There’s no party like a Filipino fiesta! Food, dancing, music, and costumes are staples for a Filipino festival. Scroll down below to see the most famous festivals in the Philippines. Mark your calendars because you don’t want to miss out on these yearly events.
Festivals in Luzon
Baguio’s Panagbenga Festival
Photo credits to @urphotodosage on Instagram
Festival Date: Whole month of February
What to Expect: “Panagbenga” translated means “a season of blossoming”—an apt name for a festival that highlights Baguio’s flowers! Although celebrations last all month long, the anticipated float parade and street dancing happen during the last week of the festival. If you’re planning to catch Panagbenga, make sure to book all your travel arrangements early on. Buy tickets to Baguio here.
Pampanga’s Giant Lantern Festival
Photo credits to @traveltrilogy on Instagram
Festival Date: Middle of December
What to Expect: San Fernando, Pampanga is well known for its quality Christmas parols (a.k.a. giant lanterns). A yearly competition is held to come up with the best parol design. Deliberation occurs on the festival date, which is the weekend before Christmas. Although the government allots a subsidy for each village, the locals also chip in to fund their unique creations. These giant lanterns can be costly to make as Pampanga’s parols can reach up to 20 feet in height!
Marinduque’s Moriones Festival
Photo credits to @rizaampo on Instagram
Festival Date: Holy Week
What to Expect: Marinduque’s Moriones Festival depicts the tale of Longinus, the Roman soldier who pierced Jesus’ side during crucifixion. The blood of Jesus fell on Longinus’ blind eye, thus converting him to Christianity. The masked soldiers or the Moriones look for Longinus throughout the week long festival, all the while performing pranks and being playful with the townsfolk.
At the end of the week, the appointed Longinus is captured and sentenced to death for his newly found faith. During the festival, the locals also pay tribute to the Passion of Christ by re-enacting the suffering endured by Jesus himself. Each town in Marinduque has their own version of this religious festival.
Festivals in Visayas
Cebu’s Sinulog Festival
Photo credits to @nellyslife__ on Instagram
Festival Date: Third Sunday of January
What to Expect: Cebu’s Sinulog is a Filipino festival that commemorates the country’s conversion to Christianity. In history, the pivotal moment was when Ferdinand Magellan gifted the Santo Niño statue to Rajah Humabon of Cebu.
Even though the Sinulog festival has religious origins, it is quite famous for its grand parade and street parties. Partying and drinking are not allowed within a 300 meter radius of the procession, but if you venture out further, you’re likely to find a street party. Get ready to be smeared with paint and doused by water! If you want in on Sinulog, prepare for your Cebu trip as early as now.
Bacolod’s MassKara Festival
Photo credits to @gaiuscabrera on Instagram
Festival Date: Fourth Sunday of October
What to Expect: 1980 was a difficult year for Bacolod—with the sugar crisis and the tragedy of MV Don Juan. In hopes of bringing back smiles to the people, the mayor introduced the MassKara festival. Ever since then, Bacolod came to be known as the “City of Smiles”. The festival’s popularity grew, so now tourists from all over come and participate in the festivities. Highlights of the festival include: fashion shows, concerts, pageants, trade fairs, and the street dance competition. If you’re planning a visit, get dibs on plane or ferry tickets as early as now here.
Kalibo’s Ati-Atihan Festival
Photo credits to @spectraldust on Instagram
Festival Date: Third Sunday of January
What to Expect: The Ati-Atihan festival is another Visayan cultural event that honors the Santo Niño. Before it became a religious festival, the Ati-Atihan was a remembrance of how the Negrito and Maraynons lived peacefully together. The tribal dance competition takes the main stage of this Filipino fiesta. Unlike other festivals, anybody can dance along with the locals! Other things to look forward to are the community mass, parades, and a masquerade ball.
Festivals in Mindanao
Bukidnon’s Kaamulan Festival
Photo credits to @lactv on Instagram
Festival Date: Second half of February to March 10
What to Expect: The Kaamulan Festival is held in Malaybalay, Bukidnon. It’s the founding anniversary of Bukidnon as a province. The festival is also a time of great pride for Bukidnon’s tribal groups as they get to showcase their culture through their own clothes, chants, dance, and sports. What makes the Kaamulan Festival so special is that it is the only ethnic festival in the Philippines. The festival’s indigenous rituals and ceremonies have been well preserved over the years.
Zamboanga’s Hermosa Festival
Photo credits to @zambocitygovt on Instagram
Festival Date: Whole Month of October
What to Expect: Also known as Fiesta Pilar, Zamboanga’s La Hermosa Festival is a tribute to the miraculous image of the Lady of Pilar. Locals continue to have great faith in her because of all the miraculous stories that have been told. To kick start the festivities, the colorful vintas or native boats race each other during Regatta de Zamboanga. Events to see during the Hermosa Festival are the pageant, fashion show, singing contest and dancing competition among others. Don’t miss this renowned festival in Mindanao by reserving your ticket way ahead.
Davao’s Kadayawan Festival
Photo credits to @manmandejeto on Instagram
Festival Date: Third week of August
What to Expect: The Kadayawan Festival is a tribute to life, harvest, health, and all things good. It is a time of thanksgiving for the people of Davao. Being one of the most awaited festivals in Mindanao, the Kadayawan festival has a lot to offer: talent shows, games, trade fairs, and floral floats. Like every Filipino fiesta, expect lots of bright costumes and dancing!
Where to Stay in the Philippines
Check out these deals from Agoda, save more when you book their discounted rates!
Last updated: May 26, 2021