July Festivals in Mindanao You’ll Surely Love

July is a month full of excitement and festivities in Mindanao, Philippines. From street dances to colorful parades, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Whether a local or a tourist, you will want to experience the vibrant celebrations all over the island. We’ve got you covered if you’re wondering what makes these July festivals in Mindanao unique.

In this article, we’ll explore the best reasons to visit Mindanao in July and experience the unique culture and traditions that make it such a special place. From the delicious food to the lively music, there’s no shortage of reasons why these festivals are a must-see. So, prepare your bags and get ready to immerse yourself in Mindanao’s rich and diverse culture!

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Here’s a list of the top July festivals in Mindanao you shouldn’t miss:

Grand Kaliga Festival (July 23, Gingoog City)

The Kaliga festival is a joyful celebration of abundance and success that originates from the Manobo and Higaonon people of the city. It’s a thanksgiving to God for all the blessings, bountiful harvests, successful hunting, campaigns, the birth of a child, and any recoveries from misfortune and illness. Usually, the festival will last five to seven days but can go on longer.

The ritual will begin with a prayer to God Almighty and then recount the history of the renowned people, legends, and the home. Symbols, such as a flame or lighting of light, will be offered. The festival will feature the Binanog Dance, an agile movement around a banana tree. The Sharp Mother Hen dance is a movement of a mother hen protecting her chicks, and the Inuwang dance shows the chasing of shrimps.

Planting and gathering dances to gather corn, coffee, root crops, and banana will also occur. Finally, dancers perform mysterious dances to communicate with supernatural creatures, accompanied by drums, gongs, wood, and bamboo.

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July Festivals in Mindanao: Subayan Keg Subanen Festival (July 16, Ozamiz City)

The city of Ozamis celebrates its annual Subayan Keg Subanen Festival, a street dancing event, as part of the festivities. In addition, all secondary schools in the city participated with a total of fourteen contingents to promote tourism in Misamis Occidental.

The event featured unique Subanen dance moves, symbolizing the culture of the city’s early settlers, similar to Cebu’s Sinulog. It was lively, with colorful costumes and grandiose props. The Department of Education took extra steps to advance tourism in Misamis Occidental further.

The dance told the courtship story and how Subanens express love for each other. The dedication of every participant is evident, and each contingent has a princess as the lead dancer.

Kahimoan Abayan Festival (Last week of July, Butuan City)

Manobo dancing during the Abayan festival (Source: Herbert Kikoy/Wikimedia Commons)

Every July, Butuan City celebrates the Abayan Festival in honor of St. Anne, the Patroness of the Agusan River. This riverside festival features Baroto Races and indigenous games for men, women, and children, culminating in a Fluvial Parade. Since the late 1880s, the Abayan Festival has been a yearly tradition of prayer, culminating in a fluvial parade along the Agusan River in homage to Santa Ana.

The name “Abayan” comes from “abay,” which translates to “to control.” It recognizes the need to cross the Agusan River safely, as it was a central hub for trade and human traffic before the Spanish era. In addition, it is a testament to the strength of the people and its diverse communities, which have grown with the river throughout the ages.

The event is not only to honor the river’s patron saint but to recognize the historical significance of the Agusan River. The river holds excellent historical value as it is with it that Butuan flourished as a city, and coincidently, the festival marks the 66th charter day of the town, known as the Adlaw Hong Butuan celebration.

July Festivals in Mindanao: Kinabayo Festival (July 23 – 27, Dapitan City)

Kinabayo Festival (Source: Rio Ubatay/Wikimedia Commons)

The Kinabayo Festival of Dapitan City is a tradition that has been going on for many years. It is celebrated annually with various activities showing the region’s rich history and culture. The festival originated from the ancient ritual of the Subanon people, who used to celebrate it to give thanks for bountiful harvests. Today, the festival is a grand event that includes street dancing, cultural shows, and fireworks. It is a popular tourist attraction and has become essential to the city’s identity.

Even though it’s rooted in religion, the Kinabayo festival has developed into a social and economic celebration. As a result, it has become an integral part of the area, and when combined with the city’s historical significance, it paints a fuller portrait of the event.

Filipinos are renowned for their festive spirit, and the Kinabayo Festival is no exception. The city has a month-long extravaganza of special programs and activities to commemorate its patron saint.

Activities During the Kinabayo Festival

Kinabayo Festival Queen (Source: Rio Ubatay/Wikimedia Commons)

Many take a few moments each morning to offer prayers to the divine. This practice shows gratitude, asks for guidance, and provides thanks for the day’s blessings. It can range from a simple tradition from generation to generation to a more meaningful and heartfelt spiritual exercise. No matter the form, morning prayers offer a way to start the day with a positive attitude and a reminder of the spiritual world.

A river’s procession is incredible, with its meandering flow and majestic beauty. It is a worldwide spectacle, from the Nile in Egypt to the Amazon in South America. This kind of parade is a reminder of the power of nature and its capacity to create beauty and life. It is also a source of inspiration for many, providing a glimpse into the wonders of the natural world.

The traditional welcome known as “Patunob” is a lively celebration of the patron saint:

  • Locals wave “parpagayo,” or San Franciscan leaves, as the Senor Santiago statue passes the streets to the church.
  • Sinug and Loa, a storytelling session about the saint’s life and accomplishments, ensues.
  • The festivities end with a parade of people dressed in vibrant costumes, dancing joyously.

You can hear the sound of clattering hooves filling the streets of Granada and see the fluttering banners as a parade of horses passes. It commemorates the Spanish-Moorish War, with re-enactments of the epic battles between the two sides.

Many exciting events are held throughout the month, from sports tournaments and dance competitions to beauty pageants. Motor events are also quite popular, with drag racing, motocross, mountain bike races, speed trail races, war games, skydiving exhibitions, horse races, regattas, and jetski exhibitions being among the most beloved. With so much to do, it’s no wonder locals, and visitors anticipate this month full of yearly festivities.


Final Thoughts

The above are just some festivals you can enjoy in the Mindanao region in July. Check out the other festivals and events extending into August to ensure you get everything. Not only is it a great time to visit the Philippines, but you can also experience the unique cultures and traditions of the region while you’re at it.

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