Visit These Popular January Festivals in the Philippines

Start the year on a fun note by visiting these January festivals in the Philippines!

Other than strength and resilience, if there’s one thing that Filipinos are known for, it’s their warmth and hospitality. This is why celebrations have become part of the Philippine culture, with festivals happening regularly.

The month of January is not just the start of the year but marks the start of several festivals in the country—most of which are based on Catholic beliefs. We list the must-see January festivals in the Philippines that you definitely need to experience firsthand. Take a look!

Kuyamis Festival: January 6 to 11

Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro are currently celebrating the Kuyamis Festival, which takes inspiration from the coconut that locals call kuyamis. Aside from the parties and street dances, one of the events held as part of the festival is the Miss Kuyamis competition.

The winner of the Miss Kuyamis competition is then sent to a national pageant to compete.

One of the festivals in the Philippines on January: Kurayami Festival
Source: Miss Kuyamis

The Black Nazarene: January 9

January starts with the Feast of the Black Nazarene. As early as late December, several devotees already have their Black Nazarene replicas blessed. Meanwhile, many devotees troop to Quiapo Church in Manila every January 9 to show their devotion to the Black Nazarene, which is said to grant wishes and heal those who touch it.

Sinulog Festival: Third Sunday of January

The Sinulog Festival in Cebu is one of the most popular festivals tourists and people from the Philippines visit. The festival is one of three festivals that commemorate the Child Jesus or Sto. Niño. Sinulog is derived from the word “sulog,” or water current.

The festival traces its roots back to 1521 when Magellan arrived in Cebu and gave a Sto. Niño statue to Queen Juana, the wife of the local chieftain Humabon, to celebrate their baptism.

Ati-Atihan Festival: Third Sunday of January

Ati-Atihan is another festival dedicated to the Sto. Niño—this time in Kalibo, Aklan.

The story of the Ati-Atihan is said to have started when a fisherman found a wood while fishing. He tried to throw it back, but it kept coming back to him. After bringing said piece of wood back, the fisherman has been blessed since.

Ati-Atihan means “making like Atis,” which are the natives of Aklan. They color themselves in black and dress in tribal costumes. They mark their celebration with music and shouts of “Hala Bira.”

Dinagyang Festival: Fourth Sunday of January

Set in Iloilo, Dinagyang is the third festival that pays tribute to the Sto. Niño. “Dinagyang” is a Hiligaynon word that means merrymaking. It also celebrates the pact between the Datus and its locals. Like Ati-Atihan and Sinulog, Dinagyang features street dances. What’s more, it’s the last festival that closes the fiestas in January.

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