Metro Manila · Highlights 2016
Are you ready for 2016? If you are spending the year in Manila and in different parts of the Philippines, take a look at the holidays, festivals, events, and concerts coming to the country this year.
Every year, like in any Megacity, there are events that Megacitizens look forward to. This includes festivals in the metro and other places in the country, concerts, holidays and long weekends one can look forward to.
January kicks it off with a vibrant New Year’s Eve celebration in different parts of the metro and the rest of the Philippines. The party is not over though because there are more festivals to go to that are unique to the Philippines and a number of foreign concerts too in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.
FESTIVALS AND SPECIAL EVENTS FOR JANUARY 2016
Every year, devotees coming from different parts of the country flock to the Philippine capital to see the black Nazarene. This religious festival is a spectacle for many because of the hordes of devotees who follow the procession. On this day, the streets of Quiapo and the rest of Manila are more congested than usual.
3rd Sunday of January – SINULOG FESTIVAL, Cebu City
On the 3rd Sunday of the month, Megacitizens who would like to see more of the country can fly to Cebu to join the Sinulog Festival. This festival makes the streets of the southern city come alive with ritualistic dances inspired by the Cebu River’s flow. It showcases the longest festival parade in the country.
4th Sunday of January – DINAGYANG FESTIVAL, Iloilo City
Dinagyang is perhaps the most exciting cultural spectacle in the Philippines. This is a religious festival but speaks so much about Iloilo’s unique culture. It involves a lot of merrymaking and dancing.
January 14: Red Jumpsuit Apparatus Live in Manila, SM Fairview
January 15: Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Skydome
January 19: Nate Rues Live in Manila, Kia Theatre
January 20: Chicago Live in Manila, Smart Araneta Coliseum
January 23 – 24: Exo Live in Manila, Mall of Asia Arena
January 28: Neck Deep Live in Manila, Skydome
January 30: The Vamps, Before You Exit & The Tide Live in Manila, Mall of Asia Arena
The weather during February is much like December and January which Lonely Planet describes as among the coolest and most pleasant months in the Philippines.
FESTIVALS AND SPECIAL EVENTS FOR FEBRUARY 2016
February 1: PANAGBENGA, Baguio City
Panagbenga, the name of the festival, is reminiscent of the cultural influences from other Southeast Asian countries. The word, according to locals, translates to “the season of bloom”.
2nd week of February, usually ends on Valentine’s Day: UP FAIR, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City
This is a week-long fair complete with concerts each night coupled with food and beverages sold at stalls inside the venue. The date for this year's UP Fair held at the Sunken Garden in the University of the Philippines’ Diliman campus has yet to be announced.
Every 2nd Week of February: HOT AIR BALLOON FESTIVAL, Clark Freeport Zone, Angeles City, Pampanga
The Hot Air Balloon Festival is deemed as the biggest aviation sports spectacle in the country. Aside from hot air balloons, the festival also features flag jumps, rocketry demos, small plane fly-bys and fly-ins, skydiving, remote-control airplane, and helicopter flying exhibitions, aerobatics, and much more.
February 8: CHINESE NEW YEAR, All Chinese Communities In The Philippines
The Philippines has the oldest Chinatown in the world but aside from this Chinatown, there are other Chinese communities in the country.
February 14: VALENTINE'S DAY
February 6 – 8 (Saturday to Monday)
February 25 – 28 (Thursday to Sunday)
February 10: Dan Hill Live in Manila, Newport Performing Arts Theatre
February 13: The World Famous Platters Live in Manila, Theatre at Soliare Resorts
February 13: The Circus Band and New Minstrels, Kia Theatre
February 13: Sungha Jung Live in Manila, Newport Performing Arts Theatre
February 14: Dennis Lambert & Joey Albert, Theatre at Solaire Resorts
February 16: Boyce Avenue Live in Manila, Smart Araneta Coliseum
February 24 – 25: Madonna Live in Manila, Mall of Asia Arena
February 22: Russell Peters Live in Manila, Kia Theatre
The end of March in the Philippines is deemed as the beginning of summer for many schoolchildren but it’s not just the vacation from school that makes this relatively hot month quite special. There are a number of activities and festivities one can go to in different parts of the country and inside the Megacity.
FESTIVALS AND SPECIAL EVENTS FOR MARCH 2016
March 18: STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL, La Trinidad, Benguet
If you are craving for strawberries and want to get away from the heat, going to the mountainous region is a great idea. The festival showcases lots of strawberries in different forms – from strawberry shortcakes, jams, and everything in between.
March 24 – 27 (Thursday to Sunday) – Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Black Saturday
March 3: Christ Botti & Sting Live in Manila, Marriott Manila Grand Ballroom
March 12: 5 Seconds of Summer Live in Manila, Mall of Asia Arena
March 12: Richard Marx Live in Manila, Kia Theatre
March 19: Beast Live in Manila, Smart Araneta Coliseum
April is often very hot in the Megacity. Here is what you can look forward to this month.
FESTIVALS AND SPECIAL EVENTS FOR APRIL
April 9: Araw ng Kagitingan
The day of valor, as one would translate it, is a holiday for the whole of the country to commemorate all the brave souls who fought for the country’s freedom.
April 2: Tom Jones Live in Manila, Smart Araneta Coliseum
April 9: Like The Movies and Braiden Wood Live in Manila, Skydome
April 9: paradise International Music Festival: Kanye West, Aseana City
May is literally filled with lots of flowers thanks to the Santacruzan festivities of different towns allover the country. You will see parades of men and women dressed in traditional clothing under arcs of flowers being carried by parade participants. Also known as Flores de Mayo, this event is celebrated in the country the whole month long. The Presidential Election will be held nationwide so aside from the flowers, you will see banners and parades of politicians in the local and national scene.
May 9: PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
Scheduled on a Monday, Filipinos will be casting their ballots to elect their chosen candidates for President and Vice President.
FESTIVALS AND SPECIAL EVENTS FOR MAY
May 15: PAHIYAS FESTIVAL, Lucban, Quezon Province
Aside from the Santacruzan, Megacitizens can look forward to the Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Quezon. Every year, on the 15th of May, people who live Lucban, Quezon celebrate their bountiful harvest through decorating their homes with different kinds of crops. Because Quezon is a staunchly Catholic area in the Philippines, the festival also includes the re-enactment of the death of Jesus Christ.
May 12: Of Monsters And Men Live in Manila, World Trade Center
May 20: Little Mix Live in Manila, Kia Theatre
June is the official start of the rainy season in the Philippines but because of weather changes, sometimes it no longer rains in June. This is also the month that many kids are excited about because it is the start of classes. If you are shopping in any bookstore this time of year, expect a horde of parents with their kids in tow, buying notebooks and other school paraphernalia.
FESTIVALS AND SPECIAL EVENTS FOR JUNE
June 12: INDEPENDENCE DAY, Allover the Philippines
Independence Day in the country is often celebrated by placing the Philippine flag in front of homes. There are some concerts and festivities in some areas in the Metro.
June 29: PINTADOS-KASADYAAN FESTIVAL, Tacloban, Leyte
This is a cultural and religious spectacle in remembrance of the tattooed warriors of the area. In 1986, the people of Tacloban organised a festival.
July comes with a number of activities for many Filipinos. It also has two long weekends thanks to Eid’l Fitr and National Heroes Day.
FESTIVALS AND SPECIAL EVENTS FOR JULY
Whole month or last week of August: SANDUGO FESTIVAL Tagbilaran City, Bohol
The Sandugo Festival commemorates the blood compact between a local chieftain and a Spanish conquistador.
August 29: NATIONAL HEROES DAY, Allover the Philippines
July 7 – 10 Eid’l Fitr (Thursday to Sunday)
August 27 – 29 (Saturday to Monday)
September will literally be a quiet month for most Filipinos because there are not many festivities during this time of year. However, there is a long weekend to look forward to. It is the start of the “ber” months though so you might already see some pre-Christmas sales in some areas.
FESTIVALS AND SPECIAL EVENTS FOR SEPTEMBER
Eidul Adha September 10 – 13 (Saturday to Tuesday)
FESTIVALS AND SPECIAL EVENTS FOR OCTOBER
October 25 – 31: IBALONG FESTIVAL, Legazpi City, Albay
The festival is a cultural celebration in Legazpi City. This week-long event includes a sychronised dance parade on Legazpi’s streets.
3rd weekend of October: MASSKARA FESTIVAL, Bacolod City
This is a celebration of the city’s charter anniversary. The streets of Bacolod come alive with parades of people wearing colourful masks.
October 29 – 31 (Saturday to Monday)
The start of November is All Saints Day where people flock to cemeteries to visit loved ones who passed away.
FESTIVALS AND SPECIAL EVENTS FOR NOVEMBER
November 1: ALL SAINTS DAY, Allover the Philippines
All Saints Day is a special non-working holiday in the Philippines. This day is reserved for cemetery and graveyard visits.
November 30: BONIFACIO DAY, Allover the Philippines
Andres Bonifacio is a Philippine revolutionary hero. His birthday is a national holiday.
The start of December is a busy time of the year in the Megacity. And once Christmas shopping starts, it will likely be difficult to get a cab going to and from the malls. The festivities are vibrant both in the capital and the Philippine provinces. Expect Christmas songs to be played just about everywhere and once everyone is in that holiday mood, it is likely that you will get invites to a number of gatherings and parties.
FESTIVALS AND SPECIAL EVENTS FOR DECEMBER
Second Week of December: UP LANTERN PARADE, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City
The UP Lantern parade showcases beautifully-designed and rather huge lanterns in celebration of the Christmas season.
December 16 – 24: MISA DE GALLO, All Catholic Churches In The Philippines
Misa de Gallo is a series of masses held in Catholic Churches around the country. To some devotees, attending all of these masses will result to the granting of one wish.
December 24: CHRISTMAS EVE
During Christmas Eve, families come together for dinner usually served at the stroke of midnight.
December 25: CHRISTMAS DAY
For more information about festivals in the Philippines, take a look at this link.
It will give you a more detailed calendar if you would like to attend every fiesta in the country.