Huling Hirit sa Tag-Init
Nothing celebrates the culture of a particular country more than a festival, and here in the Philippines, these celebrations are as many as the 7,107 islands that make up the archipelago.
Filipino hospitality is legendary the world over, and at no time is this more evident than during town fiestas. Especially during this summer when a lot of people are on break or are looking for places to visit and things to do, fiestas and festivals make it to the top of almost everyone's list.
As the first half of the year comes to a close and the hot weather starts to kick into high gear, we've rounded up a list of the festivals and fiestas you can still visit this summer.
What: A Thanksgiving festival in honor of San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers and good harvest.
When: Every 15th of May
The Pahiyas Festival is one of the most colorful, non-secular fiestas in the Philippines. It is celebrated in Quezon province, mainly in the town of Lucban, along with the harvest festivals of the towns of Gumaca, Sariaya, Tayabas, and Tiaong.
During the festival, local households try to outdo each other in decking the halls and decorating the walls with kiping, leaf-shaped rice paste wafers painted in different colors and then hung outside the homes along with fresh fruits and flowers. Local delicacies are also featured during this time, including the famous Lucban longganisa and pancit habhab.
Obando Fertility Rites
What: A non-secular festival celebrating the feast days of St. Paschal, St. Clare and Our Lady of Salambao. This Filipino ritual dance is a form of religious procession devoted to people who are looking for love, the ability to bear child, or good fortune.
When: May 17-19
Filipino couples having a hard time conceiving, maidens and bachelors, devotees and tourists from all over dance their way to Obando in Bulacan province to find a lover, be rewarded with a child, or be blessed with good fortune during the feast days of the town's patron saints.
Every year, thousands of people flock to Obando and dance to the tune of bamboo instruments while wearing colorful, traditional costumes. People dance on the streets along with the images of their patron saints: San Pascual Baylon, Santa Clara, and Nuestra Senora de Salambao while singing Santa Clara Pinung-Pino.
Farmers also take this time to thank the saints and the Virgin for bountiful harvests.
What: A religious-historical beauty pageant in honor of the Virgin Mary and in commemoration of Helena of Constantinople and Constantine the Great's finding of the True Cross.
When: Held on the last day of Flores de Mayo (Flowers of May), which is typically the last week of May.
The Santacruzan is a pageant held throughout the Philippines to celebrate the last day of Flores de Mayo (Spanish for "Flowers of May"). Flores de Mayo commemorates the finding of the True Cross in Jerusalem by Helena of Constantinople (known by many as Reyna Elena) and Constantine the Great. As derived from the other names for the festival, Flores de Maria, it is also a celebration in honor of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Different towns and cities across the country honor the Virgin Mary with the Santacruzan, where lovely maidens get to dress in beautiful gowns and march around town under arches of summer blooms and bearing the names of biblical characters or Marian titles. Today, the festival is becoming more of a fashion event where beauty queens, TV personalities, and beautiful ladies get to act as sagalas.
Before the rainy season comes breezing in, mark your calendars now, get your cars ready and prepare yourselves for tons of fun and merrymaking with some of the Philippines' most colorful and vibrant summer festivals.