas are celebrated by Filipinos to pay homage to their patron saints, mark their local history’s special events, as well as give thanks for good catch and harvest. Whatever the purpose is for staging these events, fiestas are truly deep-rooted in their culture.
Fiestas are the epitome of the friendly and warm nature of the Filipinos. During festivals, Filipinos get to show off their talents and bubbly attitude through colorful street parades, beauty pageants, live music and a whole lot of other merry-making festivities. What’s more, a fiesta is a venue to showcase the different products and cuisines unique to the country. There is no shortage of exciting and kaleidoscopic festivals in this picturesque tropical archipelago. As a matter of fact, fiestas are celebrated all year round in different regions of the country. Below is a list of the most colorful and vibrant festivals in the Philippines.
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A crowd and tourist drawer, the Dinagyang Festival is a zesty, psychedelic, cultural and religious event that is celebrated every fourth weekend of January in Iloilo. As with other grand Filipino festivals, the highlight of this festival is its colorful street parade, with performers dressed in one-of-a-kind costumes while dancing to the hypnotic beats of the drums.
The Baguio Flower Festival, as its name suggests, is a festival of flowers in the city of Baguio, the country’s summer capital. Held annually from February 23 to March 3, the festival was made by the city’s local officials to give importance to the city’s flourishing cut-flower industry.
As a flower festival, this cultural event features beautiful themed floats embellished with lush and colorful flowers. Likewise, it has a street parade where dancers are dressed in flower-inspired and multi-hued costumes.
Pahiyas Festival is one of the most underrated grand festivals in the Philippines. Celebrated every 11th to 15th day of May in Lucban, Quezon, this festival is a thanksgiving celebration for the bountiful harvest of the town. In addition, Filipinos celebrate this festival as a tribute to San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint for farmers.
During the festival, every home in Lucban is adorned with the town’s agricultural produce like vegetables, fruits and rice. Furthermore, each home offers mouth-watering servings of kiping (multicolored hanging rice tortillas) to all their guests.
No list of the most colorful and vibrant festivals in the Philippines is complete without mentioning Cebu’s Sinulog Festival. Often touted as the granddaddy of all Philippine festivals, the Sinulog festival is truly the most celebrated festival in the country, drawing millions of tourists from all over the world.
As a traditional Filipino festival, Sinulog is basically a commemoration of their pagan origins, as well as their conversion of acceptance to Roman Catholicism. Moreover, it is a celebration to give thanks to the graces given by Senyor Santo Niño. A week-long celebration, the festival has a handful of exciting and intriguing activities, such as the street grand parade, which lasts more than eight hours.
Held every third Sunday of January in Kalibo, the Ati-Atihan Festival is easily one of the biggest festival celebrations in the country. Like Sinulog, the festival serves as a tribute to Senyor Santo Niño. In this annual Filipino festival, locals as well as foreign tourists intermingle in the town’s streets in frenetic amusement for a couple of days or more. During the festival’s climax, the street becomes a bustling cultural center with performers dancing to tribal music while wearing indigenous weapons and costumes.
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