First Week of January

KURALDAL

KURALDAL FESTIVAL — SASMUAN, PAMPANGA
6th of January

At the town of Sasmuan located in Pampanga where one of the coastal areas is connected with Manila Bay. The town was used to be called “Sexmoan” which was given by Spanish colonizers and it was only in 1991 when they decided to change the name into Sasmuan. They are famous for their seafood and pastries. In Sasmuan, they have a festival similar to the Black Nazarene of Quiapo which they call “Kuraldal Festival” where they celebrate the patron saint “Sta. Lucia.”  

“Kuraldal” comes from the Spanish word “Curar” which means to “To heal or to cure” and “Dal,” a Sanskrit word meaning “Split.” At the festival, you will hear devotees shouting “Viva Apu Lucia! Pwera Sakit!” (Hail St. Lucy! Away with illnesses!) because they believe that shouting is like a prayer and the more you shout, the more St. Lucy will hear you. They also coincide it with dancing similar to waltz; step left, step right and then you shout together with your wishes and prayers.

The festival usually starts with the Feast of Epiphany (Previously known as the Feast of the Three Kings). It is believed that the festival is celebrated at this time because of the star that guided the Three Kings to Jesus in Bethlehem, and the Sta. Lucia, or Lucy means light.  It usually starts around January 6 and ends at January 10. On the fifth day, a “Kawakasan” or “Finale” event is held to end the festivities. The devotees have increased up to 15,000 and most devotees go to Sasmuan for different reasons; Disease, Fertility, Wisdom, Protection, Business, Career and some just goes back to say their gratitude to the Patron Saint.

Aguman Sanduk

AGUMAN SANDUK FESTIVAL — MINALIN, PAMPANGA
1st week of January

Aguman Sanduk Festival was first referred to as the “Belles of Minalin” but the the natives preferred to call it “Aguman Sanduk” which means the “fellowship of the ladle” — symbolizing bountiful food and conquering the drought.  The festival regularly occurs on January 1 or the first day of the year to be set as thanksgiving and for the bountiful harvest in the past year, moreover as an offering in the hope for another fruitful year

The origin of the festival according to Minaleños, at the midst of 1932, they experienced the worst drought of the year and needed laughter to cheer people up so two brave men stepped up and paraded in the town wearing women’s clothes in order to provide happiness to their wives and women in particular.

The festival is celebrated through a pageant of cross-dressed heterosexual male which are 20 years old and above. The contestants must wear the ugliest dress in order to win. Some men put in a lot of effort by wearing tiaras as well as dancing fabulously on their intricately designed floats.  Not only does it displays the town’s love for humor but their camaraderie and charity of each member as well because the true essence of their festival is to give joy and merriness to the Minaleños and to other people as well.

 

 

KUYAMIS

KUYAMIS FESTIVAL — MISAMIS ORIENTAL
1st week of January

Kuyamis Festival is a week-long event held in Misamis Oriental every January. For the people of Misamis Oriental, the festival evokes the passion of the long forgotten past that, again, has been put to life to reclaim the historic rights of its people. It is an annual thanksgiving and a tribute to the ancient norms of the Aetas who thrived in Misamis with a variety of sweet coconuts as their staple food. “Kuyamis,” means a variety of golden colored sweet coconuts that are smaller (fist-sized) than the present variety of coconuts sold in the market today. Unfortunately, Kuyamis has been extinct in the modern day.

 

2nd week of January

ubi cropping-Recovered1

UBI FESTIVAL — BOHOL
2nd week of January

Bohol is the leading producer of Ubi in the country. It is the symbol of the province and the only plant that is reflected in its Bohol Hymn. Bohol is the main source of Ubi Kinampay – A type of plant which is sweet and purple-colored. It is mostly used as an ingredient for ice cream, cakes, pastries, tarts, macaroon, etc. Ubi takes a big role for Boholanos, for it was the only crop that survived during the World War II and thrived even during drought.

Ubi festival is usually celebrated at the second week of January. The main highlights of the festival are Ubi-related contests, exhibits, agri-business seminars and a cultural show. The goal of the festival is to promote Ubi and put in the forefront of Bohol. In fact, it made it to the top five banner crops that can be produced in many forms that sell not just in the country but in other countries as well.

 

 

SINULOG-EDITED

SINULOG FESTIVAL — CEBU
20th of January

Sinulog festival corresponds to Ati-atihan and occurs at the same day. It’s one of the most colorful festivals in the Philippines and holds a very rich history. It honors Santo Niño or the child Jesus who used to be the patron saint of the whole province of Cebu. Sinulog came from a Cebuano term that means “Like the movement of water” which is familiar because of the action of the wave is exactly how the dancers dance and resembles Cebu’s Pahina River wave current which translates to “Sulog” in the Cebuano dialect. It’s celebrated by a dance ritual which symbolizes the Filipino’s pagan past and acceptance to Christianity. Each year the festival attracts over 1 to 2 million people all over the world. The highlight event in the Festival are the street parties that happens at night before and the night of the main festival.

A week before the Grand Parade, there is a “Sinulog sa Kabataan” which is a dance performed by the youths of Cebu. The Grand Parade of Cebu usually takes 9-12hours featuring candidates from the City of Cebu. The festival lasts for 9 days including firework shows and rings with cries of “Viva Pit Señor” (Long live, call on the Holy Child Jesus.)

The origin of Sinulog dates back to 1521 when Ferdinand Magellan landed on the shores of Cebu and discovered natives dancing in respect to their wooden God called anitos. Just then he decided to plant Christianity in the land by baptizing the leaders of Cebu which is during that time are Raja Humabon and Hara Amihan. As a token of appreciation he offered the image of child Jesus. After the Battle of Mactan, where Magellan was defeated by Lapu-lapu, the image was thought to be lost but it was 44 years later when Miguel Lopez De Legazpi arrived in Cebu and discovered the image at the Basilica Menore de Santo Niño. However, Legazpi discovered that the natives already dance the Sinulog honoring the Santo Niño.

 

 

EMBAJADA2

EMBAJADA FESTIVAL — SAMAR
2nd week of January

The Embajada Festival is celebrated by the entire province of Samar, but on different dates. The first towns to celebrate the Festival just after New Year, in January, are Catubig and Laoang. Follow by nearby towns until mid-June. The festival was first celebrated by an indigenous group called Moro-Moros and since then it has been celebrated for centuries. The festival is a reenactment of a time in history when conflict arises between the Moro-Moros and the Spanish colonizer although nowadays it is presented in a comical fashion. The main highlight of the event is street dancing and a delicious array of food served in the town center as night sets in. Embajada is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the oldest tribes of Samar.

 

 

BINIRAY FESTS

BINIRAY FESTIVAL — ROMBLON
2nd week of January

Biniray is one of the most renowned festivals in Romblon, it starts every second week of January honoring Señor Santo Niño. It has similarities of the Sinulog Festival from cebu. The essence of the festival is to showcase the strong faith of the residents to Roman Catholicism.

The festival originated more than 400 years ago to the earliest days of European colonialism. According to Rombloanons, an Augustinian Friar had commissioned an exact replica of the Cebuano Santo Niño to deliver it to Madrid and the ship responsible for carrying the statue made a stop-over in Romblon. Unfortunately, when they were ready to head out, there was a typhoon surge and the vessel was forced to turn back. The icon was then brought to Romblon’s Catholic Church and conducted a mass. At the end of the Mass, just when the priest and congregation attempted to return the statue to the boat, the icon cannot be moved. It stayed in the church since then.

Sad to say that in December 1991, the icon was stolen when the cathedral was undergoing renovation and only made its way back in 2014 when an Antique collector from Aklan called and was willing to give it back to Romblon.

The festival is celebrated in the earliest of morning, as flotilla vessels attempts to circle the Romblon Bay seven times reenacting the attempts of the Spanish Galleons taking away the Santo Niño. It is then followed by a parade of Santo Niño images that are carried out by floats designed with beautiful flowers and people wearing costumes and paint all over their face and body. Rombloanons believe that they celebrate this festival as a way of giving thanks to the bountiful life and prosperous economy.

3rd week of January

atihan

ATI-ATIHAN FESTIVAL — AKLAN
3rd Sunday of January

Ati-atihan festival is known as the mother of all Philippine Festivals, it usually starts at the third Sunday of January in Capital of Aklan, Kalibo. The name of the festival means “to be like Atis” or “To make believe Atis”, giving respect to the Aeta aborigines who first settled in the island and other parts of the Archipelago. Another reason for the celebration is due to the Spanish colonization, it is also to give honor to Santo Niño (baby Jesus). The dancing to the rhythm of the drums is similar to the world famous Mardi Gras of Brazil and there are 3 versions of it in the Philippines but Ati-atihan is the wildest of them all.

On the first day of the celebration the participants wear Ati- Atihan costumes and dances to the rhythm of the drum beats that filled the streets and locals dance (Sadsad) though the street. The 2nd day begins as early as the dawn strikes, it starts with a novena with a slogan Hala Bira!” (To strike a blow) and “Pwera Pasma.”, the 2nd day of celebration ends on the next morning. The 3rd day, which is the most important day, 80 different groups of different tribes compete to win for a grand prize of 1,000,000.The participants wear colorfultribal costumes with their faces painted in black representing the Ati people and parades through the streets wile doing a spiritual Ati-Atihan dance

 

Bambanti FEST Fnl

BAMBANTI FESTIVAL (SCARECROW FESTIVAL) — ISABELA
3rd week of January

Isabela being known as the Breadbasket of the North annually celebrates Bambanti (Scarecrow) Festival in January. It was first held in 1997 by governor Benjamin Dy, commemorating a farmer’s diligence and resoluteness to provide for his family and produce for his community. It is the official festival of the province which symbolizes their attributes as Isabeleño such as diligence, creativity spirituality, resilience and vigilance.

The main event of the celebration is the Agri-Tourism Village/ Bamabanti village where 34 municipalities put up uniquely designed booths in front of the provincial capitol showcasing their creativity while selling their own products. The festival also denotes that the Philippines, until now, belongs to the countries that can greatly provide agricultural needs, both intnernational and domestic trade industries

Isabela is one of the many places whose wonder is yet to be discovered. One place you can go for some adventure is the Sta. Victoria Caves named after Queen Victorie, the Queen in Britain during the time when the said cave was discovered. The cave was developed for easier exploration. You might also want to see and take  a picture of the Giant BUttaka weighing 2368 kg and measures 9.7 feet wide, 20.8 feet long and 11.4 feet high. Butaka is a rocking chair that can be found in almost every home in Isabela. The Giant BUtaka serves as a town landmark which can be found in Bonifacio Park or Freedom Park.

You may check out this link (https://www.experience.ph/10-reasons-id-love-visit-isabela-province/) to know other things you may enjoy while youre in Isabela!

 

 

PASALAMAT

PASALAMAT FESTIVAL —PAGADIAN CITY ( ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR)
3rd Sunday of January

Pasalamat Festival is celebrated every 3rd Sunday of January in Pagadian City to commemorate the patron saint Sto. Niño (The holy Child Jesus) and to give thanks for the bountiful and fruitful harvest. The origin of the festival was meant to honor the God of Agriculture where locals had to go to Mt. Kanlaon and give their gratitude from an abundant harvest but as time went on, it then transformed into a far more colorful and exciting event. The highlights of the festival are a fluvial parade, trade Exhibits, Mutya ng Pagadian, Carnival shows, Ritual Showdown, Street Dancing and a civic military parade.

 

 

Pasungay1

PASUNGAY FESTIVAL — SAN JOAQUIN, ILOILO
3rd Saturday of January

Pasungay Festival is celebrated at San Joaquin, Iloilo and is conducted every 3rd Saturday of January.

The origin of Pasungay dates back even before the Spanish era, the story began when two angry bulls were set loose by the cow keepers and started to fight at the hillside and captured the interest of townspeople. Since then, they made it into a popular amusement in most of the barangay fiestas.

The festival is commemorated by bull fighting where each bull struggles to fight the other by interlocking their horns and pushing each other until the other gives up and flee. The fight usually takes less than half an hour or until one of them gives up. The bulls are specially handpicked months before the festivals by experts. Before the fight, an elimination round is made by a group of experts and are then trained to secure their victory.

It’s also a celebration to honor the Sto. Niño or the child Jesus.

 

 

SAKAY SAKAY

SAKAY-SAKAY FESTIVAL — MISAMIS ORIENTAL
3rd Sunday of January

Sakay-Sakay festival is held every 3rd week of January in Balingasag, Misamis Oriental. The Sakay sakay festival exhibitsthe locals’ devotion to the image of Sto. Niño by dancing and honoring through a fluvial procession along the streets and at the Balingasag Macalajar Bay. It is believed to give blessings to the locals. A competition for the Higante and Sto.Nino icon is also held during the celebration. 

 

tarlac

MALATARLAK FESTIVAL — TARLAC CITY
3rd week of January

Malatarlak is a festival that can be characterized as a world class event because of its astounding way of showcasing the trademark of Tarlac and Filipino culture. It is celebrated every January and occurs the same time with Tarlac’s Rice Cake Festival.

Tarlac is a Hispanized derivation of an Aeta word for a “Talahib-like” weed called “Malatarlak.” The festival honors the first people to build civilization in the province which are the Aetas.

The plant is celebrated with sumptuous pageantry that’s characterized by schoolchildren dressed in grass-inspired costumes, who dance to the beat of traditional music. It is a week-long event begins with an opening ceremony, trade fair, food and drink stalls and live musical and dance entertainment. Additional events include numerous sport competitions, cooking demonstrations, markets, dance competitions and other live entertainment shows. The final day is concluded with a grand procession and a fireworks display

In addition, it also includes a float parade designed with products that can be found in local farms that shows the artistry of Tarlaqueños.

 

4th week of January

Dinagyang festival

DINAGYANG FESTIVAL — ILOILO
4th week of January

Dinagyang festival is a festivity that is celebrated by the Ilonggos. The celebration is being held in honor of the Senor Sto. Nino which is believed to be miraculous in times of famine and drought. The said celebration started when a replica of the image of Senor Sto Nino was brought from Cebu to Iloilo. The residents welcomed and honored the image and soon after the native were devoted to it.

The celebration covers a nine day novena, an Ati-ati contest and a fluvial procession of the image on the last day of the celebration.

Dinagyang is formed from the word dagyang which in Iloilo means “happy”. Dinagyang Festival was named “Ati-atihan” before, like of Aklan’s, and to make it unique from the mentioned festival, the old-timer, Ilonggo writer and radio broadcaster, the late Pacifico Sumagpao Sudario, turned it to “Dinagyang” and first used when the festival was launched on 1977.

The celebration is a mixture of religious and cultural activity. Commemorating the Christianization of the native with the participant (The Warriors) dressed fashionably in colorful costumes and artistically and rhythmically dances along with the thunderous sound of drums. A performance of the dramatization of how Christianity was brought in Panay was also included in the festival.

Aside from the performances, there were also competitions held where different baranggays,schools, nearby towns and provinces actively participates.

 

 

PABIRIIIK

PABIRIK FESTIVAL — PARACALE, CAMARINES NORTE
4th week of January

Pabirik festival is celebrated during every last week of January until February 2. It is located in Paracale, Camarines Norte.  Franciscan missionaries in 1581 founded the Paracale church, it is known for being the “Gold Town” of Camarines Norte, which is their major industry aside from agriculture and fishing.

The festival celebrates the town’s gold mining industry. In fact, the presence of gold in the area is the reason why Spaniard chose to colonize and Christianized the area.

The main event of the festival is the Pabirik Street Dancing Competition, where numerous school organizations depict how the Nuestra Señora De Candelaria defended the town against Moro invaders.

The story about Our Lady of Candelaria started in August 29, 1809 where 37 Moro tried to invade the town but was deafeated by the lightning quick of the Lady Patronn and the remaining enemies were swallowed by sea water.

Aside for the Street Dancing Competition, the streets are loaded with people and bazaars that packed the roads of Paracale. There are also different activities like pageants, Battle of the Bands, Kasiyahan sa Parke, and a parade where ensembles wear costumes that represent religious figures, anglers and gold excavators.

 

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