5 Philippine Festivals Held at the Beach


The Philippines is rich in festivals, heritage sites, delicious food, and beach resorts. These elements continue to attract tourists to visit and relish the beauty and culture of the Philippines. Of course, traveling all 7,640 islands to experience every cuisine, festival, and beach resort is an impossible task. But did you know you can enjoy Philippine festivals held on the beach?

Sophie Gianan
Iloilo's Dinagyang Festival is set in the streets of Iloilo. Wonder how a festival set in a beach would look like? Read below. 

Take a look at these five festivities celebrated in a few of the Philippines’ prized beach resorts. There, you’ll enjoy good food, be familiar with Filipino religiosity, and be immersed in local culture:

Lambayok Festival

San Juan, Batangas is a primary beach resort hotspot near Metro Manila. Laiya Beach is its most popular beach resort, welcoming many tourists from Metro Manila seeking a zen and relaxing gateway spot.

San Juan is also home to the Lambayok Festival, an annual feast usually held every December 9 to 12 that celebrates the town’s founding anniversary. The festival’s name is a portmanteau of San Juan’s thriving industries: lambanog (coconut wine), palayok (clay pot making), and karagatan (ocean).

While Lambayok Festival only spans four days, it offers several activities and events that onlookers will enjoy. These events include street dance competitions, beauty pageants, and food fests. Other events may also include mural painting contests and bartending competitions near San Juan’s beach resorts.

Since Lambayok is a primary festival in San Juan, it is best to book accommodations early. If you can’t find inns or hotels available in San Juan, check out the apartments for rent in Batangas City. These accommodations are also accessible to other notable destinations within Batangas.

Boracay Food Festival

No Philippine festival is complete without food! At the Boracay Food Festival, visitors will enjoy an overflow of local Boracay cuisine and other local Western Visayan dishes. You can catch the three-day festival next year on the second week of May. Local and foreign tourists will surrey get their fill and taste every flavor they can while they attend the festival.

The main highlight of the Boracay Food Festival is the cooking competition. Attendees may learn about how locals prepare different dishes and what flavors they use.

Baliw-Baliw Festival

Some festivals in the Philippines take on the weird route. Take the Baliw-Baliw Festival of Olango, Lapu-Lapu City as an example. Instead of the usual colorful street dances and beauty pageants, the festival features men cross-dressing, people “selling” animal dung as food, cross-dressers carrying a large wooden phallic figure, and participants “giving birth” by the beaches’ shores. The festival’s name derives from the Filipino word “crazy,” hence the peculiar practices of locals during the feast.

Despite the festival’s unusual celebrations, Baliw-Baliw Festival symbolizes the people’s struggles with their faith and what they have learned from their pagan ancestors. Many events showcase actions that may incur God’s wrath. Ironically, the festival is also celebrated in honor of San Vicente Ferrer.

Hibok-Hibok Festival

Many Philippine festivals commemorate the country’s long-standing Catholic faith and traditions. For example, Camiguin Island’s Hibok-Hibok Festival honors St. John the Baptist. Highlights of the festival include bathing in the ocean (a reenactment of St. John’s baptismal of Jesus), colorful street dances, and food festivals.

The best part about the Hibok-Hibok Festival is that people who don’t have enough to buy food will be given all sorts of treats and delicacies. Attendees will never go hungry with dishes such as bubbled bananas and sweet potato snacks.

Paraw Regatta

Celebrated on the third Sunday of February, the Paraw Regatta Festival of Iloilo City features sailboats, boat races, and other fun activities by the beach. If you plan to attend every event in Paraw Regatta, plan your itinerary ahead of time. You’ll need to make the most of the hours exploring different competitions and the flocked-to Paraw boat race.

Attending these five festivals by the beach is one way to explore the Philippines’ diverse and beautiful culture. You’ll also enjoy different cuisines, meet new people, and get the chance to recharge and unwind until you get back to your work in the city.