the roots

Although there are not as much sea urchins this year, our little barrio's tradition, L'Oursinade, will continue like it did every February for the past 30 years. But I have to admit that in the 5 years we lived here, we didn't really get into the spirit of the Sea Urchin Festival. Like a fisherman's celebration, the festival includes Provençal folklorique music & dance while enjoying the indescribable taste of the sea urchin even during the height of winter. Photo taken from last year's Oursinade

It is with France's idyllic respect for tradition & nationalism that always made me look back to my own roots, our very own fiestas - only one of the many other things I regretfully took for granted while I was busy adoring other cultures of the world on TV. I've never been to any real fiesta back in the Philippines except for the local ones in our village & province of Nasugbu, Batangas. Now that the year has just started, let's take a glimpse of our popular festivals in our islands. How much do we know our fiestas?

Fiestas in the Philippines is a celebration usually religious in nature but is likewise a piece of our history. Although a lot of them has a lot of Spanish background, there are pre-Spanish years of tradition. January seems to be the best month to catch the better festivals in the country, most of them to celebrate the patron Sto. Niño but a Mardigras style. It starts with hala-bira! the Ati-atihan in Kalibo, Aklan, known for its rythmic drums & colorful costumes. Just a few islands away, Cebu celebrates the Sinulog Festival. Then just across, Iloilo celebrates the Dinagyang Festival, dinagyang translated as "merry making," celebrating the Christianization of the natives who sealed the peace pact between the Negrito Ati tribe & the Malays, Ati warrior customes & weapons grace this festival. Worth visitng the three festivals as they are all located in the Visayan region. Ati-atihan photo taken from www.ati-atihan.net

In February, the city of pines offer the Panagbenga Flower Festival, colorful ethnic tribal costumes & flower floats parade to the Bendian dance of unity & harmony among tribes. Come April, the Lenten Season of the country celebrates Moriones Festival in Marinduque, passion plays in warrior costumes & masks. Then the famous Cutud Lenten Rites, in San Fernando, Pampanga, where villagers participate inthe act of self-flagellation in the morning of Good Friday.

May is the flower month of the Philippines. In Quezon, the Pahiyas Festival celebrates good harvest & good times. Not only flowers but kiping, suman & houses with colorful & creative decors. In the same month, the whole country joins in the Santacruzan or Flores de Mayo, parading lovely ladies in beautiful Maria Clara gowns. In June, Tacloban celebrates the Pintados Festival of tattoos & body paint signifying courage of warriors.

Jumping to September, the Peñafrancia Festival of Naga City is a spiritual celebration of novenas & the fluvial procession. Another regatta show comes in October at the Hermosa Festival of Zamboanga, where the colorful vintas take the waters. Down in Visayas, the Masskara Festival of Bacolod City is also celebrated in October, carnival style. Just across, Camiguin celebrates the Lanzones Festival parading Mindanao tribal costumes. Like one festival here in France, la Fete des Geants in Lille (Festival of Giants), the locals of Angono, Rizal celebrates the Higantes Festival in November, where the higantes is a 10 feet paper-maché puppet. Masskara Festival photo from www.lakbaypilipinas.com/masskara_festival

December is the biggest festival of the country - Christmas but aside from that, the Giant Lantern Festival in San Fernando, Pampanga adds up to the our country's bright holidays with a lantern measuring 40 feet in diameter. Not having the patience to include the many other festivals around the country, the Philippines is abundant of beautiful fiestas that are a part of our history & our spiritualism, shaping our culture. I hope we continue to respect the tradition - maki-fiesta! It's fun & truly ours.

I learned that nationalism doesn't really start at home.
Say, what fiesta have you been to in the Philippines?


From Manila to Paris, then to Marseille & to the Côte d'Azur, now in Singapore, clinging to a map of three worlds, where everything becomes all relative.


  1. our fiesta back home falls on May. Di ko pa personally naranasan, although my late dad would brag about it a lot. Balak ko ulit umuwi this May. Balak pa lang :)

  2. I've alwayes been a witness of our Flores de Mayo or we call it Santacuzan in Sariaya, Quezon, if I tell you that i've been always a part of "Parada" alright, Stop laughing Makis!

    It was against my will, of course but I was young & my decision didn't count. Ok here's the played I role : Reina Banderada, Reina Esperanza, Reina Abogada, Reina Sentenciada, Reina Justicia, Tres Marias & Reina Paz!

    Pahiyas called as San Isidro too is one of my fave! The colorful Kipings, native fan (pamaypay) decorated buli leaves, fruits of different kinds etc etc. I've been to Pampanga's Fiesta and I'll spare you the details hahaha! Kwento ko na lang pag nagkita tayo :) !

    I would love to see Ati-Atihan & Sinulog Festival since I have relatives from there at least meron ng free na tour guide :) !

  3. I went to Marinduque for the Moriones. It was wild because it's really gory and bloody, and the masks used during the festival can guarantee nightmares.
    It's not a real festival, but for me a festival that I attended religiously was the Lantern Parade in UP. Now I'm curious about the Giant Lantern Festival...

  4. mostly na fiesta na attend ko sa Pinas, parada ng mga santo, lagi in the middle and catholic church, lol

    ang nakakatuwang nakakainis na fiesta ay sa San Juan. Ligo ka talaga don, kaya iwas ako do every June 24, lol

  5. and what about the fiesta sa quaipo, the black nazarene.. i was there last time, and i tell you, traffic hanggang sampaloc area, we live near UST.

    here in burgundy, there are a lot of fiestas too.. my faves are escargot festival where you could eat escargots traditionally cooked à la bourgogne style matched with burgundy wines of course... and then the wine harvest festival (fête de la vigne) where the biggest folklore assembly is being held.

  6. In my hometown of Calbayog, Samar, we celebrate the birthday of the Blessed Mother,which is Sept.8- and it is a big fiesta celebration when every household would prepare sumptuous buffet for visitors (uninvited or not).The local government also started a Sinulog-like parade/celebration back in the late '90s which we call ---pls. don't laugh- SARAKIKI-HADANG FESTIVAL. The word is derived from the waray word 'sakiki' which is the motion done by the rooster when he is trying to impress a chicken.( it is a sideways move with his feathers kind of clipped to the side =) HADANG on the other hand is the ancient paganistic ritual of the locals to make offerings to the unseen for good harvest or good health. I haven't been able to witness this Festival but I hope I will be able to someday. I have seen some nice pictures taken by a fellow blogger and you might want to check it out.


  7. hi makis! our fiesta in my hometown falls on May. actually, mag-start siya from April 26th and ended on May 6th. although ang pinaka-araw talaga ng fiesta is from May 1-3. sa mga araw na ito nangyayari ang iba't-ibang parada sa bayan, pakontes, coronations, and etc. naki-pamista kami dun sa amin ni ninev last year. i've almost witnessed the Sinulog Festival in Cebu last 2002. unfortunately, we left Cebu a day before the festival. i felt so bad after that. hehe!

    i'm keeping my fingers crossed that my post will get thru. gaya ng nasabi ko kina haze at ana, nagkaka-problema ako sa blogger. and i don't know why?.

    take care and have a great weekend!

  8. http://dine.racoma.com.ph

    interesting - i haven't heard of a sea urchin festival until now. as to the other fiestas, we are so lucky to have so many of them here in the philippines, the country of fun-loving people, the country of smiles.

  9. Nao: Wow, napapadalas ang uwi natin ha :) Buti ka pa! I hope you'll be able to fiesta back home - para ma-iba naman ang party diba.

    Hazel: Laman ka pala ng Santa Cruzan :) I've only been one the reyna's pawn but never the queen, hehehe!

    Kala: Moriones is one of the biggest festival in the Philippines right? But a bloody & gory fiesta is not my idea of fun though. Now I have to see the Moriones in my long list of fiestas to go to before I die.

    Francesca: The San Juan fiesta is a nationwide festival that is less preacticed in the area where we live. OO nga, ako din puro fiesta ng santo, wala man lang touch ng party tulad ng mga Sto. Nino fiestas sa Visayas :)

    Ana: I live in Manila but never been to the fiesta of Quiapo pero parang hindi siya fun fiesta no? Oooh, i love escargots! Your region is full of wine festivals!

    Gina: Wow, thanks for this interesting share of your hometown fiesta :) I think that is one special fiesta! In my hometown of Las Pinas, hehe, there's just the fiesta with saints, processions & not even a lot of food :D

    Ligaya: So glad you had time to visit my blog :) Oooh, that is too bad not to see the Sinulog. I saw some footages on it & it's one hell of a fiesta!

    sexy mom: Welcome, welcome to my blog! Yes, our little barrio of Carry le Rouet here in the south of France is known for its sea urchin festival but it's not as lively & fun as some of our fiestas back home :) I visited your blog & I have to say that your blog is really great! Will visit often & keep up your passion for writing :)

    Thank you girls for sharing your fiestas!

  10. makis, it's percée du vin jaune ce weekend, à salins-les-bains.. on va surement y aller - si louna est ok..sorry for the late announcement, si t'as envie d'y aller, let me know...

  11. Ana! C'est trés dommage qu'on peut pas aller comme ça mais frenchfry a déjà penser pour le mois de Mars a Jura – il faut qu’on prévoir qqch, n’est-ce pas :) Merci quand même! A bientôt alors?