Philippine culture is best experienced in events and activities that highlight what Filipinos are passionate about— faith, love for country, family, beautiful women, and celebrations. Filipinos love to celebrate, and there is no better way of celebrating than by having festivals: Ati-atihan in Kalibo, Aklan, January, the best and biggest in the country, it commemorates the feast of the Sto Nino with a week-long street party. Groups of dancers dressed as the aboriginal Atis, representing different communities from the city participate in the festive weeklong street party that highlights during the feast of the patron saint; Pahiyas in Lucban, Quezon. May 15, the annual harvest festival and feast of San Isidro Labrador. Witness the colourful display of kiping and other thanksgiving offerings hung in the houses that line the street where the procession of the image of the patron saint will pass. Giant papier-mache effigies join the parade to add to the spectacle of a celebration; Masskara Festival in Bacolod City, October, coinciding with the city’s charter day celebration, the festival features carnivals, fairs and a mardi gras-style parade by costumed and masked street dancers. There are as many festivals as there are towns in the Philippines and when you attend and enjoy a Filipino celebration, you come closer to understanding the culture of the people.
Other unique Philippine cultural events and activities include the cultural spectacle Santacruzan—a Maytime procession of beautiful Philippine maidens staged as a re-enactment of St. Helen’s quest for the Holy Cross; the awesome display of Filipino religiosity in the frenzied Black Nazarene procession during the Quiapo fiesta every January in Manila; the Holy Week rituals in San Fernando, Pampanga— proof of the Filipino’s and Philippine culture’s deep Catholic roots; and the displays (giant Christmas lanterns), rituals (dawn masses) and traditions (noche buena feasts) that mark the Filipinos’ celebration of Christmas.
Watch performances of World Class Filipino Artists
The Philippines is home to a number of world-class artists. Occasionally, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, show performances by the Ballet Philippines, the Philippine Madrigal Singers, and the Bayanihan Dance Troupe. World-renowned artists Lea Salonga and Cecile Licad, from time to time, give performances in big concert halls in Manila. The Center of Arts in San Antonio (CASA) in San Miguel, Zambales features violinist Alfonso “Coke” Bolipata and his Pundaquit talents. Other groups that showcase the Filipino performing talents are Repertory Philippines, the Loboc Children’s Choir, and the Amazing Philippines Theatre.
In the Visual Arts, works of world-class Filipino masters Juan Luna, Felix Resurrection Hidalgo and Fabian de la Rosa, National Artists Fernando Amorsolo, Carlos Francisco, Victor Edades, Vicente Manansala, other Philippine painting greats and contemporary visual artists can be viewed at the Philippine National Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, the Ayala Museum and in some galleries and University museums around Metro Manila.
Colleges and universities in the Philippines are home to award-wining performance groups that have been recognized internationally for their artistry and excellence in the performing arts: Dulaang UP (student theatre group), the UP Concert Chorus, UP Singing Ambassadors of the University of the Philippines; Ateneo College Glee Club and the Ateneo Chamber Singers of the Ateneo de Manila University; the UST Singers and the Salinggawi Dance Troupe of the University of Santo Tomas.
All around the country in simple stages, live bands and professional singers perform in clubs and music halls showcasing Filipino talent in entertaining.
Popular Cultural Places to Go
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