Official 2011 Calendar of Festivals in the Philippines
Now that 2010 is almost over, we want to help you plan out your adventures and discoveries for the next year! Here’s the official 2011 calendar of festivities in the Philippines!
Don’t fret though as we will give you a separate post for each festival and include the ways on how to get there, where to stay, what to watch out for and other things to do. For now, take a pick on which festival you’d like to visit and plan your vacation from there.
January 9 – Feast of the Black Nazarene at Quiapo, Manila. Each year, devotees of the Black Nazarene swarm the Quiapo church for a chance to be able to pull the carosa of the image of the Black Savior. it is one of the most spectacular religious events in the country. Read more about it here.
January 15 – Pasungay Festival at San Joaquin, Iloilo. Similar to Spains bullfighting festivals, the Pasungay is actually a safer bullfighting fiesta as the bull isn’t let loose in the streets and the bulls fight each other rather than chase after people. Read more about it here.
January 15 to 16 – Ati-Atihan Festival at Kalibo, Aklan. One of the most colorful festivals in the Philippines, the Ati-atihan is similar to the Sinulog festival in Cebu wherein it pays homage to the Child Jesus. Read more about it here.
January 15 to 16 – Sinulog Festival at Cebu city, Cebu. Another very loud and colorful festival of the Philippines, Sinulog is usually done in the streets with lots of drumbeats, costumes and dancing. The festival pays tribute to the Sto. Nino or the Child Jesus. Read all about it here on the official website of the sinulog festival.
January 16 or 23 – Caracol Festival at Makati City. A relatively new and small festival, it makes up for the grand and lavish dance presentations by the Makati high school and college students. The main purpose of the festival is to help raise awareness on how to preserve the planet. It has also been coined as Makati’s version of the Mardi Gras. Read more about it here.
January 22 to 23 – Dinagyang Festival at Iloilo City. Just like the Ati-atihan and sinulog festival, the Dinagyang also pays homage to the Child Jesus. However, it also commemorates the settling of the Malay datus in Panay, after they’ve bought the island from the Atis. More information can be found here.
February 3 – Chinese New Year. It’s time to meet up with your Feng Shui consultant and eat lots of tikoy! Be sure to visit Binondo or Chinatown to see their dragon dances and get blessed by it for more luck in the coming months.
February 10 to 13 – Hot Air Balloon Festival at Clark, Angeles, Pampanga. It’s an adrenaline pumping festival, literally! Aside from the display of a plethora of multi-colored hot air balloons, the festival also features a number of expedition events such as skydiving, flag jumps, micro-light aircraft and rocketry demonstrations, small plane fly-bys and fly-ins, remote-control airplane and helicopter flying exhibitions, freestyle aerobatics, precision maneuvers, light airplane balloon bursting, ultra-light flying formation and bomb dropping, kite-making and choreographed kite-flying, hi-start launch gliding, pylon racing, banner towing, aero-modeling symposium and races between ultra lights and motorcycles.
February 26 – Panagbenga Flower Festival at Baguio City. The festival was recognized as one of the countries most celebrated festival with hundreds of street dancers performing in the main thoroughfares of Baguio City. One of the most awaited event is the Flower Float Festival in which several tons of fresh flowers were used to decorate the float representing various organizations. Read more here.
April 22 – Moriones Festival at Marinduque. The festival takes place in Marinduque during Holy Week and culminates in the re-enactment of the beheading of Longinus. Entire towns are converted into huge stages as the story of Longinus unfolds.
May 15 – Pahiyas Festival at Lucban, Quezon. Another known colorful festival of the Philippines, the Pahiyas festival is well known for its “kiping” or rice wafer displays of the entire facade of the houses. Read here for more info.
May 17 to 19 – Obando Fertility Rites at Obando, Bulacan. This festival is a beautiful mix of religion and superstition. Most participants of this festival are out of towners that dance the streets to ask for a child, a spouse or just good luck. For more info, read here.
June 27 to 28 – Pintados or Kasadyaan Festival at Tacloban, Leyte. This festival celebrates the art of “body painting” or tattoos. This very colorful and loud festival also pays homage to the Sto. Nino or the Child Jesus. Read more about it here.
July 23 to 24 – Sandugo Festival at Tagbilaran, Bohol. This festival commemorates the Treaty of Friendship between Datu Sikatuna, a chieftain in Bohol, and Spanish conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi. This 16th Century peace treaty occurred on March 16, 1565 through a blood compact or “sandugo” More information is right here.
August 20 – 21 – Kadayawan Festival at Davao City. While most festivals in the Philippines would have a patron saint, Kadayawan’s thrust is more about thanksgiving. Read more here.
September 18 – Penafrancia Festival at Naga City. Another religious festival, the Penafrancia pays homage to Our Lady of Penafrancia, Naga’s patroness. The festivities usually end with a fluvial parade where only men can ride the pagoda to pay their respects to the saint. More information can be read here.
October 15 to 16 – Maskara Festival at Bacolod. This festival shows a very distinct trait of the Filipinos of “smiling” in spite of tragedies. the festival features different colorful masks that are all smiling, with dancing in the streets and rhythmic drumbeats filling the air. Read more about it here.
October 15 to 16 – Lanzones Festival at Camiguin. The lanzones fruit is the major produce of Camiguin and every year, they decorate their houses and carriages with the fruit to thank the higher forces for a great harvest. Read about the festival here and the legend of the lanzones here.
November 22 to 23 – Higantes Festival at Angono, Rizal. Also known as the Feat of San Clemente, the Higantes Festival features gigantic paper mache mascots that are paraded all over town (ergo the word higantes which means giants). This festival also honors Saint Clemente who is the patron saint of fishermen. Read more about it here.
December 18 – Giant Lantern Festival at San Fernando, Pampanga. This festival is basically a competition between the local towns with their giant lanterns of “parols”. Read more about it here.
WHERE TO STAY
If you’re planning to travel to the any of the locations, consider these hotels that we highly recommend:
Alba Uno Residencia in Cebu – Most travelers prefer to shack up at smaller non-commercial hotels because of the homey feel. If you’re looking for comfort but are on a limited budget, Alba Uno Residencia is the best choice.
Diamond Suites and Residences in Cebu – I have personally stayed at this hotel and I highly recommend it. The staff is so helpful and warm and the rooms are so amazing! Quite near the Ayala Terraces too, Diamond Suites and Residences is a wonderful place to stay in.
People’s Hotel in Iloilo – If you’re not too particular about sheet colors, and you’re on a budget, this is a good choice in accommodation. They have a simple and straightforward approach to service and it’s comfortable enough for you to stay in for a couple of days.
Doll House Hotel and Cafe in Pampanga – It’s almost like a boutique hotel with its design and interiors but it’s comfy and nice enough to be called a full service hotel. It’s also a shopaholic’s hotel as it’s near shops. Food is also great.
To see more great deals and other hotels in the Philippines, click here.