September marks the early start of the Christmas season in the Philippines. Really early, yes, but it is true. The Philippines celebrates what might be the longest Christmas in the world. Called the first “ber” month because if the last syllable of its name, September is considered by many as the start of a bountiful and happy season for the Filipino. This early, Filipinos start shopping for gifts, decorations and firecrackers. Mall-wide sales also start to become more frequent and it’s no surprise that a cheery “Merry Christmas” will come your way every now and then.
While the streets begin to blossom in twinkling lights, faux snowmen and Santa Claus statues, a lot of other events and festivals are being held all over the Philippines. Just like any other month in the country, there is something exciting going on somewhere. Baguio City, General Santos City, Siquijor and Bislig City celebrate their charters during the month and there are at least other 10 festivals expected to happen. There are also several big sporting events in many places in the country.
Here are some of what’s in store for every one in the month of September:
The City of Baguio, considered the Summer Capital of the Philippines celebrates its 93rd founding anniversary this year. The Baguio Tourism Month is also scheduled for the entire month, aiming to promote the city as one of the premier destinations in the country. The highly-urbanized city is already known to many as an excellent tourist/vacation spot in the country but the event will fast-track the influx of visitors through exhibits, food festivals, street parades and other fun-filled activities.
Coinciding with the city’s 44th charter, General Santos City’s Tuna Festival is an annual celebration of the ocean’s blessings of tuna. This year’s festival invites both tourists and locals to imbibe in the bounty of the sea through fun activities, food festivals and of course, lots and lots of tuna dishes and products. The festival aims to promote General Santos City as an excellent aqua adventure and culinary destination in the country. Street parties, flea markets, photography contests and exhibits, parades, and pageants are slated to entertain an expectedly large number of visitors during the festivities.
History buffs will certainly appreciate the activities during the World Heritage Cities Solidarity Day. Being the most well-preserved heritage town in the Philippines, Vigan hosts the annual event along with other places all over the world with heritage sites. Highlights of this special day are Repazzo de Vigan, Historia Oral, Putajes de Ayer and Fotografias de Recuerdos. Repazzo de Vigan is a parade wherein participants depict the life of the townsfolk during the Spanish Era until the World War II. Following the parade is Historia Oral, a storytelling of the city’s history and culture from the mouth of its oldest residents. Putajes de Ayer is a food festival where one can get a taste of Vigan’s greatest culinary offerings. Fotografias de Recuerdos is an exhibit of paintings and photographs showcasing the heritage city.
From the golden days, let’s head on to the modern era. The internationally-famous band Maroon 5 visits the Philippines for the third time on September 15 in a concert at the country’s biggest venue, the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Fans of the band will surely scream their lungs out as front man Adam Levine starts churning the first notes of Moves like Jagger. The Philippines has recently become a major concert venue for Hollywood artists such as Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj and soon, the American Idol 11 finalists on their World Tour. Concert fans love the Philippines for two reasons: tickets are cheap and the crowds are amazing.
An island blanketed by mystery and horror stories, a typical Filipino grows up thinking that Siquijor is home to witches and sorcerers who do nothing but curse people who do them harm. Wrong. Siquijor is a beautiful province with old-world architecture, stunning beaches and natural wonders. The province celebrates its charter through a week-long event which culminates on the Araw ng Siquijor (Day of Siquijor). The festivities will highlight the provinces many offerings on attractions, culture, history and culinary delights.
The island of Siargao is known as the Surfing Capital of the Philippines, with waves that can easily compete with those of Australia, Indonesia and Hawaii. September sees an influx of surfing enthusiasts as well as spectators in Siargao for the National Surfing Cup. Local surfers compete against each other and winners will then represent the country in the upcoming International Surfing Cup. Surfing is not the only highlight of this event; there are lots of beach parties and other activities centered on the bohemian beach vibe Siargao is famous for.
After the national finals is the bigger and grander Siargao International Surfing Cup participated by some of the best surfers in the world. Now in its 18th year, the international competition also aims to promote the region as an exciting destination not only for surfers but to eco-adventure seekers as well. The event will be sponsored by famous brand Quicksilver and the Philippine’s Department of Tourism. Cash prizes for this surfing competition amount to US$10,000. The event rides on the central theme of the tourism department “It’s MORE fun in the Philippines”.