It took me 12 years before I stepped my foot on back to the island of province of Catanduanes. And what better time than in the midst of their festivities. The 2018 Abaca Festival is on their 3rd year. The month long celebration aims to showcase their native abaca fiber or Manila hemp which is one of the main products of the province and source of livelihood. The month-long festival have pockets of activity culminating towards the 4th week of May. One of the much awaited is the Bicol Festival of Festivals Showdown where contingents from Bicol region participate in a dance showdown. A colorful revelry with heart pounding beats and awe-inspiring performance. An exciting return to what is now known as the Happy Island!
September in Iligan City is the month-long celebration of the Dyandi Festival. Originally a rite performed by the Dumagats, Maranaos and the Higaonons to pay homage to their patron saint, Saint Michael. It’s a multi-cultural celebration passed through generations now practiced by Christians, Muslims and the natives. It was in 2004 when the city established the Dyandi Festival as their tourism identity. Among the highlight of this month-long revelry is the Kasadya Streetdancing Competition.
With 18 different indigenous groups living in the valleys and mountain regions of Nueva Vizcaya, it is so fitting to use the native Gaddang word “Ammungan” as the province’s festival title. It is also an Iluko word from “ummungan” which is commonly understood by the different ethnic tribes which means “to gather together”. Last week from May 21-24, 2014, the Ammungan Festival 2014 was celebrated and one of the highlights of this 4-day revelry was the Street Dancing Parade and Competition. 10 out of the 15 municipalities gathered together in Solano to showcase the uniqueness of their hometown and the characteristics of their people through music, costumes and dance.
“Aliwan” is a tagalog word which means to amuse or entertain. A term fitting for this so-called “Mother of Festivals” called Aliwan Fiesta, running annually in Manila for 10 years (since 2003) which aims to gather some of the best festivals in the country and present them in one place. An ambitious task but successfully realized by Manila Broadcasting Company (MBC) and Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). Maybe it’s the cheery and festive nature of Filipinos that made it successful every year.