This month in Philippine history speaks of freedom, democracy, independence and great cultural heritage.
In July 3, 1892, 120 years ago this month, the Philippine National Hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal established a civic organization named La Liga Filipina which aimed to reunite Filipinos to work for sectoral reforms and seek autonomy from the oppressive Spanish colonialists.
Four days later on July 7, 1892, Dr. Jose Rizal was captured and exiled to Dapitan in Mindanao where he lived and worked as a doctor and a teacher to the locals.
Also in July 4, 1946, the United States of America granted political independence to the Philippines, and thus, started the evolution of the country’s democratic society.
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Filipinos were culture-oriented long before the first colonial conquistadors have set foot in this land. The indigenous tribes inhabiting the islands were friendly and accommodating; traders from nearby countries such as Malaysia, China, Borneo and India have all experienced the amiable nature of the natives.
Festivities were a common event with every occasion a reason to roast a pig, chicken, goat or young cow. The best linens adorn the tables where distinguished guests shall be seated, the best party clothes worn, the most precious chinaware are laid and sumptuous foods served.
Nothing has changed over the centuries if we talk about feasts and gastronomic adventures. Traditions were handed down for generations and observed in reverence to the patriarchs and matriarchs of every Filipino family.
In the present time, traditions are revived and promoted in order to boost local tourism and put the region on the tourism map. The following are July events and festivals in the Philippines that are celebrated with this idea in mind.
Tagbilaran City, Bohol
The festival is a month-long commemoration of the blood compact between Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Rajah Sikatuna during the earlier part of the Spanish regime. Sandugo is the local version of the mardi gras highlighted by street dancing, pageants, concerts, fireworks displays and many other fun-filled activities. And it does not hurt that you can also get the chance to visit other Bohol attractions, too!
Davao del Norte
July 1 to 10
Is a celebration of thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest and promoting the province of Davao del Norte as the “Banana Country”. Street dancing and Agro-trade fair highlights the July 1 to 10 festival.
Araw ng Lanao del Norte
Tubod, Lanao del Norte
Sagayan is a traditional Maranao war dance that depicts the rich Maranao culture. The dance tells of the story of how their forefathers have resisted the Spanish colonialism and preserved their religion, customs and traditions. The graceful fan dance of the Maranao women portrays their cultural values and traits. The Sagayan festival is one of the major activities during the Araw ng Lanao del Norte.
“Philippine-American Friendship Day
Aside from celebrating the Philippines’ close ties with the Americans who helped in its liberation from the Spaniards, the Philippine-American Friendship day is also Baguio City’s tribute to the pioneers who built it as an American dream city in the 19th century. The celebration is highlighted by many things, among them expositions of local products, performances and live entertainment.
Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental
“Hudyaka” is a Cebuano word which means “revelry”. Every 12th of July the people of Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental commemorates the history of how Laguindingan became one of the municipalities of Misamis Oriental province. A day of revelry, street dancing and festivities mark this celebration.
Subayan Keg Subanon Festival
Ozamiz, Misamis Occidental
This is a festival highlighting the feast of Nuestra Señora del Triunfo dela Cruz every July 15 in the city of Ozamiz, Misamis Occidental. The Subayan keg Subanon festival features the traditional dances and songs of the early settlers of the place, the Subanons (river dwellers). Contingents of the street dancing come from the different barangays, government offices and schools within the city.
T’nalak is the popular hand-woven cloth made of fine Abaca fibers usually worn by the women of the T’boli tribe in South Cotabato. The street dancing competition is the culmination of the 3-day celebration of the city’s foundation day. The dances depict the rich culture of the different tribes inhabiting the region. The Christians, Muslims and the Indigenous Peoples of T’boli and B’laan lived in harmony despite their cultural diversities.
Saulog de Tanjay
Tanjay, Negros Occidental
A day before the city fiesta, the people of Tanjay, Negros Occidental gear up for the Saulog Festival (formerly known as Sinulog), a costume parade depicting the different cultures of the natives who inhabited Tanjay during the pre-Spanish period.
The “Paaway sa Kabayo” or horse fight is the highlight of the festival. The horse fighting re-enacts the historic battle between the Spaniards and the Muslims. Dancers perform mock battles portraying the age-old conflict between the Muslims and the Christians.
Every region has its own version of festivals that fall on different dates. If you go around the country purposely to witness all the festivities, then, you will be watching no less than 365 festivals in a year and still crave for more.