Bizarre Festivals in the Philippines

Bizarre Festivals in the Philippines

May 12, 2017 | Travel

There’s no denying that we, Filipinos, love to celebrate. We love it so much that we even find reasons or make up ways just to put up a fun occasion. So don’t be surprised if we have fiestas that are worthy of a Ripley’s Believe it Or Not episode. With that, we’ve rundown some of our most bizarre fiestas that you may want to join, if ever you’re interested.

1. Parada ng Lechon

‘Pag may piyesta, may lechon. Pero sa Balayan, Batangas, ang piyesta doon ay lechon.

The Parada ng Lechon is held every 24th of June. It is also a commemoration of St. John the Baptist but with hundreds of roasted pigs parading the streets. Many of them are decorated in creative costumes, while some have had the heads removed and placed on mannequins.

Pero don’t worry. No lechons were put to waste because after the parade, all of the lechons are brought to the local church to be blessed and distributed to the public afterwards. Oh alam na ha. Save the date.

2. Aswang Festival

While some millennials fancy good-looking (or sparkling) vampires, nothing beats our very own drop dead gorgeous Aswangs, the most famous mythical creature in the Philippines. If you’re not convinced, you can visit Roxas City, Capiz in October and see for yourself.

The unique festival started in 2004. It aims to change people’s perception of Capiz as the home of these beautiful yet dangerous creatures by using them as a tourist attraction with people parading in aswang costumes.

Unfortunately, the festival was short-lived. It had to be shut down just three years later, fearing that the festival could sway people towards evil. KJ ba?

3. Taong Putik Festival

Just to be clear, malaki ang pagkakaiba ng taong putik sa taong grasa. The latter is what you usually see in the streets of Manila covered in dirt. While the former is what you’ll see in the streets of Aliaga, Nueva Ecija covered in mud, vines, and banana leaves during the feast day of St. John the Baptist.

So ang tanong, bakit nila ginagawa yun? The tradition was said to have begun during the World War II, when the Japanese were about to execute all male residents as revenge. But just as the execution was about to start, umulan ng malakas. And the Japanese took it as an ominous sign, so ‘di na nila tinuloy. And they just set the prisoners free.

The villagers then attributed the miracle to St. John the Baptist and celebrated by rolling in the mud. Since then, the residents celebrated the day in such muddy fashion.

4. Baliw-Baliw Festival

True to its name, this festival is cray-cray in a lot of ways. It includes people carrying phallic symbols and cross-dressing men who simulate giving birth in the sea. But the most kabaliw-baliw of all is the selling of (pasintabi po sa kumakain) cow poop topped with ketchup. Weird, ‘no?

Heto pa, based on hearsay, this crazy festival has been celebrated since the 18th century to help the townsfolk cope with the madness of life. Well, as they say, you fight fire with fire. But in this case, you fight madness with more insanity.

5. Lukayo Festival

From one crazy festival to another, the Lukayo festival is actually a play on the words “loka-loka kayo”. The crazy difference of this outrageous festival from Baliw-Baliw is it’s for women. And the tradition is said to increase the likelihood of a couple to bear children. So ano’ng crazy doon, you might ask?

For one, women of all ages would dress up while waving around wooden phalluses, eggplants, or other things that could depict the male sexual organ. Ang mas nakakaloka pa diyan, they then sing innuendo-filled songs while parading the streets. Ayan.

Though this festival appear scandalous, according to Filipino anthropologist and National Artist Ramon Obusan, the ritual symbolizes the power of women against male domination by satirizing the phallus, which is often considered as the male symbol of power.

Now that you know our bizarre festivals, which ones are you most likely to join? If you ask us, it’s the Parada ng Lechon. Heck, we might start or our very own later. Game?