Philippines: Holidays, Events, and National Customs
There are a number of public holidays that do not have a fixed date, but are based on the location of Easter. Easter takes place on the first Sunday that follows the first full moon after the beginning of spring. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, which ends on Holy Saturday, is 46 days before Holy Saturday. The date for Pentecost is then 50 days after Easter. The Corpus Christi festival is celebrated on the 2nd Thursday after Pentecost. All Saints’ Day is celebrated for Orthodox Christians on the 1st Sunday after Pentecost, but for Catholic Christians the date is fixed on November 1st. On October 31, Protestants celebrate Reformation Day. The Halloween festival also takes place on this day.
|January 1||New Year|
|February 24||Edsa Revolution Day|
|March April||Easter including Good Friday|
|1st of May||Labor Day|
|June 12||Independence day|
|Last Sunday in August||National Heroes Day|
|November 1||All Saints Day|
|30th of November||Bonifacius Day|
|30th of December||Rizal day|
- January 13th – 19th – Ati Atihan Festival in Kalobo on AklanThe festival commemorates a treaty in the 13th century that ten chiefs from Borneo had signed with King Ati Marikuo. The festival is also celebrated in other parts of the country.
- January 18th – 19th – Sinulog Festival in Cebu CityThe festival is one of the highest festivals of the year. One moves through the city dancing, among other things.
- January 25th – 16th – Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo CityPeople move through the streets with music and costumes.
- February 23rd – March 3rd – Panagbenga Baguio Flower Festival
- February 28 – March 1 – Kaamulan in Malaybalay, BukidnonThe street festival is celebrated with dances, music and food and street stalls.
- February 13-20 – Moriones in Marindugue
- April 16-19 – Cutud Lent in San Fernando, Pampanga
- May 11th – 15th – Pahiyas Mayon/Agawan in QuezonThe festival is celebrated in order to initiate the most productive harvest possible.
- May – Flowers of Corn in Santa Cruz and the rest of the countryParades commemorate the discovery of the Christian cross by Queen Helena and Constantine.
- June 24th – Mudpack Festival in Murcia, Negros OccidentalThe dancers on the parade wear almost nothing but “mud paint”.
- June 15-24 – Pinyahan Sa Daet ind Daet, Camarines NorteFestival of PineapplesThe festival is celebrated with dances and street stalls.
- June 24th – Parada Ng Lechon in Balayan, BatangasIt is celebrated in honor of St. John the Baptist. Much water is shed to commemorate the ritual of baptism.
- June 29th – Tacloban Pintados Festival in Tacloban City Localresidents paint their bodies to commemorate the ancient warriors who wore facial tattoos.
- July 25th – Kinabayo Festival in Dapitan CityThe Spanish and Islamic clashes are remembered, the Battle of Covadonga.
- August 20-24 – Kadayawan sa Dabaw in Dabao CityThe festival lasts for a week. And is celebrated with colorful ethnic dances.
- September 9th – Bonok-Bonok Festival in Surigao CityStreet dances tie in with the old tribal cultures.
- September 20th – Panafrancia viva la VirgenThe religious festival lasts nine days and culminates in a procession to the sea.
- October 10-12 – Zamboanga Hermosa Festival in Zanboanga CityThe city of flowers celebrates the festival with a regatta with boats decorated with flowers.
- October 14-21 – Massakra Festival in Bacolod City Dressed inmasks and costumes, people dance through the streets of the city.
The yoyo game was invented in the Philippines in the 16th century.
From March to May the climate in the Philippines is hot and dry.
From June to February it rains very often.
On average, the temperatures on the islands are between 25 °C and 32 °C. The air humidity is on average 75 to 80%.
The best time to travel to the Philippines is outside of the typhoon season, which runs from around September to May.
However, you should avoid the time around Christmas and New Year’s Eve, as well as Easter week. Many Filipinos working overseas return home and it is difficult to find a place to stay.
The Philippines can be divided into four different climate zones with very different climates and weather
Climate zone type 1
Here there is a rather dry phase from November to April, in the rest of the year there is more rainfall.
This climatic zone includes Manila and large parts of Palawan and Mindoro.
Climate zone type 2 The climate
here is almost the opposite of zone type 1. From November to April there is more rainfall, although there is no typical dry season.
This climatic zone includes the east of Samar and Leyte as well as Siargao and in principle also Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur.
Climatic zone type 3
This climatic zone can be compared to type 1, but with the difference that there are no great differences between the “summer time” and the “rainy season”.
Large parts of Panay, Negros and Cebu belong to this climatic zone – including the islands of Boracay, Romblon and Cebu.
Climatic zone type 4
Here the seasonal differences are quite small, which means that the precipitation is distributed relatively regularly over the year.
This climatic zone includes the Sierra Madre in the north, parts of the Bicol region, Westsamar and Westleyte as well as Bohol – and thus also Bantayan, Malapascua and Camotes.
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Presents the way that PH stands for the nation of Philippines as a two-letter acronym.
A detailed description of Manila, the capital of the Philippines – can be found here >>>
The city is located in the metropolitan area of Manila on the main island of Luzón and has around 2.7 million residents
The city is located in the metropolitan area of Manila on the main island of Luzón and has around 1.4 million residents
The city is located in the metropolitan region of Davao on the island of Mindanao and has a little less than 1.4 million residents.
The city is located in the province of Cebu on the island of the same name and has around 800,000 residents
The city with a population of 310,000 is located on the island of Mindanao. It is often referred to as the “City of Majestic Waterfalls” because there are more than 20 waterfalls in its area, including Maria Cristina Falls with the largest hydroelectric power station in Mindanao. The “Limunsudan Falls”, a little more than 50 km away from Iligan, with a height of 265 m – over two cascades – belong to the “Aliwagwag Falls” in the Davao Oriental province, also located on Mindanao, after the several cascades, the second highest waterfall in the Philippines and one of the highest in Asia
The city with around 260,000 residents on the island of Luzon – around 80 km south of Manila – is also known as the Rome of the Phlippinen, because of its large number of seminars, convents, monasteries and the famous cathedral.
Special buildings and structures
The Magat Dam is currently one of Asia’s largest dam projects. It is used for energy generation and irrigation.
Magapit suspension bridge
The Magapit suspension bridge was the first of its kind in Asia. It spans the Cagayan River in Lallo and is around 760 m long.
San Juanico Bridge
The San Juanico Bridge – formerly called Marcos Bridge – spans the San Juanico Strait, a waterway that separates the islands of Samar and Leyte.
The bridge connects the city of Tacloban City on the island of Leyte with the municipality of Santa Rita on Samar.
The bridge was designed by the engineer Arvin Valderrama with the help of Christian Meynard Baral and is now one of the longest bridges in Southeast Asia.
It has a total length of 2.16 km. The maximum clearance for ships is 41 m. After around four years of construction, it was inaugurated during the tenure of President Ferdinand Marcos (1917-1989).
The bridge is part of the Pan-Philippine Strait, which extends from northern Luzon via Manila, Legazpi City, Tacloban City down to Davao City and Zamboanga City in southwest Mindanao.
These rock paintings are around 3,000 years old and are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. They also represent the oldest works of art in the Philippines.
Four late 16th century Baroque churches are in Manila, Santa Maria and Miang-ao.
The interpretation of the baroque by the Chinese and the Philippines is unique.
With the Catholic Church, which expanded its missionary activities in the Philippines, the baroque style came into the country towards the end of the 16th century.
Cathedral The cathedral has seen and survived many catastrophes. It was built in 1581, but was destroyed by an earthquake in 1582. Newly built and repeatedly brought down by earthquakes – for example in 1600, 1645 and 1863. As a result of the fighting between the Japanese and US troops, the church was again badly damaged and rebuilt. Today’s church looks unadorned and has something of a bunker, as if it should now stand for all time.
In Manila within the fortress city Intramuros the church of St. Augustin is located. The church was built in 1599 and is the oldest stone church in the Philippines. A handful of colonial houses in the city have been lovingly restored. The old Spanish fort, which was named after their national saint, Santiago, is clearly in the European style. In one of the cells of the fort sat the national hero of the Philippines – José Rizal – who was executed near by the Spanish in 1896.
La Asuncion, San Agustin, Santo Tomas
Other important churches are: La Asuncion in Santa Maria, San Agustin in Paoay and Santo Tomas in Miag-ao.
Basilica of St. Martin
The Basilica of St. Martin in Taal (Batangas) was built by missionaries in 1572. It is said to be the largest Catholic Church in East Asia.
Basilica of San Sebastian
The Basilica of San Sebastian is the only steel church in Asia. After the Eiffel Tower, it was the second building to be made of steel.
St Paul’s Cathedral in Vigan
This three-aisled church from 1790-1800 was built by Augustinian monks. In the style of the “earthquake baroque”. The building also shows influences from China, especially in the stonemasonry.
An octagonal bell tower is about 10 m south of the church.
Special natural beauties
St. Paul National Park
The national park represents one of the largest systems of underground rivers in the world. It is located in the province of Palawan near Puerto Princessa and is registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The cave is the largest karst formation in the Philippines, it is approx. 2,968 hectares = 29.68 km² and consists of twelve chambers.
Camiguin Province Volcanoes
This region has the most volcanoes with seven.
The fishing town of Donsol is visited by whale sharks from November to May.
The rice terraces of the Ifugao
The rice terraces are located in the mountain range of the Cordilleras on the island of Luzon. Since 1995 they have been registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Particularly impressive are hikes through the rice fields, which were established around 2,000 years ago by the Ifugao ethnic group, who are said to come from Indonesia.
At an altitude of approx. 1,600 m, the traditional rice varieties are laboriously grown on small plots. The fields are criss-crossed by intricate systems of canals and bamboo tubes. Once a year it is harvested. Due to the laborious cultivation, the rice terraces are threatened with abandonment. This beautiful cultural landscape is in danger of disappearing.
Apo Reef and Tubbataha Coral Reef
The reefs are excellent dive sites. The Tubbataha Reef, located about 200 km east of Palawan, is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Northern Sierra Madre National Park
This approximately 200,000 hectare = 2,000 km² national park is located in northern Luzon.
Mt. Isarog National Park
The park in Mondoro still has a lot of grassland (“tamaraw”).
Mt. Guiting, Guiting National Park
The park on the island of Sibuyan contains about 16,000 hectares = 160 km² of forest and the volcano of the same name with a height of 2,058 m.
Coron National Park
The national park on Coron Island is a fantastic diving area.
El Nido Marine Reserve
The reserve is located in northern Palawan and has wonderful beaches and diving spots.
The 10.3 km² holiday island Boracay is famous for its dream beaches. Boracay was closed in April 2018 due to extreme pollution and only reopened after six months.
Since then, a maximum of around 19,000 tourists have been allowed to stay on the holiday island at the same time in order to prevent further damage. Boracay is only 750 m from the 12,297 km² island of Panay.
Mount Hamiguitan Nature Reserve The Mount Hamiguitan
Nature Reserve is located in the Davao Oriental province on the Pacific Ocean. The height of the mountain is 1,620 m. The rivers Bitao-gan, Dumagooc and Manua have their source in the mountains.
The entire area around the mountain covers an area of approx. 6,000 ha = 60 km².
The area comprises five vegetation zones:
– the coastal area, the agro-ecosystem (60 m – 4 00 m),
– the mountain flora (400 m – 990 m),
– the moss area (900 m – 1,150 m) and
– the pygmy forest 1,150 m – 1,200 m).
The area is rich in species of animals and plants. You can find rare pitcher plants here – such as the endemic Nepenthes peltata, tea trees. Conifers up to 30 m high, endemic pitcher plants and much more. There are unique “pygmy forests” – the growth of trees is hindered by the dry soil. Endemic myrtle plants grow here.
The Philippine eagle, also known as the monkey eagle, is a large species of bird and is native here, as are many other rare and endangered bird species, around 10 bird species are endemic.
Endemic mammals are also at home here and three types of pustular pigs live here. These pigs belong to the “real” pigs (Suidae).
They have a long hair growth reaching down to the lower back. Their “pustules” distributed in the snout are characteristic.
The hair-tail rats are also endemic. Its name comes from its long, bushy tail. This species only lives at about 900 m altitude and was first described in 2006.
The Mount Hamiguitan nature reserve was added to the list of UNESCO World Natural Heritage Sites in 2014.
Bohol, Panglao and Pamilacan
On the islands of Bohol, Panglao and Pamilacan you will find volcanoes as well as wonderful white beaches and that on a silvery-blue-green sea.
After the completion of the new airport on Pangalo in December 2018, the old Tagbilaran airport on Bohol had had its day.
The 3,865 km² island of Bohaol belongs to the 4,117 km² large province of Bohol within the Visayas archipelago with the capital Taglibaran. Together with the two archipelagos Luzon in the north and Mindanao in the south, the archipelago forms the state of the Philippines, made up of around 7,640 islands.
On Bohal, the legendary Chocolate Hills in the middle of the island are particularly worth seeing.
The roughly 1,270 cones are overgrown with grass and turn a brown shade during the dry season, making them look like chocolate is poured over them in April and May. The hills adorn the seal and flag of the province. The cones were formed when an undersea volcano threw chunks of stone covered in limestone into the air. Much more romantic, on the other hand, is the legend that two giants got into an argument and pelted each other with large stones.
Not far from the old airport you will find the first and so far only chocolate factory in the Philippines, including a modern sales and showroom. The founder said that cocoa beans grow in abundance here, but that there has not yet been the knowledge to process them into chocolate. She herself had trained as a chocolatiére in Belgium and is now doing a brilliant business with the delicacies
Panglao covers an area of around 99 km² and belongs to the Bohol Province in the Visayas archipelago. The island is connected to the provincial capital Tagbilaran on the island of Bohol via two bridges. Due to the increasing number of tourists, numerous hotel complexes have been built in recent years. The beaches Alona Beach, Danao Beach and Dumaluan Beach are particularly popular. The Hinagdanan Grotto with its underground lake on the north coast of the island is well worth a visit.
As far as one can see, white palm-fringed beaches stretch out. To keep it that way, the local hoteliers have made sure that no resort or hotel may be built higher than six floors.
Pamilican with an area of 150 ha = 1.5 km² is located south of the island of Bohol. Here divers and snorkelers will find one of the most biodiverse waters in the world, including green turtles, reef sharks, anemones, corals and many colorful fish. The approximately 2,000 residents of the island used to make a living from whaling. Since it was banned in 1992, many of them have been active as “reef rangers and guides” for tourists, thereby protecting the coral reef at the same time.
Unsco World Heritage Sites
Baroque churches in Manila, Santa Maria, Paoay and Miagao
Spanish conquerors built the former settlement under the command of Martin de Goiti, which was later officially awarded to the Spanish crown. Churches were built there in the 16th and 17th centuries. The churches combine European baroque with Chinese and Filipino elements. The baroque churches were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1993.
Tubbataha Reef Nature Park The Tubbataha
coral reef covers 33,200 ha = 332 km². It consists of a north and a south reef. A wide variety of birds nest on the northern reef and sea turtles live in the lagoons. The northern atoll is approx. 16 km long and max. 4.5 km wide. The southern and triangular atoll is approx. 5 km long and max. 3 km wide.
The atolls are separated by an 8 km wide channel. The shallow lagoons lie between the two atolls. The Tubbataha Reef Nature Park was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1993 and expanded in 2009
Rice terraces in the Filipino Cordillera
The rice terraces in the Filipino Cordillera are dated to an age of approx. 2,000 years. A peasant people from Indonesia built these rice plants. The water is directed to the rice terraces through a network of canals, bamboo pipes and ditches. The rice terraces were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1995
National Park Underground River at Puerto-Princesa
Puerto Princesa is the capital of Palawan and the fifth largest island in the Philippines. The island separates the South China Sea from the Sulu Sea.
The underground Cabayugan River near Puerto-Princesa flows into the sea, its lower course has ebb and flow. It is 8.2 kilometers long, runs through the St. Paul’s cave system and can be accessed by boat. The highest point is 65 m. There are numerous bats in the cave system with the halls, the stalactites and stalagmites. The national park has an area of about 5,753 ha. It extends from the mountains to the sea.
The park is home to the most important ecosystem in Asia, around 100 species of birds live here and some of them are endemic such as B. the Palawan hornbill. During breeding, the female Palawan hornbill is walled up by the male bird in the cave in which she laid the eggs. There is only a tiny opening as a hatch for food. Around 800 species of plants and 300 species of trees grow in the park.
The Underground River National Park was added to the list of UNESCO World Natural Heritage Sites in 1999
Vigan – historic city center
The name Vigo is derived from the name “Bigo”, a large taro plant that grows on the banks of the Mestizo River. It is located in the northwest of the island of Luzon. Vigan is the only colonial city in the Philippines that was not destroyed during World War II.
The city layout, the architecture, the mixture of Asian and European elements represent a special charm of the city. The city is an example of a European trading city in Southeast Asia with trading houses, a cathedral and a bishopric. It was built by the Spaniards based on the Mexican model. The city was a stopover on the trade route across the Pacific to Acapulco in Mexico. In 1999 the historic city center was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
- Calle CrisologoThe street is in the center of the Mestizzen district and is lined with old Vigan houses built from pebbles. Today there are shops on the ground floors where you can buy old furniture
- Plaza SalcedoIn 1641 St. Paul’s Cathedral was destroyed in an earthquake. It was rebuilt in the “earthquake baroque” and is the oldest church in the Philippines. The square is west of the cathedral (see below). On it is the Juan de Salcedo monument from the 17th century. The square and church are in Vigan, which is on the west coast of the island of Luzon – on the South China Sea.
The Filipinos are very religious but also superstitious people.
The following legend from the main island of Luzon reflects a little of its character and dreams:
“A long time ago there was a village in the north of Luzon that was as beautiful as the Garden of Eden. But the residents had turned away from God and lived in sin. Juan and Maria, a young, pious and in love, also lived in the village Farmer couple.
One day an angel appeared and warned the two of them. That was for people to repent and return to godly lives. If this doesn’t happen, everyone will perish. The two passed on this divine warning, but they were not listened to – on the contrary, they were even mocked.
Shortly afterwards, the angel reappeared and asked the two to flee, which they did. And God opened the gates of heaven so that the village and all its living beings perished in the floods. But when Maria turned around, she froze into a stone column that can be admired today on the shores of Lake Paoya. ”