Fiestas celebrate harvests, births, and victories, as well as religious events.
The Philippines is a country of fiestas, Negros Oriental is a province full or year round fiestas. We have 24 fiestas each dedicated to their respective patron saints, and topping it off is the BUGLASAN FESTIVAL the fiesta of the entire province, taking place on October 14-27 2019.
Ayuquitan Festival SAN JOSE May 7
Street dancing and showdown competitions dramatizing the old name of San Jose town (Ayuquitan) which is derived from the vernacular “inukitan” or the chaff and hulls of fruits after birds have picked at the crops.
Highlights the feast of patron St Joseph. Street dancing and showdown competitions. Main feature is the re-telling of the origin of the town’s place name. It is said that in olden times, Spanish colonials came to the town and encountered a native beside a pile of husks, the( “inukitan” ) or left-overs of fruits and grain after birds have pecked the meat. The Spanish visitors asked for the name of the place.
The native, not understanding a word but assuming it to be a question about the husks, told them what it was. The Spanish eventually came to refer to the area as “Ayuquitan,” the old name of San Jose.
Budyas Festival TANDAYAG, AMLAN November 29
The budyas, a traditional ritual on the waterfront, where offerings are made to the spirits to involve good fortune on the fishermen and their fishing implements. The image of the town patron, St Andrew the Apostle, is then brought out of the Tandayag south chapel and transported, by elaborately decorated boats filled with devotees and a band, to the Tandayag north chapel where a Mass of thanksgiving is celebrated. Street dancing to the town plaza follows.
The coastal Barangay of Tandayag has two chapels, one in Tandayag Norte and another in Tandayag Sur. The budyas is a ritual blessing of the fishermen and their fishing gear on the beach in front of the south chapel, after which the images of the two patrons of Amlan, Saints Peter and Paul, are transported to the northern chapel in a fluvial procession of elaborately decorated sea craft. Street dancing follows, with the contingents in fish folk motif. A feature of the town’s November 30 fiesta.
Buglasan Festival DUMAGUETE CITY October 14-27
The Buglasan Festival is Negros Oriental’s movable provincial fiesta, participated in by the Province’s six component cities and 19 municipalities. It was born in 1981 when a search was conducted to compose a contingent that would represent Negros Oriental in the Folk Arts Festival convened by then First Lady Imelda R Marcos.
“Buglasan” is derived from buglas, the tall, napier-like reeds which once covered the entire island of Negros. Natives and residents of the neighboring islands are said to have called the place Buglas. A map of the island, dated 1572 and attributed to encomendero Diego Lope Povedano, a member of the Legazpi expedition, bears the legend “Buglas Insulis.” Legazpi’s men, upon exploring the island, encountered dark-skinned natives and hereinafter referred to the place as Negros.
The Buglasan Festival consists of the Tourism and Agri-Fair theme booth presentations by LGUs, corporate participants and educational institutions; the selection of the Festival King and Queen; performing arts competitions; open air band concerts; games and sports; and a fireworks competition, among others. The highlight event is the Buglasan Festival of Festivals, which gathers the finest performing contingents of Negros Oriental’s established and emerging festivals.
Gapnod Festival SIBULAN June 12
Legend has it that the image of San Antonio de Padua was washed ashore in Sibulan by the waves, gapnod, where it was adopted as the town’s patron saint. Every June 12 the saint is celebrated by a fluvial procession of gaily-decorated boats.
Decorated watercraft ferry devotees and their venerated saints along the length of Sibulan Bay and to the parish church, hub of the June 13 fiesta; the church enshrines St. Anthony, who arrests hundreds of supplicants every 13th day of the month from all over the province.
Hudyaka sa Bais BAIS CITY September 30
A spectacular Mardi Gras parade and plaza revelry to highlight the fiesta of San Nicolas de Tolentino, patron of the city which cradled the province’s sugar industry.
Kasadya-an Festival DUMAGUETE CITY December 3rd Week
Cultural pageants, student frolics, Mardi Gras parade; Oriental Negros’s oldest uninterrupted annual festival. The Province’s oldest continuing festival, established by FU founder Dr Vicente G Sinco in 1949 as a concluding campus Christmas celebration. Began as a torch parade in costume, with Mardi Gras as motif.
Grew into the longest parade to pass through Dumaguete’s thoroughfares, with eclectic motifs and spectacular costumes. The festival’s other components include booth presentations, grand production numbers in the Frolics competition, and a beauty pageant.
Kasulad Festival PAMPLONA October 11
Derived from kawit (scythe used to make incisions so that coconut sap will flow), sugong (container used to catch the sap) and lading(a sharp tool for gathering coconuts). , the tools used for harvesting the coconuts and cutting the bugang in olden times, the latter being the tall reeds that once covered the island and gave it its old name, Buglas. The Kasulad festival comprises of Street-dancing and showdown competitions.
Libod Sayaw Festival BINDOY April 5
Libod means “to make the rounds” while sayaw is vernacular for dance. Libod Sayaw refers to the street dancing around the town center, an original moving pageantry with choreography based on Philippine folk dances. The pristine beauty of the shallow Mantalip Reef is now the subject of the libod-sayaw, a mardi gras celebration during the feast of the town patron saint Vincent Ferrer.
Pasayaw Festival CANLAON CITY March 9
Canlaon City’s festival, Pasayaw, derives from pasalamat diha sa mga sayaw . It blends legendary, historical, and socio-cultural materials with religious traditions of the early inhabitants of this mountain city.
Dance sequences are an off-shoot of barangay-based cultural events of the city. Footwork includes the Pagtugbong, to go down the slopes, Pagkatin, to step off the murky trail, Pagtabok, to cross the river, and Paglinas, to extract the seeds. Hand movements include Paghunos, to harvest leguminous plants, and Pagdawat, to receive the bounty.
In whichever interpretation, the festival depicts the tragic fate of Kan and Laon, the triumph over death, victory against violence, and celebration in the midst of chaos.
Street dancing and showdown in honor of the patron, St Joseph the Worker. Presentation is highly-influenced by the MassKara Festival of Bacolod, where a common recorded music, usually a samba, is used by all contingents.
Past Pasayaw Festivals used vegetables and other crops, by way of thanksgiving for the bountiful harvests that make Canlaon City the vegetable bowl of the Province. Highlight of the city fiesta
Pinaskuhan Parol & Sayawit Festival DUMAGUETE CITY December 8
Procession and exhibit of Christmas lanterns (parol) crafted from indigenous and recycled materials. Choreographed choral production numbers (sayaw-and-awit) render original Filipino compositions and carols flavored with local scenes, customs and traditions.
rand finals of province wide sayawit competitions showcasing indigenous dances and music, folklore, and local Christmas customs, produced annually by the Oriental Negros Culture and Arts Council.
Sakobhan Festival STA. CATALINA April 4
Street dancing and showdown competitions, derived from “sakob” or sheath for the bolo used in the “katubhan” or sugar cane fields. The festival revolves around the town’s sugar industry and its patron, Santa Catalina de Alejandria. Held usually every April 24 as a fiesta highlight
Sandurot Festival DUMAGUETE CITY September 16
Derived from the Visayan term for the cordial custom of offering and enjoying hospitality, Sandurot celebrates the captivating quality of Dumaguete. The festival is an elaborate welcome for the different cultures drawn to the shores of the city.
The Sandurot Festival street dance and field presentations conclude with a Dance of Unity.Now a symbolic gesture of inviting the world to the city of gentle people.
Santacruzan Festival DUMAGUETE CITY May 3rd Week
A movable event, featuring mainly local beauties escorted by film stars. Street dancing and showdown presentations play on the attributes of Our Lady, such as Reina de las Flores, though other traditional Santacruzan characters are not employed.
Tawo-Tawo Festival BAYAWAN CITY December 23
Began as a post-harvest celebration by workers in an hacienda, recognizing the scarecrow (tawo-tawo) as traditional sentinels of the town’s rice fields and, therefore, guardians of the town’s future.
Features giant papier mache scarecrows (tawo-tawo in the vernacular) and streetdancers costumed as denizens of the rice fields, i.e., carabaos and maya birds. Recent showdowns included a brief dramatization of the legend surrounding the town’s place name, where a fierce native slays the priest at the height of the Mass, during the elevation, or bayaw.
Yagyag Festival SIBULAN March 9
Yagyag is the vernacular for spawning, to lay eggs or spread, propagate and grow. The process refers in particular to the crabs and other marine creatures, which gather during the months of October to December in Sapa, one of the springs, found in Barangay Cangmating of Sibulan.
The creatures lay and float their eggs during high tide, to mature in the swamps. In the coming months, people from the neighboring barrios from Agan-an to Maningcao would come in groups for nature’s marine bounty, which are harvested for food and as materials for crafts. This is also an occasion for trading and barter, and celebration.
The festival is showcase of local arts and culture, fashion, and unity. It features Madri gras-type street dancing and related events. Held last Sunday of April.