Best of the Islands Philippines
Feasts & Festivals
Palo’s Holy Week Traditions
(Good Friday; Palo, Leyte)
Palo, Leyte was declared in the Diocesan Synod of 1910 as a center of faith and religiousity in Eastern Visayas. Oldest of Palo’s Holy Week traditions is the Penitentes, a penitential fraternity of cassocked, barefoot, and hooded members organized by Fray Pantaleon de le Fuente, OFM in 1984 supposedly to replace the flagellants, fanatics who whipped themselves or have themselves whipped to atone for wrong doings, whose cult of fanatics was gaining momentum among the faithful.
(Black Saturday; Brgy. Camansi, Carigara, Leyte).
Traditional jousts of native carabaos (pasungay) and horses (paaway). Cockfight (karambola) is another attraction.
Sunduan ha Carigara
(Easter Sunday; Carigara, Leyte)
Easter Sunday celebrations with songs and dances and a colourful parade of floats depicting the rich history of the town of Carigara, once a capital of Leyte.
(May 18; Barugo, Leyte)
The Barugo Sanggutan Festival honors the age-old process of coconut wine (tuba) making that has been and will always be a part of the life of the Barugueño. Sanggutan, the festival, is a dance of celebration. It is dance of men (the managgetes) and women (their wives, sisters, daughters) involved in the production of the red wine. It is also a dance of men and women enjoying the spirit of this gift from, literally, up high. The costumes are the everyday wear of the mananggete and his family, which is to say the dominant color is red, because the tuba dyes everything and everyone that it touches.
(June 18; Alang-alang, Leyte)
Street pageant depicting the legendary and mythical story of the bells.
spacer Subiran Regatta (June 28; Tacloban City).
An exciting race of one-man native sailboats with outriggers locally called “subiran” along scenic and historic Leyte Gulf. The race is done without using a paddle but only skills and techniques to maneuver the sail.
(June 29; Tacloban City)
A dance festival of painted dancers celebrating important events like exploits of war, nature worship in narrative dance movements depicting their own folk practices and beliefs. The custom of tattooing earned for the Leyteños the name of Pintados. From ancient history, Roman conquests mentioned tattooed people in Briton, Saitas, Oriental Tartar, and other parts of the world.
(June 29; Balyuan Tower, Tacloban City)
The Feast of Sto. Niño, the revered patron saint of Tacloban, is celebrated with a pageant re-enacting the historical exchange of images between Barrio Buscada of Basey, Samar and Sitio Kankabatok, now Tacloban City. The Basey Flotilla bearing the church and government leaders goes on a fluvial procession along San Pedro Bay. A budyong (shell) call announces the sight of the flotilla off Kankabatok Bay.
Sto. Niño de Leyte Fiesta
(June 30; Tacloban City)
Grand fiesta of Tacloban celebrated with the traditional turn-over ceremonies of the “Teniente” made by the immediate past Hermano Mayor to the incoming Hermano Mayor. This is accompanied by the ritual of giving the medallion containing the names of all Hermanos Pasados and the Standartes.
(August 11; Julita, Leyte)
Depicts the historical events which led to the creation of the municipality.
spacer Pasaka Festival (August 14; Tanauan, Leyte).
A dance parade and street pageantry showing the culture of the town of Tanauan as it honors its patron saint, Our Lady of the Assumption. Pasaka connotes warm welcome, progress, and religious homage, and is the native word for assumption. A symbolic send-off of Our Lady of the Assumption where dancers in native costumes carry offerings to the town’s patroness as she is assured into heaven.
Travel Tips and General Informations
Source of Information:
Department of Tourism, Philippines
(August 19; Abuyog, Leyte)
Adjudged as one of the ten best festivals of the Philippines, Buyogan’s artistic choreography and realistic costumes focus on the appearance and movement of the honeybee locally called “buyog” from where the town’s name originated.
Regional Tourism Quiz
(September, on World Tourism Day; Tacloban City).
Inter-high school quiz on domestic and international tourism topics to create tourism awareness and encourage the active participation of the studentry in the promotion of Eastern Visayas as a tourist destination.
Parayaw han mga Kada-An / Linggo ng Kasuotang Pilipino
(September, movable; Tacloban City)
The attire is an eloquent manifestation of national heritage and culture. Thus, the observance of the “Linggo ng Kasuotang Pilipino” has been implemented by the Department of Tourism to project the unique Filipino identity; create a sense of pride in being Filipino; and give due respect to Filipino heritage and culture. The exhibit features baro’t saya, binabaye, cayab, sando, salico, lo-on, enaqua, condonga, and panuelo of women who willingly agree to show their period gowns and dresses for young generations to have a glimpse into our local culture and heritage.
Leyte Gulf Landing’s Anniversary
(October 20; Palo and Dulag, Leyte)
A commemorative program which marks the anniversary of the Ocotber 20, 1944 landing on Leyte of the Allied Forces of Liberation. General Douglas MacArthur and his men waded ashore at Red Beach in the town of Palo where statues of the liberators now stand. The historic event is usually attended by national government officials and dignitaries from embassies of United States, Japan, and Australia as well as World War II veterans who come on a sentimental journey.
Karisyohan han Pasko ha Palo
(December 6 – January 6; Palo, Leyte)
The town of Palo, which is the religious center of Eastern Visayas, is transformed into a veritable ”Christmas Village” wherein the whole community participates in the beautiful Filipino traditions of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. In 1989, Enrico M. Saboren, a tenor based in California, started to decorate his family ancestral house with artistic Christmas decor from abroad. This “House of Fantasy” fascinate people from all walks of life who make it a point to visit Palo to enjoy the unique sights. As part of its annual entertainment, community competitions like best decorated barangay, best belen, best parol (lantern), old traditions of pastores and Christmas carol singing, drum and bugle corps, and other festivities make Christmas in Palo truly enjoyable.
(Movable date; Tacloban City).
Leyte’s festival of festivals, participated in by various municipalities in order to preserve cultural traditions thus enhancing the town’s touristic appeal.
(August 15; Calubian, Leyte)
A dance festival extolling the many uses of the coconut parts as costumes, props, and accessories. The dance is in homage to the town’s patron saints, Our Lady of Fatima and St. Roque. This street dance and merrymaking depicts the origin of the town’s name, which means abundance of coconuts (lubi) which is considered as the “tree of life.”