Cebu is known for its fun-loving, and sometimes happy-go-lucky, people. However, if you think Cebu only has the Sinulog Festival, then clearly you still know very little about the province. This is because Cebu has more than forty festivals celebrated in its many towns and municipalities at different times of the year. After all, Cebuanos love merry-making, dances, and, of course, food.
However, a lot of these festivals were born just recently. These festivals are in response to incumbent Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia’s call for each town in the province to hold an annual festival as a way of enriching Cebuano culture and promoting tourism. In that, each town and municipality brainstormed and came up with their festivals that reflect their area’s culture, products or values.
Here are some of Cebu’s most popular town festivals:
1. Kadaugan sa Mactan, Lapu-Lapu City
The Kadaugan sa Mactan is probably the most famous of Cebu’s “minor” festivals. This is a yearly reenactment of the Battle of Mactan, which is known in world history as the battle that killed Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in the hands of the native chieftain Lapu-lapu. These event honors local chieftain Lapu-Lapu, who stood up against the Spaniards when they landed on the shores of Mactan Island, now called Lapu-Lapu City, in 1521. This festival is a week-long affair, with the reenactment as the highlight. Usually, they get popular actors or celebrities to play the parts of Lapu-Lapu, his wife Bulakna, and Magellan. One of the recent stars included boxing legend Manny Pacquiao and actor Dennis Trillo. Other activities during this event include band concerts, a food fair, and a bazaar.
2. Lechon Festival, Talisay City
Lechon or roast pig is always a part of any special event or major gathering among Filipinos. No Filipino wedding, baptism, fiesta, and even birthday will ever be complete without this delicacy. And Cebu is known throughout the country as having the tastiest and most crispy-skinned lechon. When it is from Cebu, it is bound to be yummy. However, Cebuanos know that when it comes to lechon, the ones from Talisay City are the best, with golden brown and crackling skin and with tender, juicy and delicious meat. This is why on October 15 of each year, the feast of Talisay’s patron saint – Saint Teresa of Avila, the Talisaynons hold the Inasal (Cebuano term for lechon) Festival, where there is a good supply of lechon for everybody.
3. Kabkaban Festival, Carcar City
The Kabkaban Festival is the highlight of Carcar’s annual fiesta in honor of St. Catherine of Alexandria, who is the town’s patron saint. The Kabkaban Festival is celebrated with street dancing and gay and colorful parades. There is also a religious procession with carrozas (carriages) holding life-size statues of characters that make up Saint Catherine’s life and martyrdom.
4. Mantawi Festival, Mandaue City
The Mantawi Festival is celebrated in May of each year in the city of Mandaue. The festival’s name came from a kind of tree that grew abundantly on the shores of Cebu at the time the Spaniards came to visit the area in 1521. The festival is held to celebrate the founding of the historical Spanish settlement in Mandawe. The highlight of the Mantawi festival is a parade of street dancers and dioramas that showcase Mandaue’s history and culture. There are also food fests, floats, a trade fair, and some sporting events.
5. Kinsan Festival, Aloguinsan
The Kinsan Festival is held in the southern Cebu municipality of Aloguinsan every second Sunday of June, during the Kinsan season. Kinsan is the local term for a big, gray-colored fish believed to be abundant only in Aloguinsan waters. The festival features dances by colorfully clad contingents and showcasing original dance steps imitating the movement of the Kinsan fish.
Other noteworthy festivals in Cebu include:
* Bodbod Festival in Catmon
* Bonga Festival in Sibonga
* Caballo Festival in Compostela
* Camotes Cassava Festival in Tudela, Camotes Island
* Dinagat Bakasi Festival in Cordova
* Haladaya Festival in Daan Bantayan
* Kabanhawan Festival in Minglanilla
* Kabayo Festival in Mandaue City
* Kabuhian Festival in Ronda
* Karansa Festival in Danao City
* Kawayan Festival in Alegria
* Kuyayang Festival in Bogo City
* Palawod Festival in Bantayan, Bantayan Island
* Pitlagong Festival in Argao
* Sadsad Festival in Oslob
* Sarok Festival in Consolacion
* Semana Santa sa Bantayan, Bantayan, Bantayan Island
* Silmugi Festival in Borbon
* Siloy Festival in Alcoy
* Sinanggiyaw Festival in Dumanjug
* Soli-Soli Festival in San Francisco, Camotes Island
* Tagbo Festival in Poro, Camotes Island
* Tartanilla Festival in Cebu City
* Tostado Festival in Santander
Indeed, Cebu province is home to colorful festivals celebrated with high spirits and great excitement. Visitors can fill up a year’s calendar visiting various places and at the same time witnessing all these festivals.