Enjoying the Philippine Festivities during Your Vacation
It’s summer time in the Philippines! Aside from the panoramic sceneries, clear blue waters and scrumptious dishes, festivities are one of the highlights during summertime in the Philippines. Being a very religious folk, different towns and provinces have grand celebrations in honour of their patron saints while others would put emphasis on a particular product or natural resource in that location. Fiestas, in commemoration of a patron saint, are the Filipinos’ way of thanking God for the bountiful harvest of crops and for providing all their needs the whole year round.
Colourful fiestas await you if you are planning your vacation in the Philippines during summertime. Excellent marching bands, which never seem to get tired of parading around town, are a much awaited event for people, especially by children. Local games are very much representation of the rich culture of Filipinos and their love for celebrations. Some of the classic examples of local games – whatever town or province it may be - are palosebo (from the Spanish stick/pole grease) and basag-palayok (Filipino version of Piñata). And of course, there is an endless array of Filipinos dishes served for everybody – free of charge!
Familiarize yourself with some of the most popular Philippine festivities which can make your summer vacation here a worthwhile experience.
Feast of the Black Nazarene (Metro Manila)
It is the procession of the century-old, hand-carved statue of the Black Nazarene along the streets of Manila. Stories from ancestors believed that during the trip on the way to the Philippines, the ship which carried the statue caught a fire, thus explaining the charred colour of the Nazarene. Thousands of devotees of the Black Nazarene join the procession barefooted and yelling “Viva Señor!” It is said that when you touch the Black Nazarene during the procession, he will grant you a miracle. Many devotees have attested to this and have shared their experiences.
Sinulog Festival (Cebu City)
This festival honours the child Christ St. Niño. It is a gift given to the queen of Cebu after she was baptized to Christianity. The feasts begin with their fluvial re-enactment of the arrival of the Spaniards on Philippine soil during the early 1500s and the beginning of Christianity in the country. For many decades now, people actively participate in the colourful parade on the streets of Cebu to relive this event. Street dance participants clad in bright colours hold the image while doing their mastered choreography. It is one of the main tourist attractions in Cebu.
Panagbenga (Baguio City)
The wonderful and colourful heritage and tradition of the North are evident in the month-long annual flower festival, Panagbenga, of Baguio City. The summer capital of the Philippines and the City of Pines is jam-packed with locals and tourists alike, not only because of its year-round cool climate, but also because of this dazzling feast. Like the Sinulog Festival in Cebu City, colourful and unique floats are the most awaited part of the said festival. You would be in awe of the profusion of flowers during this vibrant, joyful occasion which is something similar to the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California. And you would also be surprised to find out that Baguio City is a canine-friendly place. Dogs dressed in various costumes such as superheroes, fairies and ballerinas are one of the highlights during the Panagbenga Opening parades.
Pahiyas Festival (Lucban, Quezon)
The people of Lucban, Quezon celebrate this festival because it’s their way of giving thanks to their patron saint San Isidro Labrador for providing the farmers with bountiful harvest every year. Homes are decorated mostly of kiping, a leaf-shaped wafers made of rice (similar to tacos proud handicraft products of the residents. You would surely not be able to resist buying some for your loved ones back home. Everyone is welcome to join in the feast of local food dishes and delicacies after the procession.