DOT welcomes Travel + Leisure ranking of Palawan, Cebu, Boracay

Media Release

16 July 2019

The Department of Tourism (DOT) celebrates the inclusion of the three popular island tourist destinations of Palawan, Cebu, and Boracay in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards 2019

Leading the Philippine honorees is the “the perennially popular Philippine island of Palawan,” wrote the magazine. Palawan, which ranked second on the 15 Best Islands in the World list, is home to the enchanting Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, Coron and El Nido.

Palawan is also where the DOT’s San Vicente Flagship Tourism Enterprise Zone (TEZ) is located.  Master planned as an integrated tourism destination project, it is envisioned as a sustainable investor’s haven that will be a catalyst for inclusive economic growth through public and private partnership.

“We are thrilled that Palawan has improved its ranking this year and is inching closer to regaining its top spot in T+L’s World’s Best Awards. Hats off as well to Cebu and Boracay for being recognized among the best in Asia,” DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

Mactan, Cebu (photo courtesy of www.cebutours.ph)

Cebu and Boracay were voted 7th and 9th, respectively, in the Top 10 Islands in Asia category by the readers of the international travel magazine. The islands were rated according to their activities and sights, natural attractions and beaches, food, friendliness, and overall value. Palawan also came in second on this list.

Boracay Island

“This citation by a major publication validates our efforts towards attaining a sustainable tourism industry and now, more than ever, encourages the DOT to work even harder on this advocacy, creating a tourism environment that is recognized and lauded not only today, but for the generations to come,” remarked Puyat.

El Nido,  Palawan (photo courtesy of  www.joya.life)

T+L writer Rebecca Ascher-Walsh quoted one reader naming Palawan as the “single most beautiful place I have ever seen.”

Ascher-Walsh also wrote that the Philippine island triumvirate of Palawan, Cebu, and Boracay are longtime favorites thanks to top-notch reef and wreck diving, white-sand beaches, hiking trails with waterfalls, and welcoming locals.

PCG Calgary Supports Philippine Cuisine Festival Gala

25 June 2019, Calgary – The Philippine Consulate General supported the Philippine Cuisine Festival Gala held on 17 June 2019 at the Winston Golf Club in Calgary. 

Consul General Gilberto Asuque congratulated the event’s main organizers – Diaryo Alberta Society (DAS) and the Philippine & Culinary Federation of Canada (PCFC) – for putting up the event as part of the month-long celebration of the Philippine Heritage Month in Alberta, Canada.

Eighteen (18) Filipino chefs belonging to the PCFC came up with Filipino dishes that were served to about 170 guests in fine-dining style. The Filipino chefs came from various parts of the province of Alberta – Banff, Canmore, Cochrane, Calgary, Strathmore – and from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and Quezon City, Philippines.

The Filipino dishes showcased were the following:

Sutukil– A trio seafood dish with yellow fin tuna as the main ingredient and done in sugba(grilled), tula(boiled) and kilaw (marinated in vinegar). This dish is popular in General Santos.

Chicken Inasal with Cucumber Salad– Grilled chicken cooked with calamansi, lemongrass and anatto oil. The dish comes from Bacolod.

La Paz Batchoy– A sweet and salty beef noodle soup popular in La Paz, Iloilo.

Hamonado and Biringhe Bulakenyo –Hamonado is pork meat marinated overnight with sweetened pineapple sauce. Baringhe, popular in Bulacan, is rice cooked with coconut milk and turmeric oil.

Durian Cheesecake– A dessert made of durian, an exquisite tasting fruit that is abundant in Davao.

Mango Calamansi Cocktail– Cocktail drink combining the Philippine mango and Philippine lime.

Sutukil, Chicken Inasalwith Cucumber Salad and La Paz Batchoy (Photo credit: DAS)
Hamonado and Biringhe Bulakenyo, Durian Cheesecake and Mango Calamansi Cocktail (Photo credit: DAS)

The Philippine Department of Tourism-San Francisco was also among the event’s sponsors. 

Consul General Gilberto Asuque addressing the guests at the Philippine Cuisine Festival Gala in Calgary.
Madame Rosalie Asuque and the officers and staff of the Philippine Consulate General in Calgary together with some of the participating Filipino chefs.

Press Release: PCG Calgary

“Proudly Philippines” Brings a Taste of Filipino Cuisine and a Glimpse of Philippine Travel Destinations to Vancouver

15 June 2019 – Consul General Maria Andrelita S. Austria welcomes guests to the opening ceremony of the “Proudly Philippines” Food and Travel Fair, held on June 15, 2019 at the Robson Square, Vancouver, in celebration of the 121st anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine Independence, the 70th year of PH-CA relations and the Canada-wide declaration for the very first time of the month of June as Filipino Heritage Month.

The opening program was attended by representatives from the Canadian government, members of the Consular Corps of British Columbia, business and Filipino-Canadian communities, and media.

Mr. Jason Pires (left), Co-anchor of CTV Morning Live in Vancouver, and Ms. Michelle Eliot, Host of CBC Radio’s BC Today, were the emcees for the opening program. Jason’s mother is aFilipino while Michelle was born in the Philippines.

(Clockwise from top left photo) Member of Parliament for Vancouver-Kingsway Don Davies, B.C. Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology Bruce Ralston, andVancouver Deputy Mayor Sarah Kirby-Yung were the Canadian officials who graced the event. Philippine Department of Tourism-San Francisco office (PDOT-SF) Senior Tourism Officer Zeny Pallugna delivers her closing remarks. PDOT-SF supported the Consulate in mounting“Proudly Philippines”.

Consul General Maria Andrelita S. Austria cuts the ribbon to officially open the fair, with the assistance of (L-R) Senior Tourism Officer Pallugna, Deputy Mayor Kirby-Yung and MP Davies.

The La Riva Dance Studio and Ms. Sheryn Regis provided the entertainment during the opening program. The La Riva Studios is a family-owned business, founded and directed by Riva Oquendo in 1996, with the goal of expanding the dance community by teaching young children ballroom, hip hop and cultural dances. Sheryn Regis rose to fame during the first season of the Filipino singing competition, “Star in a Million”, and was dubbed the Crystal Voice of Asia by the Philippine local media. Sheryn is now based in the US.

Some of the Filipino-Canadian artists who performed during the day were the Aklanon Sto. Niño Association of B.C., Zambales Dance Group, violinists Kimwell and Grace del Rosario of Rosario Strings., Marife Elsted, Salve Dayao, and BIBAK.

Participating Filipino restaurants Plato Filipino, Kulinarya, Aling Mary’s Bakeshop and Goldilocks provided a taste of Filipino cuisine for visitors throughout the day. Corinthian Distributors and AFOD Ltd., two of the biggest Canadian importers of Philippine products, share their booth with Seasia Foods Ltd., and Rumtels Solution Inc., as well as Philippine exporters, Mama Sita, Paradise Fruits Corporation,Loobi Canada Inc., and Mega Global Corporation to highlight Philippine products already available in Canada. Also joining the event were various Vancouver-based enterprises owned by Filipino-Canadians, such as Kape, Kasama Chocolates, Bukobaba Essentials Inc.,La Glace, FlipSide Desserts, and, Filipino franchises, Max’s and Potato Corner.

The Philippine Department of Tourism-San Francisco office led travel agencies, (clockwise, from top left photo) New Millennium Holidays, Tourmasters Travel, Maligaya Travel, and Aling Mary’s Travel &Tours, as well as Philippine Airlines, in enticing visitors to the Philippines. The DOT’s photo booth, provided by Lucky Studios, was a highly popular attraction for the guests.

In addition to food and travel, “Proudly Philippines” also showcased the work of a group of Fil- Canadian artists (some of the exhibiting artists L-R: Lenore Lim, Tessie Dechupa and Ed Lantin) and photographer Allan Florendo, who presented the Consulate with one of his framed pictures of the Dinagyang festival. KannaNg of Weavinalikewise promoted her mat-woven products.

Press Release: PCG Vancouver

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!

BRING HOME A FRIEND PROGRAM LAUNCHING IN CANADA

The Philippine Department of Tourism San Francisco, together with the Philippine Consulate General Vancouver, kicked off its Bring Home A Friend (BHAF) Program in Vancouver on November 4, 2017 at The Coast Coal Harbor Hotel in Vancouver.

PDOT-San Francisco Tourism Attaché Purificacion Suanding-Molintas explained the mechanics on how to join the program to an audience of Filipino-Canadian community/association leaders, influencers, and members of the media.

During her message she also debuted the Bring Home a Friend Music Video by DOT’s newest Tourism Ambassador Piolo Pascual. Consul General Neil Frank R. Ferrer urged guests to invite their friends and spread the word of the Bring Home a Friend project.

BHAF is a referral incentive program that aims to encourage both Filipinos abroad and expatriates living in the Philippines to invite their international friends to come and visit the country. This program will run from October 15, 2017 to April 15, 2018.

To join, the sponsor can register online at bringhomeafriend.online and invite his/her friends through the website. A sponsor must be 18 years of age and above, a Filipino dual citizen living in the Philippines or abroad as residents or overseas contract workers, or a foreigner (expatriate) living in the Philippines permanently or temporarily for a minimum of six months prior to the program period. An invitee can be anyone holding a foreign passport or dual citizenship living abroad for a minimum of six months prior to the program period and has traveled to the Philippines during the specified program period.

Three (3) sponsors and their invitees will be selected to win through an electronic raffle draw in April 2018. Sponsors have a chance to win a Le Grand condominium unit in Eastwood, Philippines, or a brand-new Toyota Vios, Duty Free gift certificate worth 200,000 pesos (approx. 3,800-4000 USD). Invitees can win two roundtrip tickets 6-days/5-nights’ accommodation in Palawan, two roundtrip tickets 5-days/4-nights’ accommodation in Cebu, or two roundtrip tickets 5-days/4-nights’ accommodation in Davao.

To register as a sponsor, go to bringhomeafriend.online .

For more details, visit philippinetourismusa.com .

Like, follow, and support the official BHAF social media accounts:

Facebook: bringhomeafriendPH

Twitter: bringhomePH

Instagram: bringhomeafriendPH

Email: bringhomeafriend@tourism.gov.ph

Hashtag: #BHAF2 #bringhomeafriend

(L-R) PDOT San Francisco’s Administrative Officer Alessa Lopez, PCG Vancouver’s Cultural Officer Jo Nacisvalencia and Consul Charmaine Guevara, together with Philippine Airlines Aileen Gabat and Country Manager Allan Coo.
Left photo: Philippine Department of Tourism – San Francisco Team – TA Pura Molintas and Ms. Alessa Anne Lopez with Vancouver-based Filipino-Canadian performers
Left photo: Consul General Neil Ferrer welcomes guests to the launch of Bring-Home-A-Friend Program at the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel in Vancouver on November 4. Right photo: Guests await the launch of BHAF. (Photo by Vancouver PCG)

BRING HOME A FRIEND PROGRAM LAUNCHING IN SAN FRANCISCO

The Philippine Department of Tourism, together with the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco, kicked off its Bring Home A Friend (BHAF) Program with two events in October 2017.

The soft launching event held during the Undiscovered SF Creative Night Market on October 20, 2017 attracted a millennial audience along with travel and media partners. Night Market attendees at the SOMA Pilipinas cultural district enjoyed night of Filipino-inspired music and dance performances, martial arts demonstrations, and cuisines with a San Francisco twist.

The program was officially launched on October 27, 2017 at the Philippine Center Building in San Francisco, CA. PDOT-San Francisco Tourism Attaché Purificacion Suanding-Molintas enticed and explained the mechanics on how to join the program to an audience of Filipino-American community/association leaders and influencers, airline representatives, tour operators, and members of the media. PDOT Undersecretary Katherine De Castro shared a brief message urging them to invite their friends and debuted the Bring Home a Friend Music Video by DOT’s newest Tourism Ambassador Piolo Pascual.

BHAF is a referral incentive program that aims to encourage both Filipinos abroad and expatriates living in the Philippines to invite their international friends to come and visit the country. This program will run from October 15, 2017 to April 15, 2018.

To join, the sponsor can register online at bringhomeafriend.online and invite his/her friends through the website. A sponsor must be 18 years of age and above, a Filipino dual citizen living in the Philippines or abroad as residents or overseas contract workers, or a foreigner (expatriate) living in the Philippines permanently or temporarily for a minimum of six months prior to the program period. An invitee can be anyone holding a foreign passport or dual citizenship living abroad for a minimum of six months prior to the program period and has traveled to the Philippines during the specified program period.

Three (3) sponsors and their invitees will be selected to win through an electronic raffle draw in April 2018. Sponsors have a chance to win a Le Grand condominium unit in Eastwood, Philippines, or a brand-new Toyota Vios, Duty Free gift certificate worth 200,000 pesos (approx. 3,800-4000 USD). Invitees can win two roundtrip tickets 6-days/5-nights accommodation in Palawan, two roundtrip tickets 5-days/4-nights accommodation in Cebu, or two roundtrip tickets 5-days/4-nights accommodation in Davao.

To register as a sponsor, go to bringhomeafriend.online .

For more details, visit philippinetourismusa.com .

Like, follow, and support the official BHAF social media accounts:

Facebook: bringhomeafriendPH

Twitter: bringhomePH

Instagram: bringhomeafriendPH

Email: bringhomeafriend@tourism.gov.ph

Hashtag: #BHAF2 #bringhomeafriend

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Travel partners enjoying a lively Filipino cultural performance at the BHAF Program Launch Event in San Francisco on October 27, 2017.

Philippine Adult Chemistry Nightlife Event at the California Academy of Sciences

The Philippine Department of Tourism (PDOT) of San Francisco participated at the California Academy of Sciences (CAS) Nightlife in San Francisco on February 22, 2018, where the Adult Chemistry theme featured a series of Philippine Lambanog drinks and Philippine cuisine attendees enjoyed all night long.

PDOT-San Francisco’s resource speaker was Infanta Lambanog, a US distributor for Philippine Lambanog. Event goers enjoyed a Philippine Weng Weng and Mestizo cocktails as well as sampling them straight. Philippine cuisine such as Lechon (roasted pig), Garlic Noodles, Fried Green Beans, and Lumpia was also served.

Infanta Lambanog presented twice about Philippine Lambanog; the tourism destinations where they are produced (Quezon and Batangas), history, and the step by step process on how it is made (Harvesting, Fermentation, Distillation). They also touched on the sustainability of coconut plantations as well as what other products are produced through coconuts.

Located by the stairs leading down to the Philippine Coral Reef Tank, the Philippine Tourism Table distributed promotional giveaways through a prize wheel and information about Philippine destinations.

CAS researchers spoke about restoration and conservation efforts for Philippine coral reefs in the African Hall. Specimens collected from their trips were also displayed in the Project Lab and by the Swamp areas for event goers to observe up close.

CAS is a natural history museum that houses one of the world’s deepest living coral reef tanks; the 212,000 gallon Philippine Coral Reef Tank. CAS sends their research teams on expeditions to the Philippines to learn more about the center of the center of marine biodiversity and give efforts for restoration.

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PDOT-San Francisco Team Alessa Lopez, Nadine Tanjuakio and Renz Katigbak with Infanta Lambanog CEO Randy Ramiro and Joanne Boston from Filipino Food Movement at the California Academy of Sciences Nightlife Event on February 22, 2018.
Infanta Lambanog CEO Randy Ramiro during his Adult Chemistry Presentation at the California Academy of Sciences Nightlife Event on February 22, 2018
PDOT-San Francisco team Alessa Lopez and Nadine Tanjuakio engaging event goers to spin the wheel for promotional giveaways and answering inquiries about Philippine destinations.
Adult Chemistry Menu featured Philippine Lambanog cocktails and Philippine cuisine at the California Academy of Sciences Nightlife Event on February 22, 2018

Plan Your Destination Wedding in the Philippines

After getting engaged, many brides get lost in a flurry of tasks: choosing colors, finding the dress, picking out decorations, and what seems like a thousand other things. One of the most stressful parts of planning a wedding is finding the right place for your nuptials. With the average ceremony and reception cost in the United States reaching $15,163, it is no wonder that the venue takes a toll on a couple trying to find the perfect setting at a reasonable cost.

https://youtu.be/0eDI5v2jXnk

Although the money-savvy couple can find venues in the U.S. for a modest amount, they are often lacking extras – like seating, food, and decorations – which the couple must furnish themselves or pay extra for the venue to provide. This can leave many couples dreaming of a destination wedding instead. If this echoes your struggle and you’re wondering where in the world to get married, let us recommend some of our favorite places for Filipino nuptials. From the beachy keen couple to those who imagine heart-stopping heights, we have locations for every type of bride!

Eco-Conscious Bride

The Philippines is full of eco-conscious and eco-friendly spaces. Whether you want the whole experience in one of the many eco-friendly resorts or if you want a simple elopement on a breathtaking protected beach, you are sure to find a place that meets both your vision and environmental ethics. Here’s just a quick sample of the exquisite locations you can find.

Pangulasian Island – El Nido Resort (Palawan)

El Nido owns a group of sustainable resorts that focus on a variety of experiences. Their Pangulasian Island Resort offers the most services, including a coordinator on site who can assist you in planning the wedding of your dreams. In addition to promoting responsible tourism, their entire staff continually undergoes training on conservation, environmental ethics, and waste management.

Amorita Resort – Bohol

As a recipient of the ASEAN Green Hotel Award and Condé Nast Johansens’ 2017 “Best for Service” Award, Amorita strives to make sure every guest experiences world-class comforts without compromising sustainable practices. They work to protect and preserve the surrounding natural environment, which doubles as picturesque scenery for your destination union.

Fundacion Pacita – Batanes

Maybe the beach or exclusive resort isn’t your style. For those who prefer to get married in a more harmonious setting, with a dramatic volcano rising above you, Fundacion Pacita is waiting for you. Their staff will strive to make sure you cherish your day, from the farm-fresh food to the awe-inspiring views.

 

Beach Bride

If you prefer to get married with the sand between your toes and a rose gold sunset creating a magnificent backdrop for your vows, we have plentiful beaches for you. Let’s face it: nothing says romantic wedding like a sandy paradise.

Kandaya Resort – Cebu

Kandaya has a pristine white, sandy beach nestled beside a lush landscape. With luxury accommodations and exquisite sunsets, it is easy to see why so many couples choose Kandaya to exchange their vows.

Bellarocca Island Resort – Marinduque

Have you imagined getting married in a Grecian paradise, but want a non-traditional spin? Look no further than Bellarocca, situated on a tiny island off the coast of Buenavista. Book a breathtaking cliffside villa, with infinity pools that seemingly stretch into the space between sea and sky, and you have a perfect escape for both your ceremony and honeymoon.

Crimson Hotel – Cebu

If you want relaxed nuptials on the beach followed by a toast in the sea, the Crimson Hotel in Cebu is for you. This resort will help take care of everything, plus their stunning location will make the perfect backdrop for memories you will treasure for years to come.

Adventurous Bride

Maybe you want to find a scenic setting off the beaten path. These locales are not for the faint of heart or large groups. If your dream destination wedding involves a beautiful landscape that is out of this world, the next three places are calling you by name.

Mount Pulag – Kabayan, Benguet

Mount Pulag, the Philippines second highest peak, creates an unreal atmosphere above the clouds. You will have to work for the view as it requires a six-hour hike to the top. However, once you get there, the panorama of the Milky Way and the blanket of clouds below creates a backdrop of galactic proportions.

Daraga, Mount Mayon – Albay

This area was recently made famous by the incredible photos taken while Mount Mayon erupted in the background. With an array of venues for the ceremony, you are sure to find the perfect spot. Then you can capture the active volcano in your couple shots, showcasing how explosive your love is for each other. You will need to keep in mind that flexibility is key in this location; since the volcano is active, you may have to delay your wedding if evacuations are in place.

Sila Island – Northern Samar

Sila Island boasts one of the only pink sand beaches in the Philippines. As such, rose gold fanatics can find the perfect spot here, especially if they can catch the golden rays of the sunset hitting the dusty pink beaches. Traveling to Sila Island is not easy, however, as it takes almost every mode of transportation to arrive on its blushing shores. The long travel is worth it as the lack of accessibility means that it is one of the least crowded and tranquil islands the Philippines offers.

Foodie Bride

The Philippines is full of fantastic and cheap local cuisine. For very little money, you can feed your entire reception with a scrumptious feast. Below are some of our favorite regional treats and where you can find them!

Lechón – Cebu

Lechón is a whole pig slowly roasted and basted above a fire pit over the course of several hours. The result is beautifully tender meat with a crispy, flavorful skin that will delight your taste buds. Cebu is known for having the best lechón, but don’t just take our word for it! Even celebrities like Anthony Bourdain had said Cebu lechón is the “best pig ever.” Filipinos typically serve the dish on special occasions, so it is a perfect meal to accompany your reception. Check out favorites, like Rico’s and House of Lechón, or ask your venue to contact their favorite lechón maker.

Adobo – Manila

Many consider adobo the national dish of the Philippines, so you cannot miss it as you plan your nuptials! The best adobo is found in Manila, which is perfect for the bride who still wants the glamor of the city. Adobo refers to the vinegar based marinade and slow cooking method and can be made with pork, chicken, or vegetables. That means no matter what your guests’ tastes are, they can find a way to enjoy this traditional cuisine. Order some lumpias with the adobo and you have a perfect dinner for the occasion.

Traditional Desserts

Since you are planning a destination wedding, you can forgo the traditional wedding cake if you want. You might try out the heavenly local sweets and create a dessert table for your guests to enjoy. Add succulent seasonal fruit to the table and you will have a dazzling array of confections to satisfy everyone. Our favorites are halo-halo, palitaw, puto, leche flan, silvana, sans rival, turon, and maja blanca. If you are unsure of what you might want, spend a day checking out the neighborhood bakeries and pastry shops to find what you love. If you still want a traditional cake, don’t worry! There are plenty of amazing bakers who can create the stunning (and scrumptious) cake you desire.

Weddings…It’s More Fun in the Philippines

Now that you have a handful of places to choose from, we hope you have found the perfect location for your destination wedding. You will find that your wedding is more fun than you could have imagined if you choose to have it in the Philippines.

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.

Don’t Let Hurricanes Delay Your Vacation: Come to the Philippines

Your bags aren’t packed yet, but your boss already approved your vacation time, right? Even if Hurricane Irma didn’t care about your vacation destination, your much-needed vacation shouldn’t have to be postponed.

Hurricanes and tropical storms are devastating bringing destruction and grief to many island destinations. We are optimistic that the Caribbean Islands will rebuild better than ever. In the meantime, the Philippines can offer you all the amenities and similar exciting attractions for a vacation you’ll never forget.

Beautiful Diving Destinations

With new resorts and diving tours popping up across the islands, the Philippines is a perfect destination for both beginners and experienced divers. Filipinos have a history of helping divers experience the underwater beauty of the Philippines through Scuba Diving since 1966. Pick your favorite spot and get to diving today!

Shipwreck exploration in Coron

Below the surface, there are several sunken  Japanese warships leftover from World War II when the U.S. Navy attacked on September 24, 1944. The ships serve as a host to marine life and are a unique memorial from the war. You can visit the ocean floor to see the damage done to the ships by the 96 American planes, preserved by their home at the bottom of the sea and only available to SCUBA divers.

Hole in the Wall at Puerto Galera

At slack tide, this is a a perfect diving spot for inexperienced divers. Sitting at a depth of only 40 feet, thousands of divers have visited this big rock with a hole only large enough for one person to fit through. You’ll have a good chance of seeing snappers, scorpion fish, and turtles. Also, you’ll be hypnotized by the different soft corals, gorgonian fans, and sponges.

Apo Island Diving

There are dives sites circling Apo Island which offer beautiful seascapes and tons of marine life. The Apo Island Marine Sanctuary and Protected Seascape has been under rehabilitation and is currently prohibited from diving, however, you’ll still be blown away by diving at Coconut Point, Chapel’s Point, Rock Point, and Mamsa Point. Reef sharks, jacks, barracudas, Vlaming Unicornfish, tuna, snappers, eels and many more types of fish can be seen.

Sweet Surfing Spots

Peak surfing season happens in the Philippines September through March. However, in some areas, it is said to be possible to surf all year long.

Cloud 9 on Siargao Island
Often the first place Filipinos mention when asked where to go surfing, Cloud 9 landed in the No. 9 spot on the CNN Travel blog, “World’s 50 Best Surf Spots.” This is one spot surfers can catch a great wave all year long and is dubbed the “Surfing Capital of the Philippines”. Each year, surfers from around the globe meet in Siargao for the annual Siargao Cup, a surfing competition sponsored by the Surigao del Norte provincial government.

Charlie’s Point near Baler, Aurora

The movie Apocalypse Now changed life forever for the once-small fishing village of Baler. During filming in 1979, local Filipinos watched as the beach became scenes from the Vietnam war. They also watched the actors surfing, and when the actors left their boards, the locals taught themselves to surf. Each year, tourism grows at Charlie’s Point and the locals will gladly show you where the movie was filmed, teach you to surf, or join you in the waves.

Bagasbas Beach in Daet, Camarines Norte

Bagasbas Beach is known for being both long and wide with fine sand. The Pacific Ocean provides big waves that are known to become barrel waves between July and November. Waves break both to the right and left, providing a good learning spot for inexperienced surfers. The sandy bottom below the waves also helps beginners keep from scraping themselves up as they learn to surf.

Wildlife Swimming Companions

Have you ever wanted to swim with dolphins? Have you dreamed about a dive with sea lions and sea turtles? You can do it all in the Philippines!

Swim with the Sharks in Oslob

The largest fish in the world, the whale shark, can be seen in the water at Oslob, Cebu. Tourists gather along the beach and catch boats out into the water to get a closer view. Those who have paid to swim with the sharks must remove all sunscreen and agree to stay at least four feet from the sharks. There are fines for anyone who touches the beautifully-massive creatures. From 6 a.m. until noon, groups of people called “feeders” drop krill, small fish, and sea plants to keep the whale sharks in the area. You can set up tours and even combine the experience with a trip to the turquoise pools at Tumalog Falls.

Experience an Animal Encounter at Ocean Adventure
In just one place, you can swim with sea lions and dolphins or dive with sea turtles, blacktip reef sharks, and giant jackfish. At Ocean Adventure, you can even get a fish spa pedicure where live fish tickle your feet as they nibble away all the dead skin. You can tailor each part of your day to fulfill your every expectation. Spend the day as an animal trainer, see the shows, and even dine by the bay.

Unique Catches for Fisherman

With more than 2,000 species of fish living in or around the islands of the Philippines, there is no shortage of places to fish. You can hire guided tours and boats, which also have rental fishing equipment. Take your chance at fishing for a record in the Philippines.

Go sport fishing in Cagayan

Fishing is one of the most popular pastimes in Cagayan. While you can productive fishing all year, the best times to catch fish are from March to June. During that time you can find fishing tournaments, or arrange for your trip to avoid the tournaments if you don’t want to fish with a crowd.

Fish for Largemouth Bass

Both Lake Lumot and Caliraya Lake on the island of Luzon are known for their bass fishing. Even though the American Largemouth Bass is not native to these waters, they thrive there. You might even be able to find bass larger than 10 pounds!

See How It’s Made

Spend more time getting to know the people of the Philippines and how they live through tours of local farms. Experience a day in the life on a Filipino farm and you’ll find something delicious to take home with you.

La Huerta de Rosario – Baao, Camarines Sur

La Huerta de Rosario is a privately-owned farm and tourist stop where visitors can experience harvesting fresh, local produce. In addition, guests are then served food–freshly harvested and cooked in the local style. La Huerta de Rosario is also a haven for local artists and their work is displayed throughout the buildings on the farm.

The Coffee Farmhouse, Cavite

From coffee to bean, serious coffee connoisseurs can enjoy a stay at the Coffee Farmhouse. About two hours away from Manila on the outskirts of Tagatay, you can escape the bustle of the city and learn about how coffee is raised, processed, and served on a family farm in the Philippines. In addition to the tour, you can play games, enjoy a bonfire, or schedule a relaxing massage.

Malagos Chocolate Cacao Farm, Davao City
Known for their excellent quality, the Malagos Farms’ chocolate bars start from cacao beans grown, harvested, and processed on their farm in Davao City. Chocolate lovers can take a half-day tour of the farm to get an idea of how the chocolates are made. For serious chocoholics, a three-day cacao farming seminar is also an option.

Sneak a Peek at Nature

The list of flora and fauna you can only see in the Philippines is extensive, both on land and underwater. Even if you aren’t a hiker or a diver, the people of the Philippines have found ways to share their unique landscape with you.

Bird Watching at Olango Wildlife Sanctuary

The first preserved wetland of international importance for waterfowl, the Olango Wildlife Sanctuary offers trekking tours with knowledgeable guides. Vulnerable and threatened species like the Chinese Egret and the Asian Dowitcher are protected here and can be seen while taking the tour. The amenities of the sanctuary are minimal, but guides will help you see the natural aviary on this important migratory route as well as arrange for your group to have fresh coconut juice.

Watch Whales and Dolphins at Pamilacan Island

The Pamilacan Island Dolphin and Whale Watching Tours began with one man’s dream to provide an eco-tourism adventure for the people living on Pamilacan Island, as an alternative to hunting whales and dolphins. Now, you can create a tour to satisfy your need for adventure, see dolphins and whales at play, swim and snorkel on white sandy beaches, tour the Bohol countryside, or visit the village on Pamilacan Island.

Create the Vacation of Your Dreams in the Philippines

When you come to the Philippines, people will make you feel at home. You can enjoy adventures of all sorts, lay on white sand beaches, or get treated like royalty at the spas and resorts. Don’t let mother nature steal your vacation plans, let us help you craft the most memorable vacation of your life today.

Take a Jeepney to a Pineapple Farm: A Bucket List for Traveling the Philippines

Have you been saving and searching for a dream vacation? Well, stop searching, because we’ve got a bucket list full of the best things to do in the Philippines that’ll have you booking your flight in no time.

For the Avid Hiker

The Philippines consists of 7,641 islands with a tropical maritime climate–which means it’s warm and humid the majority of the year. The extensive coastlines and rainforests on the islands provide a perfect habitat for plant and animal life to flourish. Hiking expeditions through this exotic wildlife offer unique experiences at sites that are inaccessible by car.

Explore the Banaue and Batad Rice Terraces

Carved into the mountainside more than 2,000 years ago, the rice terraces created–by the ancestors of indigenous Filipinos–are a sight to behold. The rainforests above the terraces provide water to the ancient irrigation system, which is still used today.

Catching a ride in a Jeepney–which provides local transportation across the Philippines–is the suggested way to start your hike. Guided hikes can be negotiated and purchased when you arrive in Banaue or before leaving for the Philippines.

Learn more about Lotte, a travel blogger from the Netherlands, and her hike through the rice terraces on her blog, Phenomenal Globe.

Backpack Mount Apo

Backpack to the top of Mount Apo, the tallest peak in the Philippines archipelago. The best known starting point originates in the national park located in Kidapawan City, the capital of Cotabato Province. The hike is expected to take three to four days and is considered a seven out of nine-difficulty rating, according to the local mountaineering guide.

Go Spelunking in Cantabon Cave

Described by some as an experience much like an obstacle course, you can try spelunking into one of the least corrupted caves in the Philippines when you visit Siquijor. The professionally guided caving experience at Cantabon Cave may leave you wet, dirty, and tired–but it’s unlike anything else you will see while visiting the islands.

The 800-meter hike into the cave is expected to take around two hours to complete. Watch this video of one group’s experience in the cave.

For the Divers and Swimmers

Under the clear blue water, the flora and fauna of the Philippines provide a spectacle any diver would enjoy. In fact, you can find more than 500 types of coral and 2,400 species of fish. Beyond the natural wonders of the area, you’ll find sunken ships to discover, special swimming classes, and friendly boat captains.

Attend the Philippine Mermaid Swimming Academy

Photo used courtesy of the Philippine Mermaid Swimming Academy[/caption]

Have you dreamed of swimming through the seas with one fin like a mermaid? The Philippine Mermaid Swimming Academy will teach you how! Start your introduction to a mermaid’s life in Boracay, Cebu, or Manila. For more in-depth courses, you’ll have to visit Boracay.

Initial intro classes include tail measurements and fittings, safety and photo training, and free swim time in shallow water. Advanced classes further teach safety, methods for swimming in deeper water, and lessons on how to act more like a mermaid by doing handstands and blowing mermaid bubbles.

Discover the Coron Bay Reefs and Wrecks

With more than 1,000 types of marine life to discover among the reefs and a dozen wrecked World War II ships, the area around Coron Bay is a diver’s paradise. It has been named among Forbes Traveler Magazine’s Top 10 Dive sites. Rock formations in the area also provide a lively snorkeling experience for those who like to stay near the top of the water.
One famous dive site is known as Gunter’s Cave, where you can visit a naturally lit, underwater cave. At certain times of the day a beam of light shines through the opening in the cave and illuminates the entire space.

Scuba at Tubbataha Natural Park

While visiting the sites at Tubbataha Natural Park, you must schedule a boat and stay on board during your trip. Its location in the middle of the Sulu Sea, with no human-inhabited land, makes visiting without a boat impossible.

Experienced divers, as well as newcomers to the hobby, will be impressed with no less than 360 coral species, 600 types of fish, 11 different shark species, and 13 whale and dolphin species that call the area home. Since December of 1993, the area has been considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is protected and loved by those who Scuba dive there.

For the Natural Wonder Enthusiasts

The climate and location of the Philippines creates natural wonders you won’t find anywhere else. Some of the natural wonders require boat rentals and some you might want a guided tour to enjoy. Either way, these are experiences you don’t want to miss.

Tour the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River and National Park

Copyright by Eric Beltran[/caption]

Under the island of Palawan, you’ll find an exciting experience. The Puerto Princesa subterranean river flows directly beneath the St. Paul Mountain Range, weaving through cave-like structures beneath the mountains for 8.2 km. Getting to the starting point of the underground trip at Sabang is only about a 40km trip from Puerto Princesa. Once you’re there, this “New 7 Wonders of Nature” site will amaze you with waterfalls flowing from cave walls, ancient fossils, and creatures that live nowhere else in the world.

Don’t forget to get a permit to travel there, or else you won’t be allowed in. If you book a guided tour, your permit, boat, guide, lunch, and transport are usually all included. If you are staying in Sabang, you can opt to buy everything separately and use your negotiation skills to save some pesos.

Soak in the Hinatuan Enchanted River

Copyright Dennis Onashi[/caption]

The Hinatuan River is a deep spring, saltwater river on the island of Mindanao, which flows directly into the Philippine Sea and onto the Pacific Ocean. Catching a ride on a habal-habal motorcycle is the preferred way to get to the river once you arrive in Hinatuan.

The enchanting color of the water has long left local people to believe the water holds secrets. Whether the water itself has healing powers or if spirits keep the place safe, no one knows for sure. However, novice adventurers or advanced swimmers alike can find an area of the river they enjoy.

For the History Buffs

The history of the Philippine Islands is diverse. Different regions have unique stories and not all the islands have the same background. Travel the islands and sample cultures from around the world without having to get additional stamps in your passport.

Step Back in Time on Corregidor Island

Corregidor is an island found at the mouth of Manila Bay, in the southwestern part of Luzon Island. It has long been fortified by the reigning military forces to protect the most important seaport located in Manila. During World War II, the area was of great importance to both the Japanese military and the Allied Forces.

Today, the ruins of the fortifications from that time serve as a memorial and reminder to visitors about the cost of war. Families from around the world visit the site to remember loved ones and learn more about the history of the Philippines during WWII.

Hanging Coffins of Sagada

The practice of burying the dead in hanging coffins predates the Spanish colonization of the Philippines. Hoping to get the dead closer to the spirits of their ancestors, Filipinos hung or nailed the coffins to the sides of cliffs. However, the tradition is practiced today on a much smaller scale than in the past.

Today, the burial ceremonies are only held by the elders of Sagada, as the younger generation have adopted more modern burial traditions and enjoy being able to visit their ancestors on All Saints Day.

Walk the Cobblestone Streets of Vigan

Vigan is one of the oldest cities in the Philippines, but its structures have mostly been preserved and restored. The cobblestone streets and unique architecture–which marry the Philippines’ traditional Filipino structures with those of the Spanish-colonial era–make it a popular vacation destination.

One can visit preserved houses near the central park, known as Plaza Salcedo, which surrounds Plaza Burgos. You’ll also find a museum along Crisologo Street with unique antique collections of memorabilia and vehicles. When your feet tire of walking along the cobblestones, snag a ride in a kalesa and complete your journey back in time.

For the Nature Lovers

The unique land, as well as the special plants and animals that call the Philippines home, often require protection. Unfortunately, it would be easy for these unique plant and animal species to be endangered without formal conservation efforts. While you’re there, visit a few of the reservations dedicated to protecting the Philippines’ natural wonders.

Experience Everything El Nido Marine Reserve Park Has to Offer

Located on the northernmost tip of the Palawan mainland, El Nido Marine Reserve Park is a perfect example of the diversity you’ll see when traveling through the Philippines. You can fly into the airport at Puerto Princesa or travel by boat. When you arrive, you’ll see white sand beaches and limestone cliffs, high-end resorts, endemic and endangered species of birds, and lush forests.

With more than 30 dive sites, there’s more to see while diving than you’ll be able to fit in during most trips. The resorts on nearby islands offer snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, and spa treatments in addition to the diving expeditions. You can even find a secret beach hidden among rocks if you’re brave enough to swim through a hole in the limestone.

Visit the Tarsier Sanctuary

The Tarsier, one of the world’s smallest primates, is indigenous to the Philippines. You can visit the Tarsier Sanctuary while you are in Bohol and, for a small price, you can pay for a guide to help you trek through the sanctuary and spot the Tarsiers in their natural habitat. Your guide will be glad to help with taking videos and photos along the way. The tour lasts about 30 minutes and culminates on a viewing deck over the sanctuary.

See the Ruins at Mount Mayon Active Volcano Natural Park

Mount Mayon is the most active volcano in the Philippines and is located on the island of Luzon. The most destructive eruption happened in 1814. Five towns were destroyed in that eruption, but each one was rebuilt, demonstrating the resilience of the locals.

The Cagsawa Ruins are the remnants of a Franciscan church destroyed in the 1814 eruption and are one of the most visited areas of the Natural Park. Near the ruins, you will find the Cagsawa National Museum, which helps the local government care for the park and ruins.

Live Like a Local

One of the greatest treasures you will find while traveling the Philippines are the people who live there. Learn about how they live while doing things the Filipino way. Get to know them, make friends, and let them show you the best ways to enjoy your time in the Philippines.

For more information on how to eat like a local or see what the locals see, check out our blog. Don’t hesitate to send us your questions. We can’t wait to help you visit the Philippines!

Top 3 Honeymoon Destinations in the Philippines

Preparing for a wedding can be too arduous and time-consuming which makes newlyweds crave for the events to follow the wedding itself. Still overwhelmed with so many options? Listed below are three destinations you can spend that sweet honeymoon like no other.

Cebu

Cebu, the Queen City of the South is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Philippines. In fact, back in 2010, Cebu was chosen as the best honeymoon destination at the World Travel Fair Awards which makes Cebu’s strong foundation as a honeymoon destination recognized worldwide.

Taking a boat tour around dusk would give couples that unparalleled moment of watching the sun fall while holding hands. The night breeze and atmosphere might even join in the fun which would create nothing but memories for the two of you.

If you and your partner are inclined more towards attaining adrenaline, then fret not as Cebu is also known for water activities. You can either visit Moalboal to get a glimpse of the rich marine life underwater which cannot be seen in other places besides Cebu or Kawasan Falls, listed in Travel + Leisure’s beautiful waterfalls around the world where you can raft through the three levels for a cascading massage. You can certainly never run out of things to do together in Cebu.


Bohol

Not too far from Cebu, another famed tourist spot known as Bohol sits by. Newlyweds can witness majestic landscapes such as the awe-inspiring Chocolate hills or drop by the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary, home to one of the smallest known primates, where a couple of Tarsiers are carefully taken care of without destroying their niche. At the sanctuary, the lovely wide-eyed tarsiers are trained to roost in during the day but are active and hunting at night which makes them free to roam around the area which is several hectares large.

One cannot leave Bohol without the fireflies encounter experience. Fireflies can be found in Loboc River in which you would have to rent a boat to visit. Five minutes in and you’ll be guaranteed with small blinking lights swarming in and around the mangroves. The surreal atmosphere and gentle breeze while traveling along Loboc River will leave you and your partner reminiscing the day you met.


Palawan

Certainly not what you have expected, Palawan makes its mark as the last one on our list. Sometimes referred to as Asia’s Garden of Eden, Palawan will be able to give you and your spouse-to-be the once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon both of you have always been dreaming of. Unlike the crowd favorite that is Boracay, Palawan provides the much-needed privacy to create lasting moments with only the two of you.

Known as the Philippines’ last frontier, the well- preserved Palawan offers so many couple activities you are encouraged to do. Kayaking your way to the amazing turquoise-green Big and Small Lagoons of Palawan where you could seclude yourselves and be astonished by the beauty of untouched nature. Explore the overwhelming Honda Bay and tunnel through the ravishing underground river of Palawan and leave nothing but priceless moments that you’ll cherish for your life as one.

Want to make your honeymoon struggle-free? Leave it to our travel experts and they’ll make your dreamy honeymoon come true.