AROUND THE PHILIPPINES, each region is known for its distinct cultures and traditions. The month of September is filled with numerous celebrations all around the country. Colorful parades and street dances fill the streets of various cities and towns. These festivals give us a glimpse into the character and heart of the Filipino people.
Aside from welcoming September through the dashing lights and catchy songs, we also celebrate the joyous events from different places. So, wear your festive clothes and bring your appetite as we embark on a journey across seven captivating festivals that define the month of September in the Philippines.
Peñafrancia Festival (Naga City)
Held in Naga City, the Peñafrancia Festival is one of the most significant festivals for those who solemnly practice Marian devotion. Our land of Peñafrancia, the patroness of Bicol, attracts millions of devotees all around the country. Celebrated every September 13-29, visitors also indulge themselves into the culinary and trade fairs, pageants, and parties held during this period.
The festival’s highlight is the fluvial procession which is considered as the most recognizable event. In which, the image of the Virgin Mary is paraded on a decorated pagoda along the Naga River. The image of Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia is then carefully placed on a boat filled with flowers, candles, and other religious decorations. The procession is observed by thousands of devotees who gather along the riverbanks to witness the event.
Dahunog sa Dipolog (Dipolog City)
Dahunog is a Cebuano word which translates to “a rumbling sound.” Held from September 26 to October 7, the city proudly showcases its talents through parades and competitions involving the city’s marching bands.
The festival lives up to its name as the city is filled with loud beats of drums and instruments.
Diyandi Festival (Ilagan City)
The Diyandi festival brings together the diverse cultural and religious groups of Ilagan. Held every September 27 to honor Saint Michael the Archangel, the festival celebrates the Higuanon indigenous people, Christians, and Muslim Maranaos. Festivities include street dances, Tableau competitions, and the crowning of Miss Ilagan.
One of the highlights of the celebration is Komedya de San Miguel. This significant tradition of Iligan is a yearly stage play that depicts the diversity and identity of the Iliganons through their culture.
Megayon Festival (Pagadian City)
In celebration of the province’s founding day, this weeklong celebration honors the province’s various cultural groups. It praises the solidarity between the three pioneers namely the Muslims, the Subanons, and the neighborhood pilgrims who greatly contributed to the establishment of Zamboanga del Sur.
The festival highlights the products and talents of the different municipalities in the province. The overall celebration of the Megayon Festival includes the unique fiestas found in the province municipalities celebrating their local festivals simultaneously.
Lapay Bantigue Dance Festival (Masbate City)
Celebrated along with Masbate City’s anniversary on the 30th of September, the Lapay Bantigue Dance Festival highlights the region’s traditional dance. Created by “Lola Felisa,” the traditional folk dance mimics the movements of the seagulls, called locally as lapay. The folk dance originated from the people of Barangay Bantigue who saw the abundance of seagulls flocking in the area.
The birds that hover in the area waiting for fish became a symbol of the simple everyday life lived by the fisher folk of the barangay.
Aurora Festival (Tan
ajay, Negros Oriental)
Celebrated in honor of San Roque, the patron saint of the sick, the activities done in this festival are organized by the 40 religious clans in the city who are devotees of the saint.
The festival includes novena prayers and religious services culminating in a procession along the Tanjay River. The celebration is witnessed by devotees on boats that bear the patron’s image. Others chose to see the activities along the banks of the river and bridges.
Bicol Food Festival (Naga City)
September also sees the entire Bicol region celebrate its unique and well-known cuisine. Known for featuring creamy coconut milk or gata and red chili peppers that give Bicolano food its distinct spiciness, the month-long celebration sees Bicolano chefs and restaurants embrace the region’s delicacies.
The festival focuses on the distinct food from the region, such as Bicol Express, pinanagat, laing, inolokan, tilmak, pecadillo, and cocido.
September in the Philippines is a testament to the festival’s charm and unique appeal. From religious celebrations, such as the Peñafrancia festival, to celebrating cultural heritage in the Diyandi and Megayon festivals, each celebration offers a unique way to celebrate and unite the rich histories of the archipelago. So, remember to dive into the depths of these September festivals and experience the rich heritage of our country.
(with Mika Isidro)