When we consider a trip to the Philippines, most of us think about the iconic friendly locals or the stunning sights. What you might not realise is that this archipelago of over 7,000 islands is also famed for something a little wilder.
We are, of course, talking about the world-famous Filipino fiestas. As can be seen in many places on the internet, this is a tradition found in every single Filipino town. Fiestas are prime times for celebration, and tourists can enjoy hospitality thrust upon them at every turn with good food to go alongside it.
If that sounds like a trip worth taking to you, then you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to help you decide which fiestas are most worth your time. With every town taking part, there’s no way you can visit them all. Still, some clear winners deserve your attention, and we’re going to discuss them here.
Ati-Atihan Festival (January 15-21)
It seems apt to start with the most famous Philippines festival of all. Ati-Atihan, hosted in Kalibo in Aklan, has gone from a traditional one-day fiesta to a seven-day celebration. Starting on the third Sunday of every January, the festival is held in honour of Santo Nino (Infant Jesus). Whether you’re religious or not, the fantastic food and traditional dance are sure to hold plenty of appeal.
The sights and costumes on offer here will be so amazing that you’ll be taking snaps all day long. Make sure you can spread the joy by sending them right back home either using your hotel wifi or a portable option like the pocket WiFi. One thing’s for sure; a sight this astounding needs to be seen to be believed.
Dinagyang Festival (January 26-28)
Also celebrated in January, the Dinagyang Festival is another option guaranteed to create memories you want to share with people back home. While the Ati-Atihan is the most famous Philippines festive, the Dinagyang festival hosted in Iloilo City is considered the best tourism event.
Also in honor of Santo Nino, this award-winning festival celebrated its fiftieth anniversary this year. Hosted by the Ilonggo people, the festival includes a parade, as well as street dance performed by the Ilonggo tribe. If you’re after a pure slice of Filipino history, it’s difficult to imagine a better option than this.
Kadayawan (3rd week of August)
If you want to steer clear of fiestas with more religious roots, Kadayawan is the choice for you. Kadayawan comes from ‘madayaw,’ which means ‘beautiful.’ And, this is a festival solely created to honour the beauty of Davao City on the island of Mindanao. The week-long celebration is all about food, exhibits, and a fantastic floral float parade which is guaranteed to take your breath away.
The hardest thing about visiting a Filippino fiesta is knowing which one to pick. The good news is that, if you love your fiesta as much as we think you will, you can always go back and experience another one next year!