Events and Festivals
Tarek Festival: this festival is observed in the town of Aborlan by the indigenous Tagbanuas and Batak peoples during the third week in January. Ritualistic dances are the main event, and great emphasis is placed on local priests who attempt to commune directly with local deities during the events.
People Power Day: on the 25th of February, citizens of the Philippines celebrate the EDSA Revolution that took place in 1986. At that time, Filipinos joined together to protest (and ultimately overthrow) the 20-year dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. This is a relaxed holiday and a great source of pride for Filipinos.
Puerto Princesa Foundation Day: celebrated during the first week of March, this festival celebrates the birth of Palawan’s capital city. The festival showcases the region’s agricultural prowess with a series of markets dealing in produce and fresh-caught seafood. Sporting events, dances and old-fashioned merry-making are given in honour of the year’s harvest.
Holy Week: or Senaku, as it’s locally known, is observed across Palawan by the Roman Catholic demographic. Sombre re-enactments of the Passion of Christ are held. Activities vary from city to city. While the greatest concentration of events is held in Manila, citizens of Palawan host several processions and services of their own.
Flowers of May: the Flores de Mayo festival honours the Virgin Mary and is widely celebrated throughout the Philippine archipelago. Festivities span the entire month, with a parade of young girls clad in white heading to the Virgin’s altar where they lay wreathes of flowers. Other participants dress in Biblical costumes and accompany the parades.
Baragatan Sa Palawan: during the third week of June, Puerto Princesa comes alive with this festival celebrating the birth of Palawan’s democratic government. A parade featuring representatives from several municipalities is held, as is the LGU Trade and Food Fair. The festival ends with the crowning of Miss Palawan.
Feast of the Forest: on the third Saturday in June, citizens of Puerto Princesa band together to stave off deforestation in the region. The city spearheads an impressive tree-planting initiative each year in areas throughout the city and beyond. Tourists and other visitors are encouraged to participate.
Cuyo Festival: certainly the most unique festival held in Palawan, Cuyo Festival sees participants blacken their skin with soot and dance with abandonment in the city streets to the frenetic percussion of drummers. There are many compelling and picturesque moments during this festival.
National Tourism Week: the third week of September is set aside to recognise the positive impact that tourism has had on the Philippines. Activities are held in various venues like schools and public marketplaces. Each year a different theme draws attention to a particular aspect of the tourism industry.
La Naval Festival: this festival is held in honour of the Virgin Mary. While it is observed across the Philippines, it’s most famous for the processional held in Manila. A 16th century image of the Blessed Virgin is paraded throughout the streets in the midst of much fanfare and celebration.
Light a Tree Festival: as the holiday season draws closer, Mendoza Park in Puerto Princesa city begins its seasonal transformation. Workers set up decorations and install a giant Christmas tree. The official lighting of the tree takes place on the 1st of December, after preparations are complete.
Pagdiwata Ritual Festival: this event takes place during December’s full moon cycle and features a number of traditional rituals that predate the coming of Christianity. Rites are intended to appease local spirits, especially those associated with personal health and harvests. During this time, locals celebrate by planting symbolic crops and organising traditional hunts. Religious dances take place, during which time the priest gets possessed by local spirits.
Christmas: Palawan’s Christmas-time activities are held primarily in Puerto Princesa beginning on 15th December. Yuletide events include parades, the singing of Christmas carols and the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. These ongoing celebrations are collectively known as Paskuhan, and the domestic airways can become quite busy as Filipino’s travel home to spend time with their families.