The month of July greets storms and typhoons with an equal blast of energy by the Filipino’s continuing homage, commemoration and glee with fiestas and festivals throughout the Philippines.
“Our people’s festive spirit endures in the seventh month of every year as towns and cities – big and small – celebrate their special events with their own ingenuous reasons and in their own inimitable ways. It would be most interesting for both domestic and foreign visitors to experience an array of these July festivities as they savor the natural and other man-made attractions of the destinations,” Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim discloses.
In scenic island-province of Bohol, the Sandugo Festival is the annual historical commemoration of the Treaty of Friendship between local chieftain Datu Sikatuna and Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. This 16th century peace treaty took place in March 16, 1565 through the traditional blood compact or “sandugo.”
Held at the capital city of Tagbilaran, the festival is held the whole month of July consisting of agriculture and trade fairs, product showcase, nightly concerts, a beauty contest with the celebration of Tagbilaran City Charter Day on July 1 and the Bohol Day on July 22. The Sandugo street dancing competition highlights the festival with the theme of friendship among equals and international diplomacy as expressed in each participating group’s traditional culture.
Participated in native costumes by hundreds of students from schools, employees of government agencies, contingents from other provinces and Boholano organizations abroad, the much-awaited festival street dancing competition will be on July 31 for this year. The street dancing will start at 1 p.m. at the Tagbilaran Tourism Port passing through major streets and culminating at the President Carlos P. Garcia Sports Complex where the Sandugo re-enactment will be held.
Dapitan City in Zamboanga del Norte has the Kinabayo Festival on July 25. Through its exotic pageantry, the festival re-enacts the Spanish-Moorish wars particularly the Battle of Covadonga where the Spanish forces under General Pelagio took their last stand against the Saracens. It also celebrates the feast of St. James the Great, the first apostle martyr, which the city shares with the town of Libmanan in Camarines Sur. Over at province-mate Dipolog City, its 98th anniversary will have cultural presentations, native games, art exhibits, nightly entertainment and fashion shows.
The first officially recorded encounter between the US troops and the Filipino Revolutionary forces during the turn-of-the-20th century in the island-province of Marinduque is commemorated through the Battle of Paye every July 31. Despite poor weaponry but with unusual tactics, the local forces emerged victorious.
Culture, traditions and products
A seven-day cultural extravaganza is featured in the Maubanog Festival through the town’s history, people, native cuisine and locally-fermented wine which can only be found in Mauban, Quezon. In Sapian, Capiz, the local people consolidates their common efforts into one for a more prosperous town which is illustrated and manifested through the Tilibyugan Festival, from the Sapianon word ‘tibyog’ meaning ‘to unite’, and held on July 23-26.
The Katalingkasan Festival in Libon, Albay held on July 21-25 attributes the town’s main product, paroy or rice, for making their place as Albay’s rice granary. Through the longest tilapia and corn grill contests plus street parade, trade fairs, sports fest, celebration is also an occasion to remind everyone about the dauntless story of the town’s virgins who fought personal difficulties and family hardships in making the success of Libon today. Hence, the festival’s name ‘katalingkasan’ meaning freedom and rebirth.
Down south, the Padigosan Festival held on July 19 at the Rizal Park in Digos City, Davao del Sur is for its founding anniversary. Likewise in Davao del Norte, the Banana Festival celebrates the province’s founding by showcasing different kinds of bananas as a tribute to its number one export. Amid these festivities every third week of July is a unique advocacy festival. The Binuhat Festival of Tagum City in Davao del Norte recognizes the human rights and social contributions of the gay community in various fields and promotes the acceptance of their gender in society.
Up north, Baguio City is the center for a whole month of activities in commemoration of the creation of the Cordillera Administrative Region through learning tours, museum visits, cultural presentations, indigenous games, among others. Nearby in Central Luzon, the Gatas ng Kalabaw Festival of Cabanatuan City is celebrated every first week of the month. The festival promotes Nueva Ecija province as one of the sources for the ultra-nutritious milk of the carabao or water buffalo, the farmer’s best friend.
In Central Visayas, the Banig Festival of resort town Badian in Cebu will never be outlisted. Celebrated every July 19, the banig or colorful native mats, which are produced from sheared and woven pandan leaves, make every Badianganon proud and promotes their enduring culture and traditions.
The sturdy abaca cloth of the T’boli ethnic people of Lake Sebu in South Cotabato is the reason behind the holding of the Tinalak Festival. Celebrated every July 16 to 19, the festival’s important aspect is on the of tinalak cloth where the activities are product-centered and development-oriented.
The LIKHAP Festival of Pasig City is a competition and street dancing event held on July 2 at the Mariano Eusebio Quadrangle along Caruncho Avenue. As an acronym for Likhang-Kamay Handog sa Pasigueño, LIKHAP has a different theme for the age levels and sector of participation. For this year, the participants from the different barangays (villages) of the city are 40 years old and above and garbed in costumes reflecting the barangay’s identity.
The feast of Our Lady of Piat in Cagayan Valley culminates on the first and second days of July with holy masses, preceded by nine-day novenas and processions which started during the latter part of June. The people of Gamu in the neighboring province of Isabela likewise honor the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guibang at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Visitation on the same dates. These two wonderful celebrations for our Blessed Mother bring thousands of Marian devotees and religious pilgrims from different parts of the world.
The Pahinungod Festival of Carrascal, Surigao del Sur is on July 16 in honor of their patroness, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. The local people celebrates through a solemn religious procession and later with joyous street dancing.
The ancient and beautiful Church of Santa Ana in Molo, Iloilo will be the center of festivities on July 26 as devotees of St. Anne troop to this Ilonggo town. Down by the marshlands of the Caraga region, the Santa Anang Banak Taguig River Festival every 26th of July and the Abayan Festival of Butuan City on July 31 both honor and celebrate the feast of St. Anne, the patroness of the Agusan River. The festival is highlighted by baroto races and indigenous games by men, women and children. These are also part of the Tourism Consciousness Week capped by a week-long merriment until August 2 for Butuan’s Charter Day.
The first Sunday of July is the Bocaue River Festival. It pays tribute to the miraculous cross of Bocaue, fondly known as “Krus ng Wawa,” highlighted by the annual Pagoda procession where the devotees ride on a huge banca, which glides along the wide and deep Bocaue River in Bulacan.
On July 23, the people of Batangas City present a ritual dance which later became the Sublian Festival as a way of simple thanksgiving for the year’s bountiful farm harvest and their homage to the Holy Cross of Jesus Christ. On the same day, the Pakapya-Agtike Festival in Sicorro, Mindoro Oriental stages the townsfolk’s appreciation to its patron, the Holy Family with cultural shows and agricultural displays.
Two days later on July 25 in Cortes, Surigao del Norte, the Kadagatan Festival is also a thanksgiving feast of the Cortesanons through street dancing with colorful props and amazing costumes depicting the bountiful marine life.
Travel Expo and Culinary Events
The Cebu International Travel Expo (CITE) at the Waterfront Cebu City is on July 21-23 where over 8,000 travel trade buyers are expected to converge to network with the right suppliers for their own destinations.
On selected days for the whole month of July, the Kulinarya Festival and Kulinarya Food Trips in major Philippine cities and towns are held with buffet lunches and dinners in leading hotels and restaurants nationwide.
Truly, the month of July can energize everyone’s travel experience through these festivities with different flavors for all the senses which no tropical depression can stop.
For details, please log on to www.tourism.gov.ph and www.visitmyphilippines.com or contact DOT’s marketing arm, the Philippine Tourism Promotions Board with telephone numbers (02) 525-1255, 525-9318 locals 244 and 271.