Armed with a book titled “WELCOME TO THE PHILIPPINES 2005 Edition” – a predecessor of “It’s More Fun In The Philippines” campaign, we’ll be posting monthly festivals that happens every year in the country, to help, promote, and support the tourism campaign by the government, particularly the Department of Tourism (DOT). Side-blogging as flash-packing traveler, this monthly report will be our contribution that will remind all travel enthusiasts, travel bloggers, foreign tourists, balikbayans, wanderlusts, and locals to constantly be updated of the coming celebrations and activities happening within different provinces and regions. And to start the year with festivity schedules, here is our first dive to Philippine Festivals reporting.
List of Philippine Festivals: January 2013
Feast of the Black Nazarene – January 9 (Quiapo, Manila)
As early this week, Philippine National Police (PNP), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), NGOs and Malacañang have already master-planned road rerouting and safety precautions for this year’s feast dubbed as Traslacion 2013 to be participated with an expected 8 million devotees of the Black Nazarene, a life-size image of the suffering Christ bearing the cross on his shoulder, which will culminate at the Minor Basilica in Quiapo, Manila on January 9.
The mahogany-colored statue was brought from Mexico in a galleon bound for Manila in the 17th century.
Ati-Atihan Festival – January 11-20 (Kalibo, Aklan)
The Ati-Atihan is a sustained three-day and three-night frenzy of music and dancing. The Ati-Atihan mantra “Hala Bira, Puera Pasma” translates to “Keep on going, no tiring.” The festival actually lasts for two weeks, but the final three days – culminating with a procession through the streets on the third Sunday of January – are the most important. The Kalibonhons have an unwritten rule that there are no wallflowers at Ati-Atihan. There are no choreographed steps to be performed that automatically isolate participants from spectators. If the best you can muster is a drunken conga line, that’s fine. But come what may, you must participate.
Hinugyaw Festival – January 10 (Koronadal, Mindanao)
Hinugyaw Festival is celebrated in the City of Koronadal every month of January, it coincides with the foundation anniversary of Koronadal. Among the highlights of Hinugyaw Festival are the Search for Lakambini ng Koronadal and the Hinugyaw Piyesta Korona.
Sinulog Festival – January 20 (Cebu City)
The big, boisterous Sinulog Festival in Cebu, which culminates on the third Sunday of January with a wild street parade and an outdoor concert at Fuente Osmeña, is held in the honor of Cebu’s patron saint, the Santo Niño (Holy Child). It is so much popular like the Ati-Atihan Festival and hotels are usually full by this time, making this festival one of the tourist-traffic season in the Philippines.
Zambulawan Festival – January 20 (Zamboanga del Sur)
Zambulawan is a festival that displays Subanon tribe’s rich cultural heritage by singing, dancing and exhibits of musical instruments. It is celebrated every third Sunday of January in Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur.
Feast Day of Sto. Niño de Tondo – January 20 (Tondo, Manila)
The Feast day of Sto. Niño in Tondo is celebrated in the third Sunday of January. The fiesta in Tondo has the biggest participation in Manila, not only because Tondo is the most populous district in the city and poorest but perhaps because of the many anecdotes connected with the Sto. Niño of Tondo. According to Philippine Historical Commission, the peoples of Tondo celebrated the feast day with a fluvial procession that “attracted thousands of visitors.” Tondo’s terrain at that time consisted of waterways and tributaries which were connected to Manila Bay, a probable reason why the present stone church of Tondo was constructed on elevated ground (several meters above sea level) to prevent sea waters from inundating the Church.
Pasungay Festival (Bull Fighting Festival) – January 21 (Iloilo)
During the town Fiesta of San Joaquin, every 21st day of January, the best breeds of bulls and horses are brought to the town arena to take part in one of Iloilo’s most celebrated festivals. The annual horse fight called “Pahibag” and bull-fight called “Pasungay” is held at the San Joaquin Sports Stadium starting 9 in the morning onwards.
The “Pasungay sa San Joaquin” is the concluding part of a week-long activity of Bayluhay Festival. Bayluhay Festival reflects the history of Panay of which the ancestor Aetas bartered to the datus of Malay in the 13th century. The festivity of the Bayluhay is conscientiously planned and series of rituals are solemnly done as one journey through many phases of life.
Dinagyang Festival – January 25-27 (Iloilo)
The Dinagyang is a religious and cultural festival in Iloilo City, Philippines held on the fourth Sunday of January, or right after the Sinulog In Cebu and the Ati-Atihan in Aklan. It is held both to honor the Santo Niño and to celebrate the arrival on Panay of Malay settlers and the subsequent selling of the island to them by the Atis.
Sto. Niño Festival – January 27 (Malolos, Bulacan)
The biggest expression of devotion of the Holy Child Jesus in the Luzon island, celebrated every last Sunday of January. The festivities begin with an exhibit of “Santo Niño” (Holy Child) and culminate in a grand procession of hundreds of folk, antique and new statues of the Holy Child different manifestations, e.g., as shepherd boy, as keeper of the world, as a sleeping child, etc.
So fill your backpacks, gear up your cameras, book your tickets, and off you go to these festivities. Whether traveling on solo or with travel buddies, make these festivities memorable as you take snapshots and immerse yourselves with the celebration.
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*with words from WELCOME TO THE PHILIPPINES 2005 Edition.
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