Category Archives: Festivals

Saludan Festival

The culture of the town of Tigbauan reflects a society with diverse influences and traditions. And to express this cultural richness, Saludan a cultural festivity was organized to showcase the town’s distinct traditional activity in a celebration of dance and music. A dialect used for the “crude method of threshing rice or catching fingerlings through nets,” Saludan is one of Iloilo’s emerging festivals.

Aside from the way of life of the people of Tigbauan, the Saludan Festival also centers on the town’s colorful history. Tigbauan was the site of the first Jesuite Boarding School for boys, the first educational center in the Philippines; Furthermore, it is the home of a regional fisheries research institution, the Aquaculture Department of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC); and the town is also the place where the American Liberation Forces landed on 18 March 1945 which led to the Liberation of the islands of Panay and Romblon. These milestones are a source of pride for the people of Tigbauan.

The Saludan is held every last week of October. The four day event opens with a food festival, Trade Fair, and a Beauty pageant. The gem of the festivity is the tribe competition.


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Talong Festival

Barangay Oyungan, Miagao, Iloilo will celebrates its first <b>Tarong Festival</b> on March 24-26, 2017. This year’s theme, “Pasidunggan kag Pasalamatan,” will focus on the thriving industry of eggplant production of the Barangay.

Join the fun. Stop by to enjoy their original, old-fashioned festival celebration with daily activities for everyone. March 24 (Friday) Mass at 7 a.m., Caravan at 8 a.m., Opening of Agro-Trade Fair at 9 a.m., Battle of the Mini Sound at 11 a.m., Barangay Night at 7 p.m.; March 25 (Saturday) Cavalcade of Dances from Oyungan Elementary School at 7 a.m., A Talk on the History of Taring by Mr. Vicente Natino, President, PASAKA-UBOS Irrigators Association at 9 a.m. Barangay Plaza, Eggplant Picking for visitors and guests, Symposium on Planting and Marketing Eggplant at 3 p.m., Lin-ay Kang Tarong Festival 2017 at 6 p.m.; March 26 (Sunday) Mass at 9:30 a.m., Sugbahan sa Binit Dalan and Boodle Fight, Raffle and Pinaka Contest at 11 a.m., Awarding at 7 p.m.

The eggplant fields in Barangay Oyungan have provided the whole town of Miagao with the product all year round. Honoring the most abundant product of the Barangay, the Tarong Festival is a celebration of the land of Oyungan, honouring its agricultural traditions and the farmers. It is one of the fastest growing areas of the town producing rice, corn and truckloads of eggplants. Harvest season produces 100 sacks of eggplants daily.

Belonging to the nightshade family like tomatoes, potatoes and bell peppers, eggplants locally known as talong, it is a vegetable long prized for its beauty as well as its unique taste and texture. Eggplants are native to the Indian subcontinent, but are now found throughout the world in a number of different cultural cuisines. In England, the vegetable is called “aubergine.” It reached the Middle East and the Mediterranean region approximately 800 years ago, and was being referenced in England by the 16th century.

Eggplants grow by hanging from the vines of a plant that grows several feet in height. It is best known for its dark purple color but comes in a variety of shapes from small and oblong to long and skinny. The flesh is cream colored and spongy in consistency with seeds arranged in a conical pattern. It has a pleasantly bitter taste and spongy texture. Eggplant can be baked, roasted in the oven, or steamed.

Eggplant has a unique range of health benefits, including an ability to help build strong bones and prevent osteoporosis, reduce symptoms of anemia, increase cognitive function, improve cardiovascular health, protect the digestive system, help lose weight, manage diabetes, reduce stress, protect infants from birth defects, and even prevent cancer.

Situated six kilometers away from the poblacion on the way to the next municipality, Barangay Oyungan is a friendly, old-fashioned agricultural and fishing community. It is the 3rd biggest in terms of population numbering to 420 households of 2,000 residents.

To get to the barangay, one can take a Tigbauan, Guimbal, Miagao or San Joaquin jeepneys at the Don Benito Q. Acap Sr. Southern Iloilo Perimeter Boundary in Barangay Mohon, Oton or when in the city, at the market situated at the back of Robinsons Place Iloilo. For more information, please contact Hon. Remia Nuevaespana – Barangay Captain at 09079981900.

Pagdihon Festival

3rd week of October
Municipality of Dingle
4th District, Iloilo

The annual Pagdihon Festival is an opportunity for Dingleanons to give thanks to their local heroes for the sacrifices they had done in the name of freedom. Adriano Hernandez, the central figure of the celebration, the main character in the dance-drama presentations, is a native of Dingle,Iloilo is a Visayan general, military strategist and patriot. When the natives were asked to volunteer in fighting the Filipino revolutionaries, Hernandez secretly organized a rebel movement in Iloilo against the Spaniards and staged the first armed uprising in the Province of Iloilo. This occurred in Barrio Lincud, Dingle. The event was known as the “Cry of Lincud” on October 28, 1898.

Since 2009, this festival is celebrated every year to commemorate the war that was fought in this town. Now the town of Dingle has peace, but every year for one day we depict the war of those times through this festivity.

The festival highlight is the tribal dance spectacle in a built up at an open space as performers involved in a rousing telling of the events as they unfold history through a dance-drama presentation.

Lechon Festival

Every 24th of July
Municipality of Balasan
5th District, Iloilo

When it comes to lechon (roast suckling pig), there is no place in Iloilo that takes it as seriously as the folks in Balasan. The annual Lechon Festival is a celebration of food, culture and community, making it truly one of Iloilo’s most unique festivals.

As a kick-off to their Religious Fiesta celebration in honour of their patron, Sta. Ana, every 24th of July, residents of this town gathers on the main street fronting the municipal hall to share a sumptuous feast, the culinary centerpiece is the most revered of all Filipino food, the mouth-watering and flavourful lechon.

The entire day creates an aromatic atmosphere that hangs over the festival, leaving a taste you will never forget. As early as 3 a.m. the cooks are already preparing the lechon. The pig is placed on a spit, innards removed, on a large stick and cooking it in a roasting pit filled with charcoal. It is roasted while continuously wiping its skin with brush made of banana leaves with oil and milk. This procedure makes the skin crispy, and repeatedly roasting it over the heat for at least 5 hours until they turn a crispy, red-golden brown.

The highlight of this theme-based festival is a mischievous merriment through a no-holds-barred boodle fight open to everybody. By the time the boodle fight starts at noon, the skin will be crispy, with some fat and super tender roast meat. The sumptuous buffet features a whole pig on display. People just sidle up to the table and pluck off whatever they want. When lunch is over, there is nothing but a few bones. Boodle feast bring the community even closer together.

The festival has fostered cooperation between the barangay officials and the residents.

Carabao – Carroza Festival

1st week of May
Municipality of Pavia
2nd District, Iloilo

The family-friendly community and agricultural town of Pavia celebrate the festival of the carabaos through the annual Carabao-Carroza, the longest existing festival in Iloilo Province.

Prior to the race, the festival also features a colourful parade of 18 decorated bamboo carrozas representing the 18 barangays of Pavia. Along with their 18 muses, the carrozas also bear the local produce of these barangays. The grand opening parade will take off at Ungka-I. Parade participants will compete for the top award, the Most Gaily Decorated Carabao and Carroza.

The parade will proceed to the open field of Pavia National High School for a short program to be followed by the race. Visitors and guests flock to the area to witness this annual carabaos race that started forty years ago. It has become a tradition since then as farmers race their strongest and fastest carabaos. The race is of two major types: flat racing and carroza-racing. The flat race is where carabaos driven by farmer run across the 100-meter long parallel grassy track; while the carroza race is driven by farmers with carrozas drawn by the carabaos. The race is based on speed and stamina of the carabaos.

Carabao-Carroza Festival boasts Pavia’s rich cultural meaning and long history as it compose an important part of the Ilonggo culture. It also helps a great deal in preserving this indigenous celebration in Iloilo that despite the advent of modern machineries that are rapidly replacing our carabaos for agriculture making most of the farm work mechanized, the Carabao-Carroza festival continuous to rise for greater heights of progress for Pavia.

Tubong – Tubong Festival

Every May 1st
Municipality of Tubungan
1st District, Iloilo

Tubungan continues to celebrate its proud heritage every year with its annual Tubong-Tubong Festival. It is a favourite of Tubunganons as the occasion calls for more entertainment than any other time of the year. It is the year’s most important community activity. Family members gather in the poblacion, traveling from across far-flung mountain barangays to spend the celebration in each other’s company.

Tubong-Tubong is derived from the word ‘tubong,’ a term used in gambling or in games, meaning ‘to add,’ ‘to contribute’ or ‘to chip-in’ to the original bet. The Spanish Laws of the Indies requires a place to have a certain number in terms of population in order to be recognized as a town.

And to comply with this requirement, people from neighboring towns were recruited and encouraged to settle in Tin-an, the original town of Tubungan. Its recognition as a town during the Spanish regime was made possible through tubong-tubong in terms of population.

Tubong-Tubong Festival was established with its mission of promoting and preserving the cultural and artistic heritage of the people of this town. While dedicated to maintain the traditional aspects of their past, the celebration also presents to the public, a variety of cultural programs. The municipal government is also active in encouraging and promoting the development of youth who will carry their heritage with them into the next century.

The celebration’s highlight is the tribal dance presentation that depicts the spirit of cooperative effort involving a community of members and features a small fiesta to express gratitude. Other tribes focus on indigenous beliefs such as folk rituals established among the people in the community and the non-human beings, such as spirits and divinities. Cultural practices as expressed in a collection of stories are also presented where it shaped the history of this town and what the future lies for Tubungan.

Surong Festival

Every last week of April
Municipality of Janiuay
District, Iloilo

Surong Festival is an eco-agri and cultural festival. It also showcases the journey of every Janiuaynons in all the challenges and adversities of their lives. The festival intends to build a strong common future among its people, rooted in their historically rich common past.

Janiuaynons are known for their strength of character. They are brave, tireless and prayerful. They see life’s challenges as a blessing and that it comes into a persons’ life for a reason. And chooses to learn valuable lessons from the challenges they encounter. Janiuaynons believe that to be able to reap their benefits, they should accept them with absolute faith. They believe that the more difficult the adversity, the more valuable will be the lessons it offers to teach. By exercising faith in a power greater than themselves, they discover they are not alone in any adversity.

Semana Santa


Iloilo has its own beautiful traditional Lenten celebration. Throughout Lenten season, many towns have precious and moving traditions played out every year during Holy Week or Semana Santa, part of a tradition celebrated throughout the country.

Many towns spend all year planning for the spectacle and is home to some of the biggest Lenten traditions. For visitors and tourists here in time for the Lenten spectacle, towns offer plenty of other things to do.

Visita Iglesia is a Lenten base for exploring Iloilo. It is a popular activity among families and friends where they go from one church to the other pausing at each station for quiet meditation and prayer.

Theatrical dramatization of the Passion of Christ brings to life the death of our Lord. Annually celebrated in the town of Barotac Viejo the Taltal is this town’s way of maintaining devotion and traditions today.

Annually in Cabatuan, residents along the streets begin preparations weeks and even months in advance creating beautifully intricate life-size Lenten characters of the Stations of the Cross. Along with this is the traditional Filipino ritual involving an uninterrupted chanting-singing of the verses of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Pasyon is structured in five-line stanzas, with each line containing eight syllables performed in the local dialect, Kiniray-a as a song a capella or with the accompaniment of a guitar. Many Cabatuananons consider Pasyon and Kapiya as their “panata” or personal pledge during Holy Week. It has evolved into a community activity that allows their community devotees to express their faith.

Pintados De Pasi Festival

3rd week of March
City of Passi
4th District, Iloilo

Regarded as one of the region’s most prestigious festivals and is consistently mentioned as a do-not-miss festival in Iloilo, the annual celebration of Pintados de Pasi every 3rd week of March is an amazing celebration that fosters a rich sense of cultural heritage and awareness of the town.

The islands of the Visayas where tribesmen wore the most elaborate, intricate and extensive etchings that led Spanish chroniclers to call the island “La Isla De Los Pintados” or “Islands of the Painted Ones.” It was said that when Spanish authorities arrived in the island, they were welcomed by a group of heavily tattooed men.

Traditionally, the art of tattooing was part of a ritual and portrayed elements of achievement and status of the person wearing the tattoo. Tribal tattoos had profound personal attachments to them.

Commonly done in black ink, the marks are of thick lines with geometric shapes and beautiful pattern. Tattoos were used on men to show tribal seniority, accomplishments, age, and power, as well as acting as talismans in certain cases. It describes their fundamental identity as tribes-people, head hunters, warriors, and community members. Tattoos were earned through the passage of rites ceremonies and for accomplishing specific tasks. Both the men and the women were tattooed, and for a variety of reasons. The Visayan men were warriors, commonly head hunters with strong, detailed lines on their chests and heads. The designs or patterns in their body parts would get more elaborate the more enemies they would kill. The women have simpler patterns on their arms and wrists and were regarded as marks of beauty.

The festival highlight is the tribal dance competition where participants paint their body with elaborate patterns and shapes. The dance is characterized by the flow, a seamless stream of movements that emphasizes the agility of the upper body with simultaneous alternating waving of arms which are the basic movement of the Pintados dance. The dance involves leaping, turning, jumping and kicking movements of a warrior.

The celebration honours their tattooed ancestors such that wearing their tattoo design during their dance presentations is their great way to show respect for their traditional culture.

Katagman Festival

Every 1st week of May
Municipality of Oton
1st District, Iloilo

The oldest municipality in Panay, Oton annually celebrate its rich and historical and cultural heritage through its Katagman Festival. The celebration is an exciting showcase of the town’s rich history.

The individual performances of assigned excerpts are energetic piece of dance theatre inspired by historic periods in Oton that showcases clashes with Muslim pirates, Spanish authorities and the anti-religious sects. The performance is aimed to be informative.

Drawing on historical accounts, key images takes its audience on a historical journey, reminding us of the harsh realities that the Ogtonganons faced in the past. The presentations use symbolic movements, patterns and a body language to build up an intense portrait of repression and success and tell its story.

The festival icon is the golden death mask included amongst the 15 Most Intense Archaeological Discoveries in Philippine History. Considered to be a National Cultural Treasure, the mask was discovered in the 1960s by Alfredo Evangelista and F. Landa Jocano in a grave site in Barangay San Antonio, Oton.

The mask consists of a gold nose-disc and eye-mask is said to have been dated sometime in the late 14th to the early 15th century A.D. Around that time, the town of Oton was a popular trade route. The golden death mask was known to be the first of its kind recovered in the Philippines. It served as an amulet against evil spirits and was used to cover the face of the dead, an ancient Chinese burial practice common especially among southern Chinese.

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