A fiesta is defined by the Spanish as a religious festival, a saint's day or holiday. The Spanish occupation of the Philippines lasted 300 years. Therefore, the practice of
naming districts and people baptized in the Catholic faith after saints are some of the vestiges of their occupation. This, in addition to the National holidays, translates into many days of celebration in a year. Festivities include processions, fluvial parades, the drum and bugle band, tribes and groups of dancers and colorful costumes and floats, buntings and harvest, food, games, carnivals, karaoke and merriment - a testament to
the spirit of celebration of the Filipinos. Filipino hospitality is constant and in full display especially during the annual fiesta. Key to the excitement of a local fiesta is the cooperation of families, vacationing family members from abroad and neighbors in the district. Friends and tourists becoming part of the extended family can be traced to the ancient Malay boat, the balanghai, used by early Malay settlers to the islands. The local district is called barangay after balanghai, in which members rely on each other for survival. The tribal dancing and use of drums evident in many fiestas can be traced to
the earliest settlers, the Negritos. They were hunter-gatherers and lived among themselves sharing rituals for the harvest, as well as birth and life celebrations. One
can surmise that Philippine fiestas are rooted in the Philippine's spirit of celebration
and religious piety, camaraderie with fellowmen and respect for his true culture.
Fiestas And Holydays
Founding of Manila – June 24
Commemorates the founding of Manila, the capital of the Philippines, and
is usually celebrated with a parade and or sporting event.
Feast of St. John The Baptist – June 24
For those towns who have St. John the Baptist as their patron saint, it is
a day of Mass, followed by celebration honoring the saint. In San Juan, Metro Manila, the early part of the day sees the throwing of water among residents and passersby to commemorate the deeds of St. John.
Pintados Festival – June 29 Tacloban Leyte's famous Pintados Festival is highlighted by a parade and
a display of their ancient tradition of tattooing. In the past, tattooed people were held in high esteem here because of their courage. Fil-Am Friendship Day – July 4 Revival of friendship among Filipinos, Americans and other nationalities. Pagoda Festival – July 4 In Bocaue, Bulacan a fluvial parade of colorful small boats accompany
the pagoda. It is held in honor of the Holy Cross of Wawa, believed to
have turned up long ago in BocaueRiver.
Sandugo Festival- July, 4th week Sandugo means being one in blood which is what the Spaniard Legaspi
and Filipino chieftain Sikatuna did by toasting ang drinking a cup of each
other's blood during the Spanish conquest of Bohol. This is reenacted to
mark a day of exhibits, pageantry and street dancing.
Kahimonan Abayan Festival – July, 4th week
This celebration in Butuan, Agusan del Norte sees the locals participating
in a prayer procession while on boats for safe passage and prosperity in
honor of St. Anne, whom they believe can protect them from Agusan River's menacing man-eating crocodiles.