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Philippines Events

Rodeo Masbateño

The annual rodeo sees cowboys and cowgirls (as well as students, government workers and others) travel to the provincial capital of Masbate Island to participate in bull-riding and other tests of skill. Even spectators have a chance of winning, with several cows given away as raffle prizes during the festival.


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Sakay-Sakay Abayan (Fluvial Procession)

Held each year on the 1 June, Sakay-Sakay Abayan honours Virgen dela Paz Y Buen Viaje, the patron saint of Bilang-Bilang. During the celebrations, beautifully-adorned boats parade along the water front bringing health and good fortune to devotees.


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Moriones Festival

The annual Moriones Festival is a week-long religious event that begins on Holy Monday and ends on Easter Sunday. It is one of the most colourful events in the Philippines and sees participants re-enact the story of Longinus, a Roman centurion who, it is said, speared the crucified body of Jesus Christ. Legend has it that the blood which flowed from Christ’s body landed in Longinus’ bad eye, curing him of blindness. This miracle caused him to convert to Christianity and he was consequently hunted by his fellow centurions. This part of the story is dramatically retold by costumed participants, the Romans wearing huge painted masks depicting fearsome faces. The performances take place in various locations throughout the island of Marinduque.


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Lanzones Festival

One of many Filipino festivals celebrating an important local product, in this case lanzones (a small oval fruit with pale brown skin and juicy translucent flesh). The festival includes street dancing, cultural shows and (as always in the Philippines) a beauty pageant.


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Kuraldal

Held during the same week as the Sasmuan town fiesta, Kuraldal is a huge religious festival that attracts Christian devotees from across the region. It takes place at the chapel of St Lucy, with participants taking part in a series of impassioned dances that begin in the evening and last through until well after midnight. It is said that on this night God grants the wishes of the dancers and many associate the event with fertility as it’s believed infertile women are able to fall pregnant after the event.


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Ati-Atihan Festival

A mix of Catholic ritual and rum-fuelled partying, the Ati-Atihan commemorates the first contact between Malay settlers and the indigenous tribes of the islands which now form the Philippines. Representatives of local tribes aim to outdo each other with flamboyant costumes, as they parade through the streets accompanied by dozens of marching bands.


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Philippine Independence Day Celebration

Each year on 12 June, the Philippines celebrates the date in 1898 when it attained independence from 300 years of Spanish rule. According to the history books, it was on this date that General Emilio Aguinaldo raised the Filipino flag from his balcony and called the people to take up arms against their colonisers. The day is marked with ceremonies, memorial events and historic exhibitions.


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Good Friday Crucifixion Re-enactment

Each Easter the town of Guagua in the Pampanga region stages a re-enactment of Christ’s crucifixion. Approximately 10 people take part each year and are flogged as they make their way through the streets before being nailed to a cross. A mixture of Roman Catholic and more primitive beliefs, the event is a bloody and rather gruesome spectacle that none-the-less always attracts huge crowds of locals and curious tourists. Although not encouraged by the church itself, this and other crucifixion events take place each Easter in various towns and cities around this predominantly Roman Catholic country.


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Grand Marian procession

One of the capital’s most impressive spectacles, this festival sees a parade of carriages carrying statues of the Virgin Mary through Manila’s historical heart. It starts in the late afternoon, and the illumination of the carriages once night falls adds to the atmosphere.


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