Tag Archives: festival

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.


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.


Pagdaug – Saludan Festival

3rd week of March
Municipality of Miagao
1st District, Iloilo


Saludan, a Hiligaynon term coined from the word salud, the traditional way of gathering or accumulating a thing for its interest or value such as threshing rice using a basket or catching fingerlings through nets.

Fishing and farming has been Tigbauan’s way of life for several generations. They grow many crops and fish for food. This is not only for survival means but also to bring families together to celebrate the planting and harvesting seasons, to share ideas on how to maintain a farmland’s fertility and to take good care of their seas. And also it is to impart this knowledge of farming and fishing to the younger generation. Their lifestyles and festivities are thus exclusively linked to the annual celebration of their festival.

The traditional harvest festivity of Saludan is celebrated alongside Pagdaug, a festival segment commemorating the annual observance of the Liberation of Panay. The festivity has become the symbol of Tigbauans’ esteem not only in terms of its abundant varieties of local produce but also for the honoured Tigbauanons who served and died, and all who supported the World War II effort from this town.

The festival highlight is the tribe performances that illuminate the Japanese experience during the WWII era with personal stories. Symbolic of the defining event are dramatizations of some chilling reminders of its Japanese wartime existence. The presentations will draw on the commemorative experiences of spectators watching by capturing, in the audiences’ own words, their individual reflections on those Tigbauanons who have sacrificed their lives during WWII.


Salakayan Festival

1st week of February
Municipality of Miagao
1st District, Iloilo


The annual celebration of Salakayan Festival is an opportunity for the people of Miagao to pay tribute to their cultural roots. Taken from the Hiligaynon word “Salakay” or “to attack,” the festival is marked by the locals ready to defend their land from the attacks of Muslim pirates. This dance-drama presentation depicts the battle waged by the local defenders against the piratical activities and slave-hunting expeditions of the Muslims pirates or Moros—name-calling of Spanish authorities of the Islamic people of Mindanao.

Moros take the able bodied and were brought to the slavers’ lairs to join the other captives from other settlements awaiting the long journey south. Those who attempt to flee were either clubbed or killed if they resisted vigorously. Among the able-bodied captives, women and children were preferred because they commanded a higher price in the market in Sulu, Makassar and Java. Once taken into custody, the slaves were then stripped naked and are fastened by a rattan collar around their necks. The captives were then forced to row the vessels. Slaves were sold to work heavily in the fields or negotiated to merchants for other Asian markets. Others were used as household retainers or as rowers of pirate vessels. Slaves who proved their loyalty and converted themselves to Islam were raised in status and often becoming raiders themselves.

The presentation ends with the victorious battle that took place in May 7, 1754. Along with the tribal dance competition is the special procession of the Higantes or towering figures that commonly depict archetypes of the town, such as historical figures of local relevance.

Coastal settlements in the islands of Panay became the objects of frequent Moro raids. Many towns in the north and south of Iloilo became easy targets and Miagao was not spared from these raids that resulted to the burning of the original structure of St. Thomas of Villanova church situated at that time in Sitio Ubos.

The history of the Salakayan Festival began with modest gatherings in the streets around the town center. And throughout the week-long celebration, series of special events to mark Salakayan became potent festival symbols.


Hirinugyaw – Suguidanonay Festival

Last week of January till 1st week of February
Municipality of Calinog
3rd District, Iloilo


Calinog celebrates and shares its culture through dance and chants with the annual celebration of Hirinugyaw–Suguidanonay. The festival is known to be Iloilo’s only literary festival that showcases the wonderful story of Hinilawod through dance performed in its unique mix of poetry, chants and music.

It is a special event of great beauty and cultural significance. The festival highlighted by the tribal-dance competition performed in two segments. It starts with the Suguidanon that provide visitors with their authentic indigenous culture. Suguidanon, a story-telling done in chants, performed and showcased annually in chapters from the folk epic poem Hinilawod (Tales from the Mouth of Halawod River) considered to be the 2nd longest epic in the world written and recorded by Ilonggo Anthropologist Dr. F. Landa Jocano (a native of Cabatuan, Iloilo) in 1957 based from stories from the inhabitants of Central Panay (Sulodnon). It is a rich source of their cultural practices, religion and rituals.

Hinilawod is one of the hardest of all Panay oral literature passed from generation to the next. It has been said that the chanter, the Babaylan (native priest) can only take one apprentice at a time to learn the epic by listening and internalizing it. It is said that when recorded it takes about 30 hours and when performed as a chant with interruptions for meals and sleep, the epic lasts for three days.

Each year, one chapter from the epic is performed accompanied by chanting done in Kiniray-a.

The last part of the presentation is the Hirinugyaw. From a Hiligaynon word hugyaw meaning to cheer, the performance is inspired by the Dinagyang Festival that anchors on the religious aspect of venerating Sr. Sto. Niño and highlighted by colourful costumes with fast-paced dances movements.

Hirinugyaw-Suguidanonay Festival provides a fantastic opportunity for attendees to be fully immersed in Calinog’s Panay Bukidnon and local culture. This is a celebration of their lives together as one people living in mutual respect of their differences in faith, identity, and ethnicity.


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