TPB Annual Calendar Of Philippine Festivals and Monthly Themes

Looking for how to experience the Philippines as a local? Experience how Filipinos throw a real celebration with vibrant colors, extravagant costumes, and many entertaining festivities!

NAME OF EVENTDATE/LOCATIONBRIEF DESCRIPTION
                                                                                     JANUARY
Feast of the Black NazareneJanuary 9Quiapo, ManilaCelebrated at the heart of Manila- Quiapo, devotees come from all over the metropolis to participate in this annual event honoring the hundred-year-old statue of the Black Nazarene.
Sinulog FestivalJanuary 15 or second SundayCebu CityAn annual festival held in Cebu, which commences nine days before the third Sunday of January.
Ati – Atihan Festival 3rd SundayKalibo, Aklan A celebration in honor of the Infant Jesus, the town’s patron. Ati-Atihan, observed in honor of the Child Jesus. Ati-atihan means ‘making like Atis,’ that is, pretending to be like the aboriginal natives that once inhabited Aklan. This involves smearing oneself with soot to darken the skin and dressing up in tribal finery. The start of the procession is signaled by drums and whistles, and later punctuated by shouts of “Hala Bira!”
The Dinagyang Festival4th SundayIloiloDinagyang is a Hiligaynon word extrapolated from dagyang meaning “merrymaking” It celebrates the feast of the Infant Jesus and the pact between the Datus and the locals.
                                                                                     FEBRUARY
Paraw RegattaThird SundayStrait between Iloilo City and Guimaras IslandThis festivity features racing events between local outriggers in the strait between Iloilo City and Guimaras Island.
Taytay Hamaka FestivalFebruary 10 to 16Taytay, RizalThis is a seven-day event showcasing the artistry, craftsmanship and various talents of the people of Taytay.
The Tinagba FestivalFebruary 11Iriga City, Camarines SurThis is a harvest-offering affair for Our Lady of Lourdes. Farmers parade in carabao-drawn carts filled with the best of local produce while Agtas come down from the mountain to dance.
International Bamboo Organ FestivalLas PiñasThis is a ten-day series of cultural events with a focus on the unique bamboo-made organ, made by Fray Diego de la Cera, and found only in Las Piñas.
Panagbenga(Baguio Flower Festival)Baguio City Month-long celebration of flowers in the country’s summer capital. Similar to the Rose Bowl Parade of the U.S., this festival is highlighted by a parade of floats made entirely of fresh blossoms from local horticulturists. The highlight is in the 4th week of February.
Ollalion FestivalFebruary 14Tabuk, KalingaThe festival celebrates the Kalinga culture through its sports, crafts, and indigenous food.
Babaylanes FestivalFebruary 19Bago City, Negros OccidentalThis highlights the culture of the first settlers of Bago City before the Spanish colonizers arrived. As defined by Negros historians, the babaylan is a doctor, herbalist, artist, adviser, herbalist, seer, diviner and agriculturist.
Kalilangan Festival February 20 to 27General Santos City, South CotabatoThis features cultural shows, a civic/military, agro-industrial fair, sports competition, and a beauty pageant.
Kaamulan Festival 2nd week of February up to March 10Malaybalay, BukidnonA three-day gathering of Bukidnon’s various ethnolinguistic groups in Pines View Park. It includes a performance of traditional rituals. 
                                                                                      MARCH
Malasimbo Festival March 10-12Puerto Galera Malasimbo Festival has four pillars: music, arts, indigenous people, and environment. The festival is well known for bringing some of the most versatile musicians. In the event, the Malasimbo grounds is decorated with world-class artwork by various talented Filipino and visual artists, also showcasing indigenous peoples’ work.
UNESCO-ITI World Theater Week March 21 – 27 World Theatre Week is an occasion for theatre artists of varied disciplines in performance and media arts to celebrate the power of Theatre to bring people together and an opportunity to share with audiences the wealth of each country’s heritage, history, habitat, theatrical traditions and expertise modeling cultural caregiving for marginalized sectors and disadvantaged youth exemplified in the Philippine program of the Earthsavers Dreams Ensemble honored as UNESCO Artists for Peace;
Island Garden City of Samal Festival1st WeekA week-long celebration of Samal’s founding anniversary held every first week of March.
Anibina Bulawanun FestivalMarch 8Compostela Valley Province An eight-day multi-themed annual festival that culminates on the province’s foundation day, March 8. It is a colorful and joyful celebration of the province’s rich agricultural harvests, abundant mineral resources, governance’s feats, trade and tourism fair, and a showcasing of the people’s culture and traditions. The Al-law Ng Kalomonan (Tribal Day) falls on the 7th day of Anibina.
Holy Week March-April A week-long event honoring Jesus Christ’s death on the Cross; The Palm Sunday is held on the fifth Sunday of Lent where churchgoers bring palm and leaves to re-enact the arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem; Holy Thursday is held with a Visitaa Iglesia where Catholics visit at least 7 churches. A “Pasyon” or narration of Christ’s life through singing is held; On Good Friday, believers re-enact the sufferings and death of Christ on the Cross. Easter Sunday is highlighted by “Salubong” or dawn processions held in various parts of the country.
Moriones Festival Holy WeekMarinduque A week-long celebration participated in by male penitents in costumes who parade around town. On Good Friday, they reenact the story of Longinus, a centurion, blind in one eye, who speared Jesus’ side. Christ’s blood fell on his blind eye, miraculously restoring it, leading to his conversion.
Centurion FestivalHoly WeekGeneral Luna, QuezonThis is believed to be the origin of Marinduque’s Moriones Festival and is as colorful.
Ang PagtaltalGood FridayJordan, GuimarasThis is a procession of flagellants and devotees in biblical attire that ends in the Balaan Bukid Shrine.
Pangalap RitualGood FridayNueva ValenciaThis is a ritual where believers crawl through the Catilaran cave chanting prayers in the hope of gaining supernatural powers to ward off evil spirits.
Witches FestivalHoly WeekSiquijorSiquijor is popularly known throughout the country for “witchcraft”. A “Witches Festival” is held at Crocodile Hill overlooking the Bay of Lazi and the Mindanao Sea. When the moon is full, the sorcerers, called magbabarang gather herbs, roots and live insects, throw these into a giant cauldron filled with boiling water, then sit in a circle around it while mumbling incantations. This is followed by dancing and ends in an exclusive ritual in a secluded cave at dawn.
                                                                                      APRIL
TurumbaPakil, LagunaA seven-day feast in honor of our lady of sorrows highlighted by a procession and a dance (to the beat of a turumba song).
Lami-Lamihan FestivalApril 14 to 16BasilanBegan in 1983 by former mayor Wilfrido Furigay, the festival showcases the rich Yakan traditions. This is highlighted by a parade and a horse race.
Kadaugan sa MactanApril 27CebuThis is mainly the re-enactment of the Battle of Mactan along the islands’ beach.
                                                                                      MAY
Flores de MayoWhole MonthCatholic-wide eventLiterally translated, it means “Flowers of May” and highlights a procession honoring Virgin Mary. Coinciding with it is the Santacruzan, re-enacting the search of Queen Elena for the cross upon which Jesus Christ was crucified. The town or city’s loveliest ladies grace the occasion.
Pasalamat FestivalMay 1La Carlota, Negros OccidentalA labor and thanksgiving festival marked by street dancing and a parade of farm products.
Magayon FestivalMay 1Albay ProvinceA showcase of Albay’s culture and arts marked by exhibits, parades, shows, and sports.
Pista y Dayat FestivalMay 1PangasinanA seaside festival and a thanksgiving day by local fishermen for a bountiful year.
Boa-BoahanMay 2Nabua, Camarines SurA re-enactment of the 13th-century rite of offering chains of coconut embryos called boa to deities. They believe that doing so would mean a prosperous year.
Carabao-Carozza Race FestivalMay 3Pavia, IloiloAn event where carabaos (water buffaloes) pull decorated bamboo carts in a 400-meter course race.
Lanahan RitualMay 1-3Balabag, Digos, Davao del SurA ritual performed by the Bagobos involving the making of medicinal oil (lana) after their pilgrimage to Mount Apo.
Balanghai FestivalButuanThis commemorates the coming of the early migrants from Borneo and Celebes. It is said that they came to Agusan in balanghai or wooden boats.
Tapusan FestivalAlitagtag, BatangasA month-long celebration honoring the Holy Cross.
Barangay Boat FestivalMay 11Aparri, CagayanA fluvial festival held annually in honor of Saint Peter Thelmo, the town’s patron saint.
Carabao FestivalMay 15Pulilan, BulacanAn event honoring. San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers. Carabaos are paraded and blessed by the town priest.
Pahiyas FestivalLucban and Sariaya, QuezonA thanksgiving festival to San Isidro Labrador for the past year’s bountiful harvest. The event is popular for the elaborate edible decorations that cover entire houses like fruits and vegetables, most prominent of which are the brightly colored rice wafers known as; The image of the patron saint is also paraded around town assuring the farmers of a bountiful harvest in the years to come.
Obando FestivalMay 17 to 19Obando, BulacanThis festival involves the different dance rituals held for three consecutive days honoring three patron saints: May 17 for St. Paschal (for couples who want a male child), May 18 for St. Claire (for couples who want a female child) and May 19 for the Our Lady of Salambaw (patroness of fishermen).
Pahoy-Pahoy FestivalMay 19 to 25Calbiga, SamarEvery May, the quaint little town of Calbiga abounds with giant pahoy-pahoy (scarecrows) made of indigenous materials dancing about its streets. Musical instruments made up of bamboos, cans and stones create the sounds that scare the local maya birds.
                                                                                     JUNE
Naligayan Festival2nd weekAgusan del SurThis is a province-wide festivity which coincides with Agusan del Sur’s  Foundation Anniversary in June 17. Incepted in 1993 during the incumbency of the late Gov. Democrito O. Plaza, the festival is a recognition of the Manobo people’s loyalty to their tribal leader, Datu Lipus Makapandong.Literally meaning “the chosen one” the weeklong celebration showcases the indigenous people’s culture through music and dance, native products, ethnic games, and a host of sporting tournaments and special events.The festival depicts the Agusanon culture and heritage. Natives from far-flung places of the province usually come down and display skills through tribal dances and rituals. A trade fair displaying the province’s cottage industries also takes place in Naliyagan Cultural Center Grounds at the Gov. D. O. Plaza Government Center, Prosperidad.
Pagdayao FestivalJune 11 -12Tacloban, Leyte, MasbateA two-day affair, which serves as a thanksgiving feast in honor of the Lord.
Araw ng CotabatoJune 12 – 20CotabatoThe city of Cotabato in Mindanao celebrates its founding with special events as the layang-layang or giant kite festival, fluvial parades, banca race and sports competition.
Parada ng mga Lechon (Parade of Roast Pigs)June 24Balayan, BatangasCrisp, golden-brown roast pigs are paraded through the streets. As soon as the best decorated roasted pig is announced, the eating commences.
Hibok-Hibok FestivalJune 24Camiguin IslandThe event is held in honor of St. John the Baptist and is marked with fluvial processions, parades and water sports.
Daet Pineapple Festival3rd WeekDaet, Camarines NorteA festival showcasing the famous and sweetest of all pineapples- the Formosa variety- abundantly growing in Daet. The week-long celebration features sports events, talent and skills competition, an investment forum, cultural shows and concerts, a food fair, an agro-industrial and trade fair, search for Bicolandia Queen, and street dancing contests.
Tacloban FestivalLast WeekTacloban, LeyteThe festival consists of three major activities: (1) Subiran Regatta – a sailboat race held at the eastern entrance of San Juanico Strait, (2) Balyuan – a pageant reenacting the historic exchange of images between Basey, Samar and Tacloban City, and (3) Pintados Festival where participants paint their bodies and dance to the rhythm of bamboo sticks.
Piat Sambali FestivalLast WeekPiat, CagayanIn Piat, Cagayan, the colorful celebration is highlighted by street dancing, cultural shows and a beauty pageant. This festival commemorates the Christianization of the Ytawes region of Cagayan.
                                                                                     JULY
Sagayan Festival Tubod1st weekLanao del NorteA festival with a Maranao war dance as a main event. The dance is performed during the Araw ng Lanao del Norte and is participated by all the municipalities in the province. The war dance is complemented by a fan dance performed by Maranao maidens wearing colorful dresses.
Pagoda FestivalJuly 4 – 7Bocaue, BulacanIn Bocaue, Bulacan, a feast is held in honor of the Holy Cross of Wawa found in the Bocaue River. The main attraction of the affair is the fluvial parade of the pagoda or decorated barge and colorful small boats.
Sublian sa BatangasJuly 23Batangas CityThis coincides with the Foundation Day of Batangas City. It revives the tradition of dancing the subli, which is indigenous to the province.
Sinulog and Kinabayo FestivalJuly 24 – 25Dapitan, Zamboanga del NorteThe event honors Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte’s patron saint St. James.
Sinulog de Tanjay FestivalLast weekTanjay, Negros OrientalThe celebration of the residents of Tanjay, Negros Oriental of this 10-day fiesta features the origin of the old sinulog culture. A parade is held showcasing the clothes locals wear, while the horsefighting presentation re-enacts the battle between the Spaniards and the Muslims.
Kahimoan Abayan FestivalLast weekButuan City, Agusan del NorteIn Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, the feast is held in honor of Santa Ana (St. Anne), known to protect the residents along the Agusan River from man-eating crocodiles. The celebration includes the holding of a prayer on boats for safe passage and prosperity.
Sandugo FestivalLast weekBoholCelebrated in Bohol, this festival commemorates the blood compact between Spaniard Legaspi and Filipino Sikatuna. It includes an agro-industrial exhibit, a trade fair, a beauty contest, street dancing and a re-enactment of the blood compact.
                                                                                      AUGUST
Pangapog FestivalAugust 1 – 7Samal Island, DavaoA thanksgiving festival for a bountiful harvest highlighting the culture of the Sama, the indigenous people of Samal, as shown in the indigenous sports, and other culture-based competitions.
Pangasinan Bamboo FestivalAugust 14Calasiao and Sta. Barbara, PangasinanPangasinan Bamboo Festival August 12 This is a festival showcasing bamboo products and includes bamboo planting and film exhibitions. Venue: Calasiao and Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan
Mercedes FISHtivalAugust 6-11Mercedes, Camarines NorteA thanksgiving festival by local fisherfolk for blessings received during seafaring, and fish-farming.
Marang FestivaAugust 5Basco, BatanesLocals celebrate the bountiful harvest of the fruit Marang.
Palu-Palo FestivalAugust 4-5Basco, BatanesThis is highlighted by a cultural presentation showing the life and times of the Ivatans.
Pasaka FestivalAugust 14Tanuan, Leyte“Pasaka,” the native word for Assumption, is a street spectacle in honor of Our Lady of Assumption.
Lubi-Lubi FestivalAugust 15Calubian, LeyteA dance festival extolling the many uses of the coconut in homage to Our Lady of Fatima and St. Roque.
Kalibongan FestivalAugust 17 – 18Kidapawan, CotabatoA gathering of Mindanao ethnolinguistic groups like the Bagobos and Manobos. This is highlighted by a horse fight and a Manobo wedding.
Kadayawan sa Dabaw Festival3rd weekDavao CityDabaweños celebrate the annual Kadayawan – a colorful occassion that lasts for five days – as a thanksgiving festival and a tribute to its indigenous peoples. Kadayawan is a native expression in Dabawnon tongue, which means “anything excellent that brings great fortune” from “dayaw” (good), describing a thing that is valuable and superior.
GigantesAugust 19Lucban, QuezonOn August 19, in the town of Lucban, Quezon, townsfolk trot out their beloved gigantes or giants. Measuring about 14 feet tall, the giants come in pairs, the mag-asawa or couple, a giant man dressed in the peasant’s camisa chino or undershirt, and his wife clad in the native patadyong and kimona, a loose skirt topped with a flimsy blouse. Made from papier mache, the giants are borne on shoulders by those who have made a panata (oath) made in return for a favor received. This festivity is shared by Lucban with the town of Angono, Rizal, which holds it in November.
Buyogan FestivalAugust 19Abuyog, LeyteBuyogan focuses on the bee locally known as “buyog” from which the town’s name originated.
BankatonAugust 20Lavezares, Northern SamarAn annual boat racing contest celebrating the feast of Nuestra Señora de Salvacion, the town’s Patroness.
Kagayhaan FestivalAugust 26-28Cagayan de Oro CityThis festival is highlighted by streetdancing participated in by contingents from schools and civic organizations.
                                                                                     SEPTEMBER
Aurora FestivalLast Sunday of August to 1st week of SeptemberTanjay, Negros OrientalThe festival features evening novenas participated in by more than 40 clans, which culminate in a nocturnal fluvial procession at the Tanjay River.
Hin-ay FestivalSeptember 1-29Irosin, SorsogonThis features a cultural show, trade fair, and a street dance depicting the archangels’ victory over the “Black” Angels.
Bicol Food FestivalSeptember 1-30Naga CityA festival of Bicol cuisine: pinangat and laing, bicol Express, inolokan or tilmak, pecadillo and cocido.
Sarakiki FestivalSeptember 1-8Calbayog CityThe festival features street dancers dressed as cocks swaying to the beat of ancient Samareño instruments.
T’boli Tribal Festival3rd weekSouth CotabatoA gathering of the major ethnolinguistic groups in the province together with representatives from Davao.
Peñafrancia Fiesta Festival3rd SundayNaga City, Camarines SurA religious festival honoring Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia, the patroness of the Bicol Region River.
Dalit FestivalSeptember 25Tangub CityThis showcases local rituals, dances, and way of life.
Linapit Food Sharing FestivalSeptember 30Gueday, BesnoA festival with a delightful pre-planting feast at its core where natives share their food with everyone.
Djanggo FestivalSeptember 28-29Nassiping, Gattaran, CagayanThis commemorates centuries-old religious and cultural tradition based on the life of St. Michael.
Banigan-Kawayan FestivalSeptember 29Basey, SamarThis celebrates the banig and the kawayan crafts industry flourishing in Basey.
                                                                                     OCTOBER
Halaran1st weekRoxas CityThis festival highlights the performance of the history and culture of Capiz during pre-Hispanic times.
Universal Children’s Festival1st weekDapitan CityThe festival involves children of locals, dressed in costumes of UN member countries, parading around the city.
Masskara FestivalBacolod CityA grand Bacole celebration marked by carnivals, fairs and masked street dancers.
Ibalong Festival2nd weekLegaspi CityThis festival is based on Ibalong, a Bicol epic showcasing legendary superheroes Handiong and Baltog.
Zamboanga Hermosa FestivalOctober 10-12Zamboanga CityThe festival features a regatta, colorful vintas, banconan flower show, and fireworks honoring the Nuestra Señora del Pilar Zaragosa.
Kasanggayahan FestivalOctober 10-17SorsogonThe festival is itself the foundation anniversary of Sorsogon. The festival’s name means “prosperity and happiness.”
Feast of La Naval ManilaOctober 11Quezon CityThe image of the Virgin is paraded around town in a colorfully-decorated carriage, which resembles a ship. The image is believed to be miraculous and ensures safe voyage to anyone who prays to it.
Inug-og FestivalOctober 15Oroquieta, Misamis OccidentalThis is held in honor of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary
Calbayog Grand KarakolOctober 16Calbayog CityA religious celebration of thanksgiving and joyous pageantry of dancing devotees of San Rafael.
Sagingan FestivalOctober 16-17Tubod, Lanao del NorteThe feast is in honor of San Isidro Labrador with street dancers dressed up in various banana-like costumes.
Megayon Festival3rd weekTigbao, Zamboanga del SurA colorful harvest festival participated in by the Subanean indigenous group.
Lanzones Festival4th weekMambajao, Camiguin IslandThe festival is held to celebrate the abundance of lanzones fruit in the island with a streetdancing competition involving the youth all dressed up in lanzones leaves or fruits. The lanzones is one of the island’s most important crops.
Catadungan FestivalOctober 24Virac, CatanduanesThis festival commemorates the province’s independence from Albay.
                                                                                      NOVEMBER
PintafloresNovember 3-5San Carlos CityThis festival is marked by a streetdancing involving the pintados or dancers with tattoos or flowers on their body.
Kalag-Kalag FestivalNovember 13Cebu CityThis restages the Filipino tradition of visiting relatives to lovingly remember departed loved ones.
Sanduguan FestivalNovember 15Calapan, Oriental MindoroThis festival reenacts the first contact between the natives of Mindoro and traders from China.
Feast of San Clemente/ GigantesNovember 22-23Angono, RizalThis celebration is marked by giant Papier-mâché effigies, natives in wooden shoes and costumes joining the procession of the statue of San Clemente around town.
P’yagsawitan Festival3rd weekMaragusan, Davao ProvinceThis involves performances by indigenous groups of the area, and harvest-related thanksgiving rituals.
Kawayanan Festival3rd weekCapitol Complex, Pagadian, Zamboanga del SurThis celebrates the versatility of the Bamboo plant and its importance in the area.
Santa Ipon FestivalNovember 25 – December 25Santa, Ilocos SurA thanksgiving celebration highlighted by the catching of the ipon, a small but mysterious fish.
Day-ang Di Onga FestivalNovember 30Baguio CityThis is one of the region’s major events featuring young Cordillerans in a day-long event to “celebrate life.”
Binabayani FestivalLast weekOlongapo, ZambalesThis festival re-enacts the war between the Aetas and the Christians through dance.
                                                                                      DECEMBER
Paskuhan sa BarangayParian, Cebu CityThis is highlighted by nightly cultural presentations from the different universities in Cebu City.
San Fernando Giant Lantern FestivalPhilippine Christmas Village, San Fernando, PampangaThis is a month-long lantern showcase where lanterns measuring 14 to 18 feet in diameter delight spectators with their kaleidoscope patterns
Kamundagan FestivalNaga CityThis month-long festival features “Kiti-Kiti,” “Pastoras,” Bikol Song Festival, and other cultural events.
Subayan Keg SubanonDecember 1- 8Ozamiz CityThis involves a trade fair, a street theater performance, and songs and dances depicting the rich Subanon cultural heritage.
Pasko sa Tanjay FestivalDecember 1 to 9Tanjay, Negros OrientalA month-long Christmas festivity featuring cultural presentations and contests.
Fiesta de AgooDecember 5-8Agoo Civic Center, Agoo BasilicaThis features a Lantern festival, the coronation of Miss Agoo, the awarding of Bannuar ti and Dakilang Datu Awards.
SinadyaDecember 5-8Roxas CityThis features a fireworks display, a grand parade, a food festival, and the Capiz dance festival.
Hanging of the Green2nd weekZamboanga CityChildren join in the “hanging of the green” signifying the start of the Christmas season.
Feast of the Immaculate ConcepcionDecember 8Puerto Princesa CityA grand celebration in honor of the city’s patroness and is highlighted by a parade of several images of Virgin Mary.
PagdiwataDecember 8PalawanThe Tagbanuas’ feast of thanksgiving for a bountiful rice harvest along with food offerings to deities and departed kin. The rite involves men and partaking of rice wine with the spirits. After the harvest, the Tagbanuas gather in the house of the babaylan or the priestess whom the spirits speak to.
Dad-Iw Day-eng ChantsDecember 8Bakod, BenguetThis features the Ibaloi, Kankana-ey tribal songs and dance presentations.
Karisyohan Han Pasko Ha PaloDecember 10 to January 6Palo, LeyteThis features a Misa de gallo, a cultura show and a Christmas eve choral concert at Palo Cathedral.
Philippine International Lantern ParadeDecember 14Asia World Complex Roxas Blvd., and Quirino GrandstandA grand colorful parade featuring lanterns from different countries along with local bands, indigenous groups, vintage cars, and calesas.
Christmas Among the TribesDecember 16Cabarroquis, QuirinoThis involves house visitations for Christmas gifts undertaken by the indigenous groups in Quirino.
Simballay Festival3rd weekNabunturan, Davao ProvinceA week-long festival highlighted by Mansaka dances, neo-ethnic shows, street dancing and a grand parade.
Shariff KabunsuanDecember 15-19Cotabato CityA celebration to commemorate the arrival of Shariff Kabunsuan and Islam to Mindanao.
Pastores BikolDecember 18Legaspi CityThis involves boys and girls in costumes playing the roles of shepherds who rejoice at the birth of Jesus.
Maytinis FestivalDecember 24Kawit, CaviteA town-wide re-enactment of Mary and Joseph’s search for a room on the eve of Christ’s birth.
SalubongDecember 29Plaridel, BulacanThis is procession of dancing women, horses and calesas to fetch the Santiago Maria Moros from Barangay Sipet.

This list of festivals shared by the Tourism Promotions Board will be updated continuously as many of the dates and details can change every year.

Connect with our travel experts to plan your upcoming festival attendance!

7 Must-See Churches in the Philippines: Plan an Easter Experience

Lent, Holy Week, and Easter Sunday are celebrated by Christians around the world, but in the Philippines, it’s different. More than 80 percent of Filipinos are Catholic. Their traditions have influenced the culture and whole communities celebrate together.

For travelers interested in observing these holy days, it’s an ideal time to visit the Philippines. Plan a spiritual experience with your family or with close friends. It’s important to start planning this trip early–booking both travel and accommodations–as many guests visit for the Easter holiday and Filipinos travel to be with family and friends.

Must See Churches

Enhance your journey through the Philippines during the Easter holidays by visiting some of the oldest and most beautiful churches on the islands.

Church of Santo Tomas de Villanueva – Ming-ao, Iloilo

Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, the Ming-ao Church has an extensive history. It’s thick walls and mismatched bell towers helped protect the area from invaders during the 18th and 19th centuries. The belfries were commissioned by two different parish priests and the west tower is both older and taller. While visiting this church, don’t forget to go inside and see the solid gold retablo also known as a sanctuary.

St. Matias Parish Church – Tuamauini, Isabela

Built entirely of red bricks in 1783, the church, commonly known as the Tumauini Church, has been under consideration as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2006. It was built in the style of Late Baroque or Early Rococo and its bell tower stands four stories tall.

Nuestra Señora del Patrocinio de Maria Parish Church – Boljoon, Cebu

While this parish dates back to the 1690s, the church building, which is commonly known as Boljoon Church, was first built in 1783. It was listed as a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines in 2001 and continues to be a candidate to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is well-known for its special ceilings which are made of “tag-ut” which means “coming from trees” and are beautifully painted. They date back to at least 1883.

Archdiocesan Shrine and Parish of Saint Michael the Archangel – Argao, Cebu

Completed in 1788, the church commonly known as the Argao Church is a two-level structure built of coral stone. The beautifully painted ceiling tiles are made of wood. The paintings themselves were completed by two artists, one being the renowned Cebuano painter Raymundo Francia. Sadly, the other half was completed by an unknown Boholano artist. As the name suggests, the church was dedicated to the archangel Saint Michael.

Saint Augustine Church – Paoay, Ilocos Norte

Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, the church, commonly known as the Paoay Church, began construction in 1694. It is known as a prime example of the Spanish Colonial Baroque Architecture-style which was adapted for the Philippines due to the frequency of earthquakes. You’ll see larger than normal buttresses and stair-style buttresses. The facade is made up of two materials, brick on the lower part and coral on the upper.

The Camarin de la Virgen at the Sta. Ana Church

Commonly known as the Santa Ana Church, it was established by the Franciscan Order in 1577. The first cornerstone for the larger stone church and convent was laid on September 12, 1720. The image of the patron saint, Nstra. Sra. De los Desamparados – or Our Lady of the Abandoned – was carved in Spain and brought to Santa Ana by Fr. Vicente Ingles, OFM, who was the parish priest at the time.

Minor Basilica of Saint Martin of Tours – Taal, Batangas

Within the Archdiocese of Lipa you’ll find this church, commonly known as Taal Basilica. It is considered the single largest church in the Philippines, as well as in all of Asia. First established in 1575, the church was severely damaged by the largest recorded eruption of the local volcano in 1754. The church was then moved to its current location on top.

Tips for What to Expect

If you’ve never been in the Philippines for Holy Week and Easter, you will need to keep a few things in mind.

  • Heavy traffic and crowded streets cause problems getting anywhere quickly. Processions involving people, carts, floats, and crowds around the churches are common. Plan to become part of the celebrations and immerse yourself in the experience.
  • Many businesses are closed during Holy Week or have shortened working hours. Once you know where you’ll be staying, learn what will be open and be prepared for stores and services to be shut down, including grocery stores and restaurants.
  • Some television and radio stations feature reruns or pre-recorded shows during parts of Holy Week, while others play seasonal content to join in the spirit of the holiday.

 Plan Your Trip to the Philippines

Spending the holiday living like a Filipino local creates one-of-a-kind, spiritual memories.

The time to plan your trip to the Philippines is now if you want to be a part of this immersive religious experience before it’s gone. If you’re ready, our partnersare ready to help you discover the Philippines.