8 Biggest Festivals in Cebu That Every Traveler Must Experience
Pristine white beaches, extreme sky-high activities, Instagrammable spots in every corner, and creative locals—these sum up Cebu. But what makes the Queen City of the South more alive is the electrifying festivals in Cebu!
From the reenactment of the historic battle of Mactan to the world-renowned Sinulog Festival Cebu, most travelers make it a point to visit Cebu just to experience these fun festivities.
Cebu’s festivities are also held not just for parties but for thanksgiving.
Top 8 Most Electrifying Festivals in Cebu You Shouldn’t Miss
While the fiestas of this province are renowned for their vibrant colors and pageantry, they are also established from Cebuanos’ religious tradition and history. Here are some of the biggest Cebu festivals:
- Sinulog Festival – The biggest Cebu festival held in honor of Santo Niño.
- Kadaugan sa Mactan – Aa weeklong commemoration of the historic battle of Mactan between the Portuguese Explorer and Navigator Fernando Magallanes and Mactan Chieftain Lapu-Lapu.
- Palawod Festival – This festival celebrates the fishermen and the sea. Palawaod is a Cebuano term which means to go out to fish.
- Karansa Festival – Held in honor of its Patron Saint Sr. Sto. Tomas de Villanueva.
- Sinanggiyaw Festival – During this festival, the performers dance lively and gracefully bringing all the Sinanggi performances highlighting these three aspects: planting, harvesting and thanksgiving.
- Bodbod Festival – Bodbod is a famous delicacy in Catmon that”s why they hold a festival about it.
- Camotes Cassava Festival – It highlights the pride of the locals which is the cassava-based products.
- Inasal (Halad) Festival – Inasal Festival is about Talisay City’s historical heritage and identity promoting the city as an aqua and tourist hub.
Read on to learn more about the festival of Cebu and discover the beauty and fun for yourself!
1. Sinulog Festival – Cebu City
When: Every 3rd Sunday of January
Highlights: Fluvial Procession of the Miraculous Image of the Santo Niño, Sinulog Grand Parade, and Street Dancing
Celebrated every 3rd Sunday of January, Sinulog Festival Cebu is the province’s biggest fiesta. It is held in honor of the Señor Sto. Niño. Foreign and local tourists flock to Cebu City for this celebration to join the procession and the grand mardi gras. The highlight of this Cebu City festival is the street dancing. Sinulog Festival is the party you wouldn’t want to miss.
2. Kadaugan sa Mactan – Lapu-Lapu City
Photo credits to Hon. Paz Radaza
When: April 22-27
Highlights: Reenactment of the Battle of Mactan and food bazaar
Kadaugan sa Mactan is a weeklong commemoration of the historic battle of Mactan between the Portuguese Explorer and Navigator Fernando Magallanes and Mactan Chieftain Lapu-Lapu. The festival features various activities such as the series of musical productions culminating with the famous battle, food street, and live band entertainment.
3. Palawod Festival – Bantayan Island
Photo credits to LGU – Aguisan
When: Last week of June
Highlight: Street dancing
Bantayan Island is known for its stunning beaches and delicious seafood. The locals’ livelihood and pride is the Bantayan’s gifted sea. Thus, Palawod Festival is all about fishermen and the sea. Palawaod is a Cebuano term which means to go out to fish.
The street dancing captures and preserves the locals’ unique traditional fishing rituals inherent to the island through dancing, music and the visual arts.
4. Karansa Festival – Danao City
Photo credits to Karansa Festival
When: 3rd Sunday of September
Highlight: Street dancing
Held every 3rd Sunday of September, Danao City celebrates the Karansa Festival in honor of its Patron Saint Sr. Sto. Tomas de Villanueva.
Karansa Festival is a popular festival of Cebu that features various street dancing performances, eating and drinking in celebration of the Danao’s pottery-making livelihood.
5. Sinanggiyaw Festival – Dumanjug
Photo credits to Municipality of Dumanjug
When: October 4
Highlights: Street dancing and field presentation
The name Sinanggiyaw is derived from two old Cebuano words: “Sinanggi” meaning abundance of harvested agricultural products of our farmers and “Sayaw” meaning dance.
During the Sinanggiyaw Festival in Dumanjug, the performers dance lively and gracefully bringing all the Sinanggi performances highlighting these three aspects: planting, harvesting and thanksgiving.
6. Bodbod Festival – Catmon
When: Every 10th of February
Highlights: Street dancing
The town of Catmon is famous for its tasty delicacy “bodbod” or “budbud kabog”. It is made from seeds of millet grass, a plant that is abundant in the area. The seeds are cooked with sugar and coconut milk before they are wrapped in banana leaves.
Because of this popular delicacy, the town dedicated a festival for it. The most awaited event in the Bodbod Festival is the street dancing competition that is participated by the different barangays. They perform dance movements showing the making of the bodbod with the costumes in bodbod concept.
7. Camotes Cassava Festival – Camotes Island
When: 2nd week of June
Highlights: Cultural night and the search for Miss Camotes Tourism
As the name suggests, Camotes Cassava Festival highlights the pride of the locals which is the cassava-based products. Held every 2nd week of June, this festival of Cebu is a celebration for a bountiful harvest where farmers display their various cassava-based products.
What makes this festival more fruitful is that locals share their varied technical experiences in producing and processing cassava products. Among the activities to watch out for are the Best Booth Contest, Poster-making Contest, search for new cassava food products, cultural night and the search for Miss Camotes Tourism.
8. Inasal (Halad) Festival – Talisay City
When: Every October 14th to 15th
Highlights: Parade of the great personages as higantes and food festival
Inasal Festival is about Talisay City’s historical heritage and identity promoting the city as an aqua and tourist hub. They do this through street dancing as a thanksgiving offering to the city’s patroness, Sta. Teresa de Avila.
When attending Inasal Festival, you must not miss the sports fest, parade of the great personages as higantes, and the food festival featuring the famous “inasal” or lechon, the Talisay version.
Where to stay in Cebu
When looking for places to stay in Cebu, don’t worry! You’ve got plenty of choices. We’ve rounded up some of the best budget hotels in Cebu that offer quality accommodations at a very affordable price.
- ZEN Rooms Alicia Tower Cebu
Price range: PHP 714 – PHP 800 per night
- ZEN Premium Banilad
Price range: PHP 1300 per night
- ZEN Rooms S Hotel & Residences Cebu
Price range: PHP 1000 per night
- ZEN Rooms Hamersons Cebu
Price range: PHP 1400 per night
Frequently Asked Questions About Festivals in Cebu
Q: What is the famous festival in Cebu?
A: There are many festivals in Cebu but the most famous is the Sinulog Festival Cebu.
Q: What is Cebu known for?
A: Cebu is known for its pristine beaches, glorious islands, and the yummiest crispy lechon.
Q: What are the delicacies in Cebu?
A: Cebu has a lot of food and delicacies that they take pride in. These are:
- Budbud kabog
Q: How many days do you need in Cebu?
A: If you want to explore all parts of Cebu from north to south, you’ll need at least five (5) days to spend in Cebu.
Q: What are the biggest festivals in the Philippines?
A: Philippine Festivals are among the reasons travelers visit the country. Some of the best festivals in the Philippines are:
- Sinulog Festival – Cebu
- ati-Atihan Festival – Aklan
- Dinagyang Festival – Iloilo City
- Pahiyas Festival – Quezon Province
- Panagbenga Festival – Baguio City
- Lechon Festival – Batangas
- Kadayawan Festival – Davao City
- MassKara Festival – Bacolod
- Tuna Festival – General Santos City
- Higantes Festival – Angono, Rizal
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