The Philippines is known for its fondness for festive, creative, and colorful occasions celebrated each year. Almost every event, big or little, is remembered in this manner. Here are a number of major Philippine festivals.
Almost every barangay or locality in the Philippines celebrates Santa Cruzan, a local beauty pageant in the month of May. Among exciting Philippine festivals, beautiful women and handsome men in a locality, young and old, are searched out. Those chosen (royalties) join a parade in the streets at night The pairs wear native Filipino clothes (barongs and sayas) and walk under arched canopies made of light bamboos and carried by escorts. Escorts are clad in the same attire as the royalties and carry lighted candles to guide the parade.
Flores de Mayo
Flores de Mayo is a festival of flowers. Held each May of the year in almost every town or Barangay in the country, children pick flowers of various kinds for this occasion, arrange them in bouquets and offer them to the Virgin Mary in Roman Catholic Churches. Kids hear mass specially designed for them and sing Marian songs. Among flowery Philippine festivals, Flores de Mayo or “Flowers of May” is held on a summer vacation month to make sure children are available and in hopes that some April showers would bring May flowers.
Provincial towns and city districts in the Philippines have their own patron saints. Mostly at summer time, localities celebrate town fiestas in honor of their respective revered saints. Among eventful Philippine festivals, the whole town or locality prepares for the occasion with programs held in their plazas or district centers. Games, sports, street dancing, parades, floats, some with river bank activities, band playing, speeches from prominent guests, fireworks, and food accompany the programs. Most popular saints many towns honor are San Juan (St. John), Sta. Maria (St. Mary), San Jose (St. Joseph), and Sto. Nino (the holy child).
Originally celebrated in Kalibo, Aklan, Ati-Atihan has become a popular event celebrate in other localities of the country as well. Philippine festivals with lively street dancing that goes with dynamic drum playing accompaniment are common, but Ati-Atihan is made unique by the dark skin color artificially applied on the faces and bodies of the dancers clad in colorful ethnic costumes. The dancers may wield spears as they do a ritualistic dance while chanting “Hala-bira!” or “Go hit!”
The small municipality of Obando in the Province of Bulacan in central Luzon is known for its supposedly miraculous traditional dance—the Obando Dance. It is believed to be an effective fertility dance ritual that stimulates barren lands and wombs to produce crops and infants, respectively. People, young or old couples, who desire fertility dress up in a traditional Bulacan attire, dance in the streets while singing “Santa Clara Pinung-Pino” or “Utterly Pure St. Clara.” Children join the dance and statues of patron saints, San Pascual, Santa Clara, and Nuestra de Senora Salambao are paraded. For Philippine festivals said to result to numerous miracles, the Obando Dance is among them.
Metro Manila Film Festival
The annual Metro Manila Film Festival, also a movie competition, is among Philippine festivals attended by mammoth crowds of showbiz fans and fanatics. Held on a week within December to January of each year, the film festival not only parades movie personalities on floats in long routes around the metropolis. Major film outfits also produce their best movies for the year to make it to the prestigious movie competition. For a whole week nothing but local films are shown in theaters in the country to support the local movie industry.
When it comes to glamorous festivities, the Philippines is among countries specializing in the field.