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3 Colorful Festivals to Witness in the Philippines

It’s more fun in the Philippines, and for many good reasons. Aside from the picturesque tropical beaches, hospitable people, and mouthwatering gastronomy, the so-called “Pearl of the Orient Seas” is also known for its colorful festivals.

Visitors worldwide can’t help returning to the Philippines, and many travelers are eager to witness the grand festivals in the Philippines for the first time. Such festivals add to the country's lively atmosphere, welcoming locals and stunning beaches.

Sinulog performance

During festivals, people in the Philippines can showcase their rich culture and local products, as well as pay tribute to the country's patron saints.

The Philippine calendar is marked and filled with various festivities that can go on for days or weeks in certain months of the year. After all, every province has a Filipino fiesta they are incredibly proud to commemorate as a significant factor that fuels the Filipino spirit.

Such festivities are also part of helping Filipinos bond with their families and connect with people of other racial or ethnic backgrounds while living in such a diverse country. Every type of festival, whether a religious or an arts festival, is a manifestation of the collectivistic Filipino culture.

The festivals are enormous, colorful, and with lots of fanfare as thousands of tourists and locals enjoy the celebration. No wonder Philippine fiestas are also a romantic opportunity for many Western men to find their potential partner among the exceptional Filipinas and choose their Filipino bride.

Usually, Philippine festivals display past customs to maintain their values and culture, such as through Filipino traditional dances and folk music. Festivals support the local, political, and economic systems that also contribute to the country's lucrative tourism industry.

Here are the top 3 Philippine fiestas that will surely add color to your life for a memorable trip:

Sinulog Festival

The Sinulog Festival is celebrated annually at the Visayas region right at the core of Cebu, also known as the “Queen City of the South.” One of the country’s largest festivals is held every 15th of January in dedication to the patron saint — baby Jesus (Sto. Niño). Historically, the Sinulog Festival can be traced back to the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan. He aimed to spread Christianity among the natives. Today, thousands of people attend the fluvial parade as a religious festival, followed by the solemn procession. People flock to the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño in Cebu to attend the mass. The highlight is the Sinulog grand parade consisting mainly of students in colorful traditional costumes and extravagant cultural props while dancing Sinulog steps in the streets accompanied by the upbeat rhythm of the drums.

MassKara Festival

This colorful festival takes place on October 4 each year. This celebration honors the culture of the province of Bacolod City, a.k.a. the City of smiles. This Philippine festival is also known as the “Festival of Many Faces” because the locals wear smiling masks during the jovial parade to elevate the local spirits. Two major tragedies led to the commemoration of the event in the 1980s: the ferry accident and the collapse of sugar prices. The festival includes street dance competitions and musical performances with lavish costumes in vibrant colors.

Pahiyas Festival

Every 15th of May, this festival is celebrated in the town of Lucban, located in the province of Quezon. The townspeople honor and give thanks to their patron saint, San Isidro Labrador, for their bountiful harvest. The term pahiyas comes from the word payas, which means “to decorate” as farmers showcase their decorated homes with offerings. Hundreds of colorful houses decorated with kipings (Filipino leaf-shaped wafer ) offers free food, including longganisa as a popular local food specialty. Of course, there’s a colorful and lively parade after the eucharistic mass and processions.

As you attend these Philippines festivals, you'll see for yourself the magic that comes with these jamborees. During such festivities, the townspeople adorn entire villages and streets with stunning costumes, decorations, and lighting. You’ll be swaying to the rhythm of the drums and upbeat music mixed with folk songs. Perhaps, you might even meet your destined partner along the way. Indeed, these are vivid carnivals to see with your very own eyes.

This story was originally published in Medium:3 Colorful Festivals to Witness in the Philippines

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