November in the Philippines

Hagimit Falls Samal Davao
November signals the start of the dry-cold season in the Philippines which is also the beginning of the peak tourist season. Hotels slowly fill up with reservations and some may even get fully booked, all because this period is also Semestral Break for most schools and universities.

With just a month to go before December, the entire country is now bedecked with twinkling lights, Christmas trees and Styrofoam snowmen. November marks the beginning of all-out sales in large shopping malls as everyone starts to shop for gifts to give as ‘pamasko’ to their loved ones.

The month starts with a much-awaited long weekend, November 1st being Undas, the Filipino version of the All Saint’s and All Soul’s Days. People flock to the cemeteries to pay homage to their loved ones and hold miniature family reunions in cramped spaces beside tombstones. Halloween is also becoming a popular festivity among the young, with kids participating in Trick or Treat parties and going house-to-house mostly in affluent neighborhoods. From the last week of October and well into the second week of November, jack o’ lanterns, skulls, skeletons and other scary contraptions sit side by side with the Christmas riffraff.

Here are some exciting events and festivals to watch out for this November in the Philippines.

Banaag Festival

November 1

Anilao, Iloilo

Banaag Festival is a celebration of fire and light in the small town of Anilao in Iloilo. It is actually in commemoration of the town’s foundation. The word ‘banaag’ means bright in the local language called Hiligaynon. The festival features street dances during nighttime to emphasize the play of fire and light.

Undas

November 1-2

All over the country

In line with the celebration of the All Saint’s and All Soul’s Days, Filipinos converge in cemeteries to visit their dead and meet with family members. These days are declared non-working holidays hence the huge number of people in these places. As a tradition, families bring food to the cemeteries both to “offer” to their deceased loved ones and to share with other relatives. Traffic can be quite impossible during these days, especially on roads leading to cemeteries. Undas is a good time to watch and photograph people.

Belen sa Makati

November 1 – December 16

Makati City

Now on its 25th year, buildings in the country’s financial center are decorated with a belen, a presentation of the Nativity using figurines made from all sorts of materials. It would be a delight to drive through Makati’s Buendia and Ayala Avenues to see these creches displayed in different colors complemented by brightly lit lanterns.

Negros Day/ El Cinco de Noviembre

November 5

Negros Island

This celebration commemorates the townsfolk’s revolution against their Spaniards in the year 1898. History has it that the Negrenses (townsfolk) were happy living with the colonizers until the movement for freedom in Luzon resonated to the sugar barons and planters of the province who later revolted against their lords. This event is actually made famous for the bluff which involved disguising sawali mats and nipa stalks as rifles and canons which drove the Spanish authorities away. This historical festival is celebrated all over Negros Island.

Pintaflores Festival

November 5

San Carlos City, Negros Occidental

‘Pinta’ means paint and ‘flores’ means flowers. The Pintaflores Festival features revelers dressed in ethnic-inspired costumes painted with large flower patterns. Even their bodies and faces are painted with flower designs. The festival is dedicated to San Carlos Borromeo, the city’s patron saint. Now on its 20th year, Pintaflores is an ultra-colorful festival with school children participating in street dances and other activities.

Sandurot Festival

November 17 – 20

Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental

After joining in the revelry of the Pintaflores, you can head on east to Dumaguete where the Sandurot Festival is celebrated. Dumaguete City is a melting pot of different cultures both foreign and local. The city embraces the influx of foreigners wishing to reside, study or stay for a long period. ‘Sandurot’ is the local word for arrival and this festival is a testimonial of the city’s warm welcome to the different people and cultures.

Creed Live in Manila

November 11

Smart Araneta Coliseum

The American rock band Creed will be entertaining music lovers in Manila. The one-night concert will be held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Hit songs like My Sacrifice and With Arms Wide Open will be enjoyed along with other songs in their albums. Tickets start at P800 (20USD).

La Union Surfing Festival

November 17-19

Urbiztondo, La Union

La Union is known as the Surfing Capital of Luzon and it opens it shores to surf enthusiasts from all over the country. The invitational competition is managed by Filipinos as a move to promote local tourism and lure tourists into one of the country’s best surfing destinations.

Higantes Festival

November 22-23

Angono, Rizal

Higantes or giants dominate the streets of Angono as the town celebrates the feast of San Clemente, patron saint of Angono and of fishermen. During the festival, the image of the saint in papal vestments is carried by men followed by devotees called pahadores dressed in fishermen’s clothes, local costumes, wooden shoes and carrying fishing paraphernalia and 12-foot giants. These giants are made of paper-mâché created by locals all throughout the year.

Grand Cordillera Festival

November 22

Baguio City

The Cordilleras in Luzon is a cornucopia of different cultures, histories and peoples. The Grand Cordillera Festival is the convergence of the various tribes living in the urban areas and hinterlands of the mountain range. The festival is marked by thanksgiving rituals and tribal dancing. This is the best time to witness and experience the culture of the highlands, not to mention feast on the many food delights of the region.

Jennifer Lopez Live in Manila

November 26

Mall of Asia Arena

Hollywood actress, singer, dancer and former American Idol judge Jennifer Lopez will take Manila by storm as part of her Dance Again World Tour. Her one-night concert will be held at the large SM Mall of Asia Arena. VIP tickets are already sold out.

Annual Pinatubo Trek

November 30

Barangay Sta. Juliana, Capas, Tarlac

The eruption of Mt. Pinatubo on July 1991 is chronicled as the 20th century’s second largest terrestrial eruption. Now, more than two decades after, the Annual Pinatubo Trek with a theme ‘A March To Peace And Tranquility’ invites everyone to trek the fringes of the volcano as a move to promote harmony and stability among the people. Mount Pinatubo is an active volcano and the thrill of trekking on one would be an exhilarating

Bonifacio Day

November 30

Philippines

November starts with a holiday and ends with a holiday. Bonifacio Day is a day of remembrance to the revolutionary who started it all. Andres Bonifacio is one of the most prominent figures in history, being the founder of the Katipunan. He is considered as one of the bravest men born in the Philippines. Bonifacio Day is celebrated all over the country.

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