Arts & Culture Philippine Festivals 2017: Your guide to the most exuberant fiestas By Jj Ibarreta Posted on January 18, 2017 0 798 The Philippines has a rich cultural heritage. It’s no surprise then, that we are a home to many festivals that showcase the regional artistry and traditions of its people. Despite being an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands, we are ultimately bound by these vibrant celebrations making the country one of the most colorful all throughout the year and have attracted tourists from all over the world. Here is a list of the must-see festivals and their schedule that will help you plan your trips this year. Coconut Festival, January 7, 2017 The Coconut Festival, also known as the “Coco Fest,” is an annual event in San Pablo City Laguna, which showcases the versatility of the coconut. It is also held in honor of St. Paul, who is the patron saint of the city. Feast of the Black Nazarene, January 9, 2017 The Feast of the Black Nazarene is celebrated every second Monday of January and is held in honor of Jesus Christ. This yearly event attracts thousands of devotees of the Black Nazarene. Ati-Atihan Festival, January 9, 2017 Ati-Atihan, which means “make-believe Atis”, is a vibrant celebration in honor of the infant child Jesus (Sto. Niño). It is held annually on the island of Kalibo in Aklan were colorful mardi gras and street dancers, whose body are covered with black tint and colorful costumes, welcome the tourists with lively dances and presentations. Sinulog Festival, January 15, 2017 Sinulog Festival is the center of Sto. Niño festivals in the Philippines. It is held in Cebu City, where the Catholicism in the country began when Ferdinand Magellan of Portugal first landed in 1521. Upon landing, the colonizers converted the natives and gifted Rajah Humabon, the leader of the island, and his wife, Hara Humanay, with the image of Niño Jesus. The festival celebrates this event and is referred to as the “Best Festival in the Philippines.” Dinagyang Festival, January 20, 2017 Another festival that honors the child Jesus is the Dinagyang Festival and is one of the biggest events in Iloilo City. Aside from celebratiing religious roots, it also commemorates the arrival of Malays in the island of Panay. Activities also include the lively religious sadsad or parade of street dancers, the foot and fluvial procession, and the Ati-Ati Competition. Banana Festival, January 25, 2017 The Banana Festival of Baco, Oriental Mindoro is a festival that celebrates the humble banana fruit and all the delicacies that are made with it. Along with these meals, it also features the alluring pandangguhan, a dance of lights, harana or serenade, and the magnificent booths, which is made primarily with anything from bananas. Bambanti Festival, January 27, 2017 Isabela’s Bambanti Festival features a celebration of artistic bambantis or scarecrows. Different municipalities of the province participate in this annual event to showcase their own versions of bambantis, and to join in the giant mask-making competition. Tinagba Festival, February 11, 2017 Tinagba Festival is a festival of thanksgiving of the Irigueños for a year of good harvest in honor of Our Lady of Lourdes imploring her intercession for a good harvest. This festival boasts of its parade of floats that are decorated with tagba or harvest and the colorful street dance competition participated by different schools in the city. Photo Credit: Dennis Natividad Photography Panagbenga Festival, February 26, 2017 Panagbenga or the Flower Festival is a celebration of the rise of Baguio City after the devastation of the 1990 earthquake. It is one of the most jubilant and colorful celebrations that has drawn local and foreign tourists alike. Photo Credit: Jon Page Photography Dia De Zamboanga, February 26, 2017 Dia De Zamboanga is a unique festival because of the combination of Christian and Muslim traditions. Among its highlights are the cultural offerings, exhibits, and regattas. Old Muslim and Spanish religious ceremonies are also expressed during the festivity. Photo Credit: Michael Ocampo Pintados Festival, March 14, 2017 Pintados Festival is a merry-making event hailed in Tacloban, Leyte. The term pintados describes the people of Tacloban, who have the culture of putting tattoos on their skin. Even though this is another festival in honor of Señor Sto. Niño, it is still different because it recalls the Pre-Spanish history of the native Leytenos from wars, epics, and folk religions. Photo Credit: BC Photography Kaamulan Festival, March 25, 2017 Kaamulan Festival is a celebration of the traditions and culture of seven tribal groups in the province of Bukidnon. It is held annually in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, where tourists can see the rituals of the indigenous people like Panumanod (spirit ceremony), Pangampo (general workshop), and Pamalas (sin atonement). It also highlights Kaamulan Bazaar Agri Fair, Garden Show, Amateur Boxing, and Livestock Show. Photo Credit: Tom Falcon Magayon Festival, March 28, 2017 As one of Bicolandia’s most stunning festivals, the Magayon Festival relives the legend of perfect cone-shaped Mayon Volcano in which, accordingly, was formed as a result of the death of a beautiful maiden named Daragang Magayon. Photo Credit: Christian Lucas Sangoyo Moriones Festival, April 9, 2017 Moriones Festival is an event held every Holy Week on the heart-shaped island of Marinduque. It is a folk-religious event where locals re-enact the search for Longinus, a Roman Centurion or commander in the ancient Roman army, who pierced the side of the crucified Christ. A theatrical adaptation of this story runs all throughout the week with the actors who wear Roman army costumes. Mango Festival, April 19, 2017 If the lowly bangus fish is celebrated, so it the country’s national fruit. With the bountiful harvest of sweet mangoes in Guimaras, Zambales, the Mango Festival, also known as Dinamulag Festival, is the local’s way of thanksgiving and celebrating this most important of fruits. Aliwan Festival, April 20, 2017 Aliwan Festival is referred to as the Mother of all Festivals because it brings together different Festivals from all over the country in one location. Started in 2003 in Pasay City, it has grown to fascinate local and foreign tourists with the rich culture that each of the street dancers from different regions has to offer. Photo Credit: Jojo Vito Pasalamat Festival, April 25, 2017 Pasalamat Festival is a harvest thanksgiving celebration by the people of La Carlota City, Negros Occidental in honor of the god of agriculture that is believed to be living inside Kanlaon Volcano. This festival also features a colorful parade of street dancers who dance to the beat of original “Pasalamat Samba”. Binirayan Festival, April 27, 2017 Binirayan Festival is a month-long commemoration of the Malayan roots of the province of Antique. Binirayan, which means “where they landed” re-enacts the Maragtas Legend, which tackles the commemoration of the landing of the 10 Bornean Datus in malandog, Hamtic, Antique. *More festivals to be updated! We’ll keep you guys posted! Plan your trip now! Visit the Philippines and experience these fun and exciting festivities!