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5 Philippine Fiestas You Can't Miss

by Charlene Co

To truly know a destination is to immerse yourself in its sights, sounds, and people.

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The best time to experience this? Fiesta season, of course! It is when the city is the most vibrant, having tirelessly prepared months in advance to showcase an extravagant display of their proud culture.

To jumpstart a year full of local travels, start with these popular fiestas in the country!

1. Sinulog (Cebu City)

The Sinulog festival of Cebu province is hailed as the ‘Mother of all Festivals’, attracting no less than millions of attendees each year. Beyond the captivating beat of the drums, elaborate parades, and the popular street party, the festival celebrates baby Jesus as the city marks the center of Sto. Niño Catholic festivities in the Philippines.

Witness Sinulog in its annual celebration every 3rd Sunday of January.

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2. Ati-Atihan Festival (Kalibo, Aklan)

It comes as no surprise that Kalibo’s Ati-Atihan festival has been recognized as one of the Top 300 Best Festivals in the World by Everfest. Similar to the Sinulog festival, thousands of local and foreign spectators and religious devotees gather to participate in a colorful spectacle of revelry in honor of the Sto. Niño.

The festival is also held 3rd week of January.

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3. Dinagyang Festival (Iloilo City)

Also in the Top 300 Best Festivals in the World is Iloilo’s grand Dinagyang festival. Held every 4th Sunday of January, this fiesta highlights Senyor Sto. Niño and Dagoy, an Ati warrior who represents the indigenous Aeta people of the islands. The festival is an exuberant demonstration of the province’s rich cultural heritage and talent of the Ilonggos.

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4. Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta (Clark, Pampanga)

Unlike other festivals that pay homage to their beliefs, Pampanga’s annual Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Festival celebrates a passion for flight.

Each year, hundreds of aviators from across the globe converge for "A Weekend of Everything that Flies". It’s not just colorful hot air balloons in all shapes and sizes that fly on the 2nd week of February. Attendees get to witness an exhilarating exhibit of fighter jets, aerobatic aircrafts, ultralights and microlights, skydivers, paragliders, and kite fliers, too!

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5. Panagbenga Festival (Baguio City)

Every year, crowds flock to Baguio right before summer season to witness Baguio City's beautiful display of blooms in all its grandeur.

The Panagbenga Festival, which translates to “a season of blooming”, is a month-long flower festival that commences on the 4th week of February. Expect to see busy streets lined with the most colorful flowers and lavish flower costumes in the grand parade.

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About Charlene
Whether she’s jet-setting around the globe, wining and dining in a new restaurant, or basking in the sun at a hidden beach, Charlene Co—a PR and communications specialist and travel enthusiast— always makes the most out of each experience. She is passionate about exploring awe-inspiring destinations, discovering new cultures, and creating new friendships along the way.

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