1. Baguio – Panagbanga Festival
The Panagbenga Festival is held yearly during the month of February. The celebrations are held for over a month and peak periods are the weekends. The Panagbenga Festival showcases the many floral floats and native dances. The fragrant smells that could be presently teasing olfactory senses are probably less from the now-dried flowers from Valentine’s Day than air floating all the way from Baguio City. At this time of year, the City of Pines is almost surely in flower fury over Panagbenga festival, the city’s biggest festival.
Panagbenga is a kankanaey term for “a season of blooming.” It is also known as the Baguio Flower Festival, a homage to the beautiful flowers the city is famous for as well as a celebration of Baguio’s re-establishment. Since February 1995, it has been held to help Baguio forget the 1990 earthquake that distressed much of the city.
Panagbenga festival will have spectators enjoying a multiple floral and float parades over two days. The Baguio Flower Festival Association (BFFA) will have a street dancing parade and band exhibition. The Baguio Flower Festival Foundation (BFFF), meanwhile, will hold a parade. So where should spectators be stationed to not miss any of the float and floral parades? Session Road and Burnham Park. A search for the Mr. and Ms. Baguio Flower Festival, FM Panagbenga Pop Fiesta, Skateboard competition and Dolls of Japan exhibit were added to the BFFA calendar. The festival is supported by constituents of La Trinidad, La Union, Pangasinan, Marinduque and Masbate.
2. Bacolod – Maskara
The Masskara (a combination of the English word “mass” and the Spanish “kara,” meaning “face”) is a Festival that started in the early 1980s, when world prices for sugar plummeted; and Bacolod City, the country’s sugar capital, was hit by a major crisis.
The city government and artists banded together to find ways to lift the people’s spirits (not to mention their deteriorating economy), so they decided to throw a party!
Held every third weekend of October or on the closest weekend to October 19, it dramatizes the steadfast character of the Negrenses and symbolizes what the people of the City of Smiles do best: putting on a happy face when confronted with challenges.
When you go to the Masskara Festival, the fun pageantry will give you several days of visual overload. People garbed in elegant and ingenious costumes dance on the streets, their masks reflective of the jovial Negrense spirit. Costumes are made with fabrics of different colors and patterns, embellished with exotic feathers, shiny sequins, multicolored beads and paired with towering headgear.
3. Bukidnon – Kaamulan
“Kaamulan” is from the Binukid word “amul” which means “to gather”. It is a gathering of Bukidnon tribespeople for a purpose. It can mean a datuship ritual, a wedding ceremony, a thanksgiving festival during harvest time, a peace pact, or all of these put together.
Showcasing the unique indigenous culture of Bukidnon, the Kaamulan is held annually in the province, particularly in Malaybalay City, the provincial capital, from the second half of February to March 10, which latter date marks the anniversary of the creation of Bukidnon as a province in 1917.
As an ethnic festival, the Kaamulan celebrates the customs and traditions of the seven tribal groups that originally inhabited the Bukidnon region, namely, the Bukidnon, Higaonon, Talaandig, Manobo, Matigsalug, Tigwahanon and Umayamnon. Several tribal folks representing these seven hill tribes of Bukidnon gather in unity with the local dwellers in town, wearing their intricately woven costumes studded with trinkets, anklets, earrings, necklaces, leglets, headdresses and amulets. They dance together, chant, perform ancient rituals, and compete in indigenous sports.
Graced by cultural groups whose ways have remained unchanged throughout the centuries, the Kaamulan is characterized by the authentic rituals with real indigenous peoples. There is the Pangampo (general worship), the Tagulambong hu Datu (ritual for the installation of a Chieftain), the Panumanod (a spiriting ceremony), the Panlisig (rite to drive away evil spirits), and the Pamalas (sin atonement ritual) among others.
4. Davao – Kadayawan Festival
It is a celebration of Good Harvest! This globally famous festival is a weeklong celebration and thanksgiving for nature’s bountiful harvest. Kadayawan Festival is being celebrated every 3rd Week of August. A celebration of the plentiful harvests of fruits and orchids during the season. Kadayawan is derived from the prehistoric word “madayaw,” a warm and friendly greeting also used to explain a thing that is valuable, superior, beautiful, good, or profitable, “Kadayawan” in Mandaya means anything that brings fortune, a celebration of life, a thanksgiving for the gifts of nature, the wealth of culture, the bounties of harvest and serenity of living. Ethnic tribes around Mt. Apo usually gathered during the harvest-time when they had a bountiful harvest to give thanks to their gods particularly the all-powerful Bathala (supreme God). According to legend, the occasion is noticeable by happiness, singing, and dancing, as well as offerings to their divine protectors.
The festival is celebrated in the month of August with floats of fresh flowers and fruits, and indak-indak sa kadalanan or street dancing in colorful costumes. A variety of tribes parade the streets with their tribal costumes and jewelry. The city of Davao comes alive every year in August when it holds it yearly harvest festival. The streets are adorned with local fruit & vegetables while people hold street dances with abandon for four days. The harbor is the venue for native & power boat races. Everybody fights for seats to watch the Horse Fighting wherein stallions fight each other over the rights to mate with a mare. The crowd is sometimes tracked by the horses if they get too close. The last day the street is full of costumed dancers dancing to the local beat & decorated floats with glamorous Mindanao girls as eye candy. It’s a time of fun & abandon. The festivity is not complete without the Bya’Neng ng Kadayawan or the Miss Kadayawan beauty contest. There is also the horsefight, a tribal animal show similar to the bullfight in Spain.