Philippines Travel Guides

January

Chinese New Year: the date of this holiday shifts with the lunar phases. Pockets of Chinese across the Philippines observe New Year festivities with the greatest fanfare in Manila's Chinatown. Fireworks, traditional dance and plenty of Chinese delicacies put Chinatown at the top of tourists' priorities during this time of year.

Fiesta de Sto Nino: a pious event, Catholics from across the country gather in Tondo, Manila to celebrate baby Jesus. Events include parades of sacred images and a series of competitions hosted by the Department of Tourism.

Fiesta of the Black Nazarene: during this popular festival, an image of the Black Nazarene is paraded throughout through Quiapo's streets by several thousand men. This tradition has taken place for several centuries in the Philippines, and women are historically barred from participating. Some believe that the statue possesses supernatural healing powers, and spectators clamour to touch the statue as it passes.

Ati-Atihan: is one of the Philippines' most celebrated festivals, held in honour of Sto Niño, the 'holy child'. Locals paint their body’s black, don colourful outfits and parade through the city streets.

February

Feast of Our Lady of Candles: held primarily in the Visayas region, this feast includes a parade and candlelit blessing to honour Nuestra Senora de Candelaria.

March

Likhang Kamay: enjoys the patronage of the Hubert H Fellows Association along with the departments of Trade, Industry and Tourism. Once a year in March or April, local artisans come together to display and sell their finest works.

April

Moriones Festival: this annual festival is held in Marinduque and features re-enactments of the story of Longinus. City streets are transformed into a stage for the production.

Senakulo: Holy Week is observed with great fervour across the Philippines. Several sombre processions and pageants are held at this time, highlighted by a re-enactment of Christ's Passion. The depth of the Catholic roots of the Philippines is evident during this festival, with a wealth of rites and services widely attended. If you visit the Philippines during this time, you're likely to come across planned observances anywhere in the country, though the greatest concentration of events is in Manila.

Flowers of May: is held in honour of the Virgin Mary. Festivities last for the entire month of May, and each morning the Virgin's local altar is adorned with flowers presented by a group of young girls dressed in white. Parades of people dressed as Biblical figures take to the streets on the last day of the festival. Try to catch the parade in Ermita, Manila, where the Department of Tourism and local hotels team up to make the procession truly spectacular.

Obando Dance: Sta Clara is widely revered as the patron saint of those without children. Women struggling with infertility or those who simply wish to bless an upcoming conception take part in this dance in the belief that Sta Clara will soon reward them with pregnancy.

June

Bailes de los Arcos: this dance is the highlight of the annual Feast of St Peter and St Paul at Barangay Poblacion. Dancers are traditionally daughters of the festival's previous dancers, and most of them train for the entire year leading up to this single day of performance.

September

Feast of Nuestra Senora Penafrancia: this annual religious festival is hosted at Camarines Sur in Naga City, where a procession sees Our Lady's image taken to the Bicol River.

November

Feast of Nuestra Senora de los Malate: an event sponsored by advocates of the Blessed Lady, this feast is accompanied by novenas and masses held in honour of Malate's patron saint, Nuestra Seroa.

December

Grand Marian Procession: old Manila comes alive with a procession carrying 50 images of the Virgin Mary. Thousands of Catholics gather here during this time to pay homage to the Virgin on her traditional day of birth.

Filipino Christmas: as Catholicism is so deeply ingrained in the Philippines, it's no surprise that Christmas is a highly celebrated event. Observances and festivals last the whole month of December and are collectively known as Paskuhan. December is traditionally a month of homecomings and family reunions, and yuletide celebrations typically continue until New Year’s Eve.