The Philippines Archipelago located west of the Pacific Ocean is like a melting pot of cultures and one of a kind travel destination every month of the year. Each month means new festivities.
During the first part of the year in Minlain, Pampanga, Aguman Sanduk is celebrated. During the afternoon of January 1st, boys and men are in transvestite regalia; they put on their mother’s lipstick and try their wives dresses as they parade on the streets. Mayors and parish priests are not exempted from such tradition that started in 1934. At the end of the day, the ugliest of the cross-dressers is proclaimed the Aguman queen.
Also in January is the celebration in honor of the infant Jesus both done in Cebu and Aklan. In Cebu it is called Sinulog while it is called Ati-atihan in Aklan.
In other parts of the Philippines they celebrate the culmination of Christmas season with street dancing in costumes adored with lights. In Las Castellana, Negros Occidental, they call it Bailes De Luces.
Between the last weeks of January to the early weeks of February, Filipinos await the Chinese New Year with anticipation. They like they fortunes based on their animal zodiac sign casts. Fire crackers greet the entry of the New Year along with delectable foods tikoy and masi.
When February comes, aside from celebrating it with loved ones, in San Enrique, Negros Oriental they present a dance that depicts the life and character of cock fighting.
The gathering of hill tribes in Malaybalay, Bukidnon happens in March. During this time they feature their traditional songs and dances clad in their colorful costumes and jewelry.
By April, watches out for the different ways places from all around the archipelago celebrate the passion and cross of Christ. Some flagellate themselves believing it is penance for their sins.
Western Samar celebrates their Pahoy-Pahoy festival with different scarecrow costumes, a grand parade and street dancing in May. Other parts of the country celebrate the blooming flowers and retell the story of Reyna Elena and his son Constantine with the Santacruzan.
From June to September, it is an alternate festival on fishing, harvesting and being grateful. In June, a procession at sea led by the Patron Saint of Bilang-Bilang, Virgen dela Paz y Buen Viaje happens in Surigao City. In Tudela, Camotes Island, they display their various cassava-based products.
By August, aside from being the Buwan ng Wika, there is a reinvention of Dinagat festival in Cebu where they praise the bakasi, an exotic eel abundant in the place.
By October, Ramadhan is observed all over the country. It marks the start of the month-long fasting of Muslims. The fasting ends with a feast though with what they called Eid’l Fitr.
Also when November comes, the inhabitants celebrate Pintaflores in honor of Saint Charles Borromeo. Street dancing features the tribes dressed in colorful ehnic costumes with their bodies painted with flower designs in reminiscent of the tattoed Visayans of the Pre Spanish Negros. There is also Bacolod’s Maskara.
Carol presentation, decorating the Christmas tree, putting up the best Belens and Christmas bazaar are only few of the activities planned during the Yuletide season.