July Festivals in the Visayas Worth Experiencing

The Philippines has diverse cultures, so we have plenty of fiestas to celebrate them. In addition, we’re a nation that loves to have fun, so the July festivals in the Visayas are worth checking out. To make your vacation unforgettable, we’ve compiled a list of the most popular Visayan festivities in July.

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July Festivals in the Visayas: Panagsogod Festival (July 25, Sogod, Cebu)

Farmland and tropical forest in Sogod, Cebu (Source: Matt Kieffer/Wikimedia Commons)

The town’s Panagsogod Festival is a yearly celebration held on July 25 in honor of its patron saint, St. James the Apostle. It is a way for the residents to express gratitude for the blessings they receive each year and to showcase the town’s culture. “Panagsogod” means “beginning” in Cebuano, and the city is known for its beach resorts, hot springs, and waterfalls. During the festival, contingents compete in street dancing and for the best costumes.

Principal dancers from several continents can become the Panagsogod Festival Queen. The festival highlights the town’s rich cultural heritage and its natural wonders. The town’s residents work together to ensure the success of the event. If you plan to attend, you should arrive a day or two before the street dancing competition to prepare and explore the town’s sights.

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Banig Festival (July 7, Badian, Cebu)

Fish pond in Badian Island, Cebu (Source: George Parrilla/Wikimedia Commons)

If you’ve checked the July festivals in Luzon, why not check this next? The Banig Festival is a celebration in Badian Municipality, Cebu Province, held annually on July 7 to simultaneously occur with the feast day of Saint James the Apostle. The festival showcases the local culture and tradition, as well as the people’s religious beliefs and appreciation for their source of livelihood. The Banig, a hand-woven ethnic floor mat made from local plant leaves or stalks, is a prominent festival feature. Visitors can purchase various organic products, including the Banig mat, during the festival.

The festivities commence with a colorful procession, which includes various groups with unique themes related to the celebration. The parade leads to the town center for the day’s festivities. The festival features different competitions, such as beauty contests for women and Banig-weaving and dance presentations by other groups. Finally, the groups perform dance routines while parading toward the designated venue.

Sandugo Festival (Whole month of July, Tagbilaran City, Bohol)

Sandugo Streetdancing (Source: ControlFreakMe/Wikimedia Commons)

Bohol is a popular island province in Central Visayas, famous for its natural wonders, such as the iconic Chocolate Hills and the adorable tarsiers. The region attracts local and foreign tourists with its stunning white-sand beaches, waterfalls, diving sites, and islands offering a wide range of fun activities. Some must-try experiences include a lunch cruise along the Loboc River, snorkeling at Alona Beach, exploring Hinagdanan Cave, and taking IG-worthy pictures at Bilar Man-Made Forest.

Bohol is not only known for its breathtaking attractions but also for its rich cultural heritage, tradition, and history. One of the most celebrated provincial festivities here is the Sandugo Festival in Tagbilaran City, which takes place every July. The festival commemorates the historic blood compact between Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and local chieftain Datu Sikatuna in 1565. The month-long celebration showcases typical Boholano hospitality and colorful culture through street dancing parades, trade fairs, concerts, and singing contests.

July Festivals in the Visayas: Highlights of the Sandugo Festival

Bohol’s grand festival boasts various events that showcase the rich culture and talent of the Boholanos. One of the highlights is the reenactment of the blood compact that sealed the treaty of friendship between Sikatuna and Legazpi in the 16th century. In addition, you can visit the Sandugo Shrine in Tagbilaran, where a life-sized bronze masterpiece by national artist Napoleon Abueva depicts the historical tradition.

In addition to the traditional dance called Kuradang, which is a staple on big occasions, the festival features the following:

  • Beauty pageant
  • Agricultural/trade fair
  • Song festival
  • Flower and Garden show
  • Art exhibit
  • Entertainment shows
  • Live bands
  • Night markets
  • Sports events
  • Traditional Boholano games
  • Street parties

One of the heartwarming events is the Tigum Bol-anon sa Tibook Kalibutan. It is a homecoming of Boholanos from different parts of the world. You can also enjoy delicious local cuisine and International Fusion Nights. Don’t forget to buy food from high-end restaurants and resorts in Bohol at a lower price.


Final Thoughts

The Philippines has a rich culture and history, going beyond its beautiful beaches and natural wonders. The various festivals celebrated in the country offer an excellent opportunity to learn and experience this diversity. From big to small, there are plenty of festivals to choose from, making your visit to the Philippines enjoyable.

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