As with all other peoples, Filipinos cherish their freedom so much that almost all historical events especially battles are commemorated. There’s the Battle of Bessang Pass in Ilocos Norte on June 14 which led to the surrender of General Yamashita and the end of the Japanese Occupation. Re-enactments abound too like the Homonhon Landing of Fernando Magallanes on March 16 and the Balangiga Victory of the Filipinos over the American troops in Samar on September 28.
Historical celebrations like these need the direct involvement of local government units as much as religious events need the guidance of the parishes. This influence of the LGUs is especially seen in festivals celebrating the founding of the various towns, cities, provinces or regions. In Butuan at Agusan del Norte, people celebrate the establishment of the city charter on the Adlaw Hong Butuan while the entire province of Sorsogon become one big party venue during the Kasanggayahan Festival from October 10 to 17.
By now, you may have realized the inexhaustible talent of the Filipino for celebrating every imaginable event from the gargantuan to the minute. And size or importance doesn’t matter, every celebration is grand be it the usual or the strange. Take for example the surrealistic Tawo-Tawo Festival in Negros wherein gigantic scarecrows are paraded as people dance along, the playful Obando Fertility Rites in Bulacan where childless couple go to or the ghoulish Taong Putik of Nueva Ecija where devotees of St. John the Baptist cover their bodies with mud and dried leaves.
Beauty in variety
While the Filipino passion for festivities doesn’t seem to know any boundaries, not all celebrations cater to the worldly desire for fun. Communities all throughout the country also come up with programs or events aimed at raising the civic consciousness of its populace like cleanliness and beautification drives, and environmental protection campaigns like tree planting. What is truly fun though on these events are the side highlights like small skits presented by young people.
And as a country of multi-cultural ethnicity, an entire year of celebrations wouldn’t be complete if there weren’t festivities identified with other cultures. There’s the Chinese Lunar Year celebration, an event which many Filipinos have come to embrace for its spectacular fireworks, lively Dragon dances and the sumptuous Chinese cuisine. Don’t forget the Eid Al`fitr and Eid Mubarak of the Muslim Filipinos down south, which are celebrations marking the ending of the Ramadan and the Hajj season, respectively.