Festivals in the Philippines | January
In the past, even before we could breathe from the longest celebration of Christmas in the world, festivals in the Philippines immediately roll in. The feasts of the Black Nazarene & Sto. Nino used to usher the start of non-stop fiestas across the country throughout the year had the pandemic not happened.
Yes, Filipinos love to celebrate & nothing’s happier than kicking in all the fun as soon as year starts. We have fiestas for every saint, every harvest & all the reasons there are to party! And it happens everyday across every island.
Let’s look back at the festivals in the Philippines in January
Let’s start our new year of Philippine festivals a lot different this time. Go virtual as we celebrate the best festivals in the Philippines in January.
FEAST OF THE BLACK NAZARENE
Quiapo, one of Manila’s busiest commercial districts comes to an even tighter space during the feast of Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno. In fact, it is hailed as the biggest religious festival in the country gathering millions of devotees.
Every January 9, the miraculous Black Nazarene parades from his shrine in Basilica Minore de Jesus Nazareno in Quiapo. A sea of barefooted disciples, carries the statue in penance & prayer throughout the 7-kilometer parade route.
3rd Sunday of January
Cebu City is home to the grandest celebration of Sto. Nino. Sinulog is a prayer-dance ritual exalting the Child Jesus. This weeklong festivity was once packed with events such as the grand procession & street dancing parades as the most anticipated galas.
Also, the Queen City of the South becomes the epicenter of massive merrymaking in the Philippines during the Sinulog. Maddening parties, concerts, exhibits as well as mallwide sale are staged for the millions of tourists that flock to Cebu.
3rd Sunday of January
The list of festivals in the Philippines wouldn’t be complete without Ati-Atihan Festival. Touted as the Mother of All Philippine Festivals & the longest running one since the 13th century.
Ati-Atihan means to look like “ati”, the dark & curly haired original inhabitants of the island. Soon, if you want a celebration that’s true to its origin, come to Kalibo, Aklan.
4th Sunday of January
Just like Cebu & Kalibo, the prosperous city of Iloilo celebrates their acceptance of Christianity through the image of the Infant Jesus. In a grand mardi gras dubbed as Dinagyang Festival, Ilonggos gather to rejoice faith & culture.
Indeed, most tourists make Iloilo their January-ender destination because everything here at this time is nothing short of the word spectacular!
VIGAN FIESTA & LONGGANISA FESTIVAL
Up north in the historic city of Vigan is a hodge-podge of celebrations all happening on the week of January 25. The city celebrates its reverence to St. Paul the Apostle & its widely adored delicacy, the longganisa.
During this time before Covid, the cobblestone streets of Vigan were flooded with parading dancers, musicians, decorated calesas & huge floats.
4th Week of January
Apribada Festival in Donsol, Sorsogon celebrates the bounty of its seas with butanding or whalesharks as its main attraction. Infused with their Bicolano traditions, street as well as fluvial parades were staged to express their most prized charms.
Apribada also signals the beginning of butanding-sighting season.
3rd Week of January
Midsayap in North Cotabato is the seat of the biggest Sto. Nino fiesta in Mindanao. Unknown to many, this small town is home to many great festival dancers. They have won in various big festivals like Sinulog & Aliwan.
4th Week of January
Pangasinan is known for the Hundred Islands & its flavourful fish paste called “bagoong”. In Lingayen, Bagoong Festival is celebrated to showcase its unparalleled condiment, a favorite dipping sauce on every Filipino table.
This is yet January & the festivals in the Philippines used to roll like there’s no tomorrow. But all we could do for now is to reminisce that once wherever we went, there was always a place for us to shout, Viva Senor, Pit Senor or Hala Bira! Truly, there was always a party, a street parade & a grand chow time for everyone!