7 exciting festivals in the Philippines in 2016

Pencil in these highly anticipated events on your calendar pronto

Kadayawan celebrations in Davao City

Kadayawan celebrations in Davao City

Philippine Balloon Fiesta, Pampanga

Philippine Balloon Fiesta, Pampanga

Malasimbo, Oriental Mindoro

Malasimbo, Oriental Mindoro


When: Every third Sunday of January; in 2016, this falls on January 17
Where: Cebu City
What: Formerly a solemn commemoration of the Santo Niño’s miraculous rediscovery in 1565, the Sinology has evolved into the Philippines’ biggest street party. Even if you give the Grand Parade a miss, the side streets radiating out from Gen. Maxilom Avenue swarm with tourists taking free tequila shots from locals; from every corner, face-painted partygoers greet one and all with a hearty “Pit Senyor!”

Philippine Balloon Fiesta

When: February 11-14, 2016
Where: Pampanga
What: The Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta celebrates “everything that flies”. Beyond the colorful hot-air balloons, there are also aerobatic shows, parachuting exhibitions and kite flying competitions.


When: All throughout February, when Baguio’s weather is at its crispest and most pleasant.
Where: Baguio
What: Taking its name from the Kankana-ey word for “blooming season”, Panagbenga celebrates Baguio’s botanical riches with this month-long flower festival. Come for the parades, concerts, street parties and pageants.


When: March 4-6, 2016
Where: Mount Malasimbo, Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro
What: A music festival that puts Filipino-flavored world music center stage. Watch the likes of Grace Nono, Joey Ayala and Up Dharma Down rock the Oriental Mindoro mountainside.


When: March 20-27, 2016
Where: Marinduque
What: A traditional Holy Week festival that features men in Roman costumes and masks re-enacting the sad tale of Longinus the centurion, who was said to have wounded Jesus on the cross. It’s an amazing bit of folk theater: the masked anonymity encourages the actors to engage in horseplay as they seek Longinus in the streets.


When: May 15, 2016
Where: Lucban, Quezon
What: To honor San Isidro Labrador, patron saint of farmers, the Lucbanons festoon their houses with the products of their trade: longganisa (sausages), handicrafts and kiping (rice wafers). Enjoy small-town Pinoy hospitality as you visit houses and eat from their groaning tables of food.


When: August 15-21, 2016
Where: Davao City
What: A harvest festival that highlights Davao’s four native tribes — and gives an excuse to gorge on the city’s amazing cuisine. The week-long celebrations are a great way to explore Davao’s fruit stands — just in time for mangosteen and durian to come into season!

Also read: This is why Davao is the most liveable city in the Philippines

This article originally appeared in the December 2015 issue of Smile magazine.

Written by

Mike Aquino

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