Food and Travel

Philippine Festivals You Should Not Miss

The Philippines is known as a country that is rich in culture and heritage so it is no longer surprising that various colorful and unique festivals are being held in different parts of the country all year round.

The tradition of fiesta came from the many Spanish religious practices that is why most Filipino festivals are celebrated in honor of it’s patron saints or any major events in the life of Jesus Christ and His Mother Mary.

So when planning your next travel in the Philippines, book a flight or schedule a road trip to your province of choice during its festival so you will be able to be hit two birds in one stone. To give you a taste of the diverse culture ad traditions in the Philippines when celebrating fiestas, I suggest you start first with the following Philippine festivals that should top your list to see and experience.

 

Moriones Festival
Image Source: Liz Reyes

1. Moriones Festival. Moriones Festival is being celebrated in the “Lent Capital of the Philippines“, Marinduque, every lent season. This whole week celebration starts on Holy Monday and ends on Easter Sunday.

Morions are men or women in costumes and masks replicating the biblical Roman soldiers during Christ’s time. They can be seen roaming around the streets of Marinduque for a week like normal people. Dressed in colorful tunics, scary faced masks and helmets, the mere sight of a morion is already enough to send kids scrambling back to their homes.

But don’t be deceived, morions may look snotty in the outside but they are not. In fact, these centurions are very much willing to join you for a picture taking. They also love engaging in antics or surprises to draw attention of tourists. So don’t be scared or surprised if you are walking in the town proper and see a morion coming near and trying to scare you.

Aside from them being a pleasant sight to see in the streets of Marinduque’s town capital Boac, the morions, as part of the Moriones Festival, also plays a crucial part in the Senakulo during Holy Week.

The Senakulo, a lenten play that depicts the life, suffering, and death of Christ, starts staging on the evening of Holy Wednesday and ends late evening of Black Saturday. Aside from Jesus Christ, one of the main characters in the senakulo is the Roman soldier Longinus, who also happens to be a centurion. When in Marinduque during Holy Week, be sure to specifically, look for Longinus. He’s easy to spot–he’s blind on one eye and is the most famous morion off all.

Aside from the afternoon lent processions, senakulo, Battle of the Morions and “pugutan” (reenactment of the beheading of Longinus), the main highlight of the Moriones Festival is actually the Via Crucis or the Way of the Cross which starts as early as 8:00AM of Good Friday. You have the option to go along with Christ, the other penitents, and morions or simply watch–though it is highly suggested that you go with the Way of the Cross since it is actually a one of a kind experience seeing every step of Christ’s suffering. Better be ready to endure the heat of the sun though and just consider it as another form of penitence. The Via Crucis ends with a “crucifixion” before lunch.

 

sinulogfestival
Image Source: Sinulog Website

2. Sinulog Festival. The Sinulog Festival is probably one of the grandest, popular and colorful festival in the Philippines. Sinulog’s main festival is held every year on the third Sunday of January in the province of Cebu to honor the Santo Niño, or the child Jesus, who used to be the patron saint of the whole province of Cebu.

Sinulog comes from the Cebuano adverb “sulog” which is “like water current movement,” as this is the best term to describe the forward-backward movement of the Sinulog dance.

The nine day celebration of Sinulog features participants in bright-colored and garbed costumes while dancing to the rhythm of drums and native gongs. Aside from the famous street dance, fluvial parades and SME trade fair which features Cebu export quality products are also some of the activities to watch out for.

Every year, Cebu is flocked with thousands of tourists from around the world just to witness this one of a kind celebration. In fact, getting a hotel to stay in Cebu City is actually a feat since most accommodations are fully booked already. Thus, if you are planning to street dance with the Cebuanos during the Sinulog Festival, be sure to book your flight and hotel a year before.

For more information on Sinulog Festival, please visit www.sinulog.ph

 

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Here’s something to SMILE about

With all the hassles and poor customer service (not to mention headache) that Cebu Pacific is giving its passengers lately (delayed and cancelled flights, getting bumped off, etc.),  here’s something good about this airline that Filipinos can really be proud of.

CNN Go, CNN’s travel guide website, recently released its World’s 12 best airline magazines and our very own Cebu Pacific‘s in-flight magazine SMILE bagged the seventh spot.

Now that’s something that to SMILE about, don’t you think? ^_^

 

7. Smile (Cebu Pacific, Philippines)

If only we looked this fresh a week into our Vietnam trip.

Basics: What? Who? We didn’t see this chipper little underdog coming either, but Smile’s youthful (and authentically Filipino) charm won us over.

Perfect reader: A fresh-faced backpacker as excited about checking out Kalibo by tricycle as s/he is about navigating the markets of Saigon.

Words: No great prose, but zest for adventure prevails. In a recent issue, a phrase-based Vietnam guide, a two-woman Southeast Asia travelogue and an alluring snapshot of Cebuano cuisine all had us reaching for our passports.

Look: Nothing special, but frequent portraits of ordinary people having a good time echo the magazine’s spontaneous, low-key voice.

Gold star: Capsule guides to every city on the airline’s network include slang and breakfast tips from locals.

Black mark: The layout smacks of a U.S. teen magazine.

Final verdict: Smile proves in-flights don’t need to pretend to be Esquire or The Economist — just to capture the spirit of the places they serve.

 

Read the complete list of the World’s 12 best airline magazines

 

 

5 ways to enjoy cool Manila “staycations”

With several more long weekends coming up in 2012, you might be asking yourself, “What else is there to do if I want to have a different kind of weekend but don’t want to travel and deal with airport lines, traffic jams, and all the hassle of moving in and out of the metro?” The answer is simple and could be just as enjoyable: have a staycation! Read more

A look back on “Untouched, Unspoiled Batanes”

This post by Filomeno St. Ana III on Vicky Abad Kerblat’s book, Jawid sawen nu Vatan!, brings me back to one of my best Philippine holidays ever, in the practically untouched yet progressive province called Batanes. Allow me to share with you this retro post, published exactly a year ago, about the group of islands that I believe every Filipino should visit at least once in their lifetime. Read more

Department of Tourism announces new campaign to attract visitors to the Philippines

Department of Tourism's new slogan

The Department of Tourism (DOT) is launching a new brand campaign to attract visitors to the country with the line – ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines.’

Focusing on the country’s core strength, the campaign singles out what no other destination can offer – and that is the Filipino people.

For example, the Lonely Planet guidebook calls Filipinos ‘among the most easygoing and ebullient people anywhere.’

“Our strategy is simple: while other countries invite you to observe, Filipinos can promise a more heartfelt and interesting experience. Wherever you go, whatever you do in the country, it’s the Filipinos that will complete your vacation and will make your holiday unforgettable,” says the new Tourism Secretary, Ramon Jimenez, Jr.

The Filipinos are already known around the world to be one of the happiest and warmest people on earth. The campaign hopes to enjoin the whole country in creating positive buzz of the tagline.

As the international campaign is underway, the DOT is also developinng a national initiative under the line ‘#1FORFUN’ to rally the nation.

 

Source: DOT Media Release