The Philippines is a very culturally rich country, with amazing and colorful festivals all year round. Every month and every city has its own vibrance popping out of their festivals for at least a week, nothing less. The Filipinos have a strong celebration game. 

Most of the festivals in the Philippines are traditionally rooted in Christianity, and rightfully so. Being under Spanish colonial rule for more than 500 years has largely shaped our festival scene – from celebrating the life of Saints to honoring baby Jesus.

These festivals were instrumental in spreading Christianity throughout the locality. Other festivals are held to commemorate significant historical events or honor seasons, such as seasons of harvest or paying tribute to the survivors of a tragic earthquake.

Contrary to what you might believe, most Philippine festivals are not the quiet and meditative kind. They are often celebrated with loud music, frenzied dancing, outrageous costumes, feasts, and lots of alcohol.

Ati-Atihan Festival

The Ati-Atihan Festival in Aklan is the oldest festival in the Philippines, which has earned it the distinction of being “The Mother of all Philippine Festivals”. As the country’s first festival, the event is said to have inspired most of the Philippines’ festivals including the Sinulog and Dinagyang.

The name Ati-Atihan is derived from the Ati-people: short, dark-skinned, and frizzy-haired. Celebrated for over 800 years, the festival is held in honor of the Holy Child Jesus. It is worthwhile to note that while the festival is pagan in origin, it was the Spanish that turned the celebration into a Christian event.

Sinulog Festival


The Sinulog Festival in Cebu City is one of the grandest festivals in the country. The famous celebration is held to honor Santo Nino (the Holy Child Jesus), the patron saint of the City. In a nutshell, the Sinulog is a dance ritual that marks the Filipino’s pagan past and its transition to Christianity.

‘Sinulog’ translates to ‘like the water current’, which is the name of the step performed by dancers in the street. It goes two steps forward and one step backwards, forming a sort of water wave. The dance ritual marks the Filipino pagan past and its transition to Christianity. The festival has parties, concerts, processions, parades, food stalls, trade fairs, drum beats, and a lot of dancing. This festival brings everyone together to honor and celebrate the patron saint of Cebu. 

Kaamulan Festival

Kaamulan Festival 2023 Street Dancing

The Kaamulan Festival is a blend of a thanksgiving ritual, a peace pact between tribes, a datukship ritual, and a wedding ceremony. This festival is an authentic and ethnic event reflecting on the vibrance of tribes and their traditions. It is hosted by seven ethnic Filipino tribes- Bukidnon, Talaandig, Tigwahanon, Manobo, Umayamnon, Matigsalog, and Higaonon. It originated from the word ‘amul’, meaning ‘to gather’. The tribes gather to showcase their tribal costumes, dances, and products.

It is a beautiful festival to witness. They also have various traditions and rituals like Pag Ampo (general worship), the Tagulambong hu Datu (ritual for the installation of a Chieftain), the Panumanod (a spiriting ceremony), the Panli Sig (rite to drive away evil spirits), and the Pamalas (sin atonement ritual).

Moriones Festival

Moriones Festival | Heart Of The Philippines | Luzon Datum |

The Moriones Festival is probably the most dramatic and active festival in the Philippines. It relates to the life of St. Longinus, the centurion who pierced Jesus with a spear during the crucifixion. People reenact the search of Longinus’ post-crucifixion quite literally. They dress up as Roman soldiers, hide among houses, and playfully scare the children of the city. It is an intriguing act to behold. In fact, the word ‘Morion’ means the ‘helmet of Roman soldiers’. This festival gives a theatrical outlook into the traditions of the country and is a perfect blend of mysticism and pageantry.  

Panagbenga Festival

PANAGBENGA 2023 Highlights WEEK ONE. Must see events First Week, The Baguio City Flower Festival

The Panagbenga Festival is a hopeful and the prettiest festival in the country. It celebrates the rising up of Baguio City after the 1990 Luzon earthquakes. The Kankanaey term ‘Panagbenga’ means ‘A Season of Blossoming’. The entire city is decorated with blooming and colourful flowers. It lasts for a whole month and also includes a Grand Float Parade, where giant floats of different characters are made of flowers and displayed in the parade.

There is also a dance and costume competition where participants dance to Cordilleran music, along with celebrities and local performers. Session Street and Burnham Park is the main spot of celebration. Baguio city is known as the Summer Capital of the Philippines due to this festival. 

Giant Lantern Festival

Giant Lantern Festival (San Fernando, Pampanga, Philippines)

Trust in San Fernando, the Christmas Capital of the Philippines, to throw one of the biggest Christmas-themed festivals in the country. The Giant Lantern Festival is an event that revolves around a lantern-making competition.

The Giant Lantern Festival celebrates Christmas the right way, an entire month of giant lanterns lighting up the Christmas Capital of the Philippines- San Fernando City. It gives out the perfect holiday vibes, especially on the weekend before Christmas Eve, when there is a competition for the largest lantern in the city. People begin to make these lanterns a month before the festival, the only compulsion of the competition being the use of locally available materials. The lanterns rise over 15 feet in diameter and are displayed in colourful parades in each barrio in Pampanga before the midnight mass of Christmas. San Fernando City is a great place to celebrate Christmas. 

Dinagyang Festival


Dinagyang’ is a Hiligaynon word meaning ‘merrymaking’. It hosts a celebration of the Santo Nino and the pact between the Datus and the locals after the arrival of Malay settlers. This festival is a beautiful time to witness the street life of the country. Hosted on the fourth Sunday of January, there is a competitive street dancing contest featuring tribes, barangays, and schools. It also gives you a chance to experience a hip street party with local food, delicacies, and drinks. The streets are closed off and there is a celebration with a parade of tableaus of folkloric scenarios and dancers in body paint with outrageous and vibrant costumes. It is truly a merry festival. 

Pahiyas Festival


The Pahiyas Festival reflects Filipino creativity in its decorations and festivities. It celebrates the patron saint of farmers for a good harvest- San Isidro Labrador. A parade of locals in costumes, giant paper-mache, and designed floats is hosted. The interesting part is the decorations. The houses and floats are decorated with fruits, vegetables, and colourful Kiplings which are traditional Filipino leaf-shaped wafers, made with glutinous rice.

Moreover, all this fresh produce is available for visitors. People can pick this produce from houses free of charge and also enjoy local delicacies like the Lucban Longganisa and kaldereta. The best-decorated house is also honoured. 

Kadayawan Festival

Why do we celebrate Kadayawan?

Kadayawan’ is a native expression in the Dabawon tongue, derived from the word ‘madayaw’ meaning ‘good, valuable, and superior’. This festival is a festival of thankfulness and relates to thanksgiving traditions. The locals pay tribute to their indigenous people and express gratitude for a plentiful harvest. The streets are decorated with fresh fruits, vegetables, and handicrafts. A parade of vibrant floats coloured with produce and flowers is also hosted, along with horse fights, beauty pageants, boat races, and a firework display. 

Masskara Festival


Bacolod isn’t called the City of Smiles for no reason. People here are a fun-loving bunch, and the city’s biggest festival reflects that. The word Masskara is derived from the Filipino word mascara, which means mask. 

If you’re a party person, the Masskara Festival of the Philippines is not to be missed. The meaning behind the celebration and the celebration itself- both top each other off. It began in 1980 as a way to escape from the reality of the situation. The locals put on smiling masks despite hardships and brought the masked metaphor to life. It is celebrated similarly to the current day. Attended by around 3 million people around the world annually, the Masskara Festival is 20 twenty days of non-stop street-dancing, drinking, and merrymaking. People put on smiling masks and enjoy a masquerade party.

Higantes Festival

Dapat Alam Mo!: Higantitos sa Angono, silipin!

The Higantes Festival is based on the Angono folklore that tells us about ‘hingates’ or giant paper mache made by the locals to protest against the Spanish inquisition. And now, these paper mache are used as a part of the Higantes Festival. It is celebrated to honour the town’s patron saint- San Clemente. The locals open their homes and dining to visitors as a feast celebration. Paper mache as long as 12 feet are built for each barangay.

There are a lot of different ceremonies during this time including basaan where people are sprinkled with holy water during the higantes parade for good fortune. This festival is also why Agono is often known as the Art Capital of the Philippines. 

Pintados Festival

2023 Pintados Festival [CINEMATIC FILM]

The Pintados Festival is the most anticipated festival since 1987, probably because of its raw cultural richness. This festival showcases the native people who lived here before the Spanish, and how they lived their life. You’ll see locals around the street with inked bodies and tattoos, like the tribe people of Leyte and Samar, who were known as the Pintados. It symbolizes the brave warriors of the past and is celebrated with music, dance, and the vibrant colours of green and blue. 

The festivals of the Philippines are not to be missed. Each event is hosted and celebrated with enthusiasm, love, and spirituality. There is music and dance, and a reflection on the ethnicity of the Filipino.

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