Spectacular Festivals in Philippines

MrGhaz By MrGhaz, 17th Sep 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Asia>Philippines>Manila & Around

The end result is a truly spectacular fiesta that keeps Davao rocking for seven days (and nights!). Extensive activities include parades featuring the civic, military and tribal aspects of local life, flower and produce shows, traditional sport, horse races, native rowing races, powerboat races, music and dance contests and a glittering beauty pageant. Highlights are the stunning Flora Float Parade and the constant Indak indak sa Kadalanan-street dancing in breathtaking tribal costumes.

Spectacular Festivals in Philippines

Kadayawan sa Dabaw

Countless annual celebrations in the Philippines are colorful occasions that serve as authentic expressions of this island nation’s interesting history and culture, but some stand out as being very special indeed. One such is the Kadayawan sa Dabaw in Davao, surely amongst the most impressive (and famous) of them all.

This massive occasion sees ‘business as usual’ suspended as Davao City transforms itself into a playground for a week-long celebration with many faces. The time-honored rationale is to give thanks for the bountiful harvest provided by the area’s forests, fertile land, rivers and seas, though Kadayawan sa Dabaw itself is of fairly recent origin, created in the 1980s to unite the people after a dark period of dictatorship. As such, it formalized the village ritual of giving thanks to the gods with offerings of food, flowers and farming implements, whilst indulging in feasting, singing, dancing and general merriment.

But Kadayawan sa Dabaw has always included other objectives, notably the preservation of indigenous peoples and their way of life on ancestral lands. As such, the festival also serves as a showcase for the arts, crafts, cuisine and culture of the local tribes, providing visitors with fascinating insight into these traditional communities, how they live and the ways in which they have influenced contemporary life. This is an important mulch-faceted strand woven through the entire event.

Regada Water Festival

Although the tourist-orientated Regada Water Festival is nominally dedicated to St John the Baptist (traditionally associated with the sprinkling of baptismal water), a more suitable patron might be Neptune. This unusual annual fiesta was only instigated in 1996, but has rapidly become an enduring tradition, whose fame has spread far beyond the Calabarzon Region.

Regada is an anarchic mixture of religious, environmental and cultural themes, but in truth it’s all a great excuse for a week-long knees-up that turns the city of Cavite (itself surrounded by water) into a carnival venue-a pretty wild and wet one. In the run-up to the saint’s day there are numerous entertaining events-a bike rally, water sports, music and dance competitions, concerts, cultural presentations, fashion shows, cookery demonstrations, art exhibitions and a whole variety of colorful themed parades and intriguing processions, including one by youthful eco-warriors dressed in herbage to underline the festival’s ‘green’ credentials.

It all comes to a splashy climax on St John’s Day. In order to maintain Regada’s self-proclaimed status as the world’s largest water festival, the entire main thoroughfare of P Burgos Avenue is equipped with sprinklers and powerful sound systems. It becomes a festival centerpiece with townsfolk, students and adventurous visitors getting soaked as they indulge in the prolonged wet-dancing session. Faint-hearted visitors can watch-and be highly amused-from the safety of the sidelines.

This extraordinary sight is complemented by a reminder of the festival’s more serious aspect-the Caracol, which sees an image of St John paraded through the city streets to reminder the many devout onlookers to give thanks for the year’s blessings. It’s the final piece of a colorful jigsaw and makes a vibrant picture that anyone visiting the Philippines in June should be sure to see.


The festival of Flores de Mayo (Flowers of May) is held throughout the month in question. All over the Philippines extra religious observance takes place regularly, often on Wednesdays and Saturday. Whatever form this may take, the conclusion is always a traditional Santacruzan parade in honor of Reyna Elena (Queen Helena).

This pageant depicts St Helena’s quest for the Holy Cross with her newly converted son, Emperor Constantine. After the sacred relic was recovered in Jerusalem and brought to Rome there was great thanksgiving and prolonged celebration-now replicated in towns and villages all over the Philippines. Though introduced by Spaniards, Santacruzan has become part of Filipino culture and is identified with youth, love and joy.

It is preceded by a novena (nine days of prayers), then a procession that presents a succession of symbolic characters who tell the story of Christianity’s virtues and influence on Filipino life. These include Methuselah (dust to dust). Aetas and Queen Mors (the pagan Philippines), Queen Banderada (the coming of Christianity), Queen Fe (faith), Queen Esperanza (hope), Queen Caridad (charity), Queen Aboganda (defender of the poor), Queen Sentenciada (the martyrs), Queen Justicia (justice), Queen Judith (savior of her city), Queen of Sheba (the wisdom of Solomon), Queen Esther (savior of the Jews), Samaritana (the woman Christ spoke to at the well), Veronica (who Mother the face of Jesus), three Marys (Magdalene, Mother of Christ, Mother of James), eight angels (together spelling out AVE MARIA)…. And finally Queen Helena herself, escorted by son Constantine.

Naturally, there is plenty of May blossom in evidence and the costumes are stunning. The Santacruzan procession marches to the beat of musicians singing and playing Dios Te Salve (Hail Mary), a chant taken up by following devotees holding candles. The whole thing is an awe-inspiring sight.


Festival, Phillipines, Travel, Travelling

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48 year old guy from Malaysia, I'm a prolific researcher and writer of interesting pages on the net..

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