August Festivals in Mindanao You’ll Love

August is an excellent month for travelers to visit Mindanao, the southernmost island of the Philippines. This region is known for its colorful August festivals in Mindanao that showcase its people’s rich culture and traditions. So if you’re looking for a unique way to experience the local culture and traditions, plan a trip to Mindanao today.

There’s something for everyone, from the lively street parties to the grand parades. In this article, we’ll explore the top places to visit in Mindanao during August. Whether you’re a history buff, a food enthusiast, or simply looking for a good time, there’s sure to be a festival that will capture your heart. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and prepare for an unforgettable Mindanao adventure!

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August Festivals in Mindanao: Rajah Baguinda Festival (2nd week of August, Jolo, Sulu)

One of Mindanao’s most esteemed August festivals is the yearly Rajah Baguinda Festival. This event honors the famous Rajah Baguinda, a religious teacher from Sumatra who arrived in Mindanao in 1390 and taught locals about Islam until 1460. The story states that people in Mindanao were not keen on him coming to Sulu and even attempted to prevent him from trying to sink the boats he was riding on.

According to legend, they were unsuccessful, thus allowing him to spread Islam in the area and bringing Persians, Arabians, and other Muslim groups to Mindanao. As a result of his commitment to stay in the place, Karim-ul-Mahkdum helped Baguinda build his Islamic foundation in Sulu, as recorded in history. This event is the festival’s origin as the people of Mindanao acknowledged his work and the formation of the Sulu Sultanate Government.

During the Rajah Baguinda Festival 2017, the people of Sulu will again pay tribute to the great Baguinda in recognition of his contribution to the region. Organizers have various planned activities such as cultural performances, fluvial parades, vibrant street marches to showcase the best traditional costumes, and more to enjoy. Up to 50% off on flights to Asia!(ENG)

Sal-lupongan Festival (August 1 – 10, New Bataan, Davao de Oro)

New Bataan Municipal Center (Source: juncarlviajante/Wikimedia Commons)

The Sal-lupongan Festival is an occasion to thank God for its blessings and celebrate the community’s diversity. This ten-day event features several activities, including the indak-indak sa kadalanan, the night-time fireworks display, and the drumline competition. During the parade, the drumline rivals sport eye-catching and vivid costumes.

August Festivals in Mindanao: Pangapog Festival (August 1 – 7, Island Garden, City of Samal)

Samal Island Beach (Source: Michael E. Peligro/Wikimedia Commons)

Every 1st to the 7th of August, Samal City, Davao del Norte, celebrates the Pangapog Festival. This Thanksgiving event is for a bountiful harvest featuring Sama’s way of life. The Sama is the indigenous people of Samal, depicted in the local indigenous games, dances, and cultural competitions. The festival includes a colorful parade with street dancing, singing, and traditional performances.

To open the Pangapog Festival, a ‘Panawagtawag’ is performed by Babaylan Teresita Lugam in the Sama language. The Samas celebrate this festival to honor the spirits of their ancestors for a prosperous harvest. Every year around August, a feast follows a ritual.

The Pangapog Festival we witnessed began with excellent preparation for the ritual and feast. After arranging the ceremony materials around a ceremonial stone called the bunga, the balyan, the datus, and other selected members of the Sama clan gathered around the bunga.

Sirong Festival (August 15, Cantilan, Surigao del Sur)

The Sirong Festival is a traditional mardi-gras march, with some districts in Surigao del Sur claiming to have started it. However, most coastal towns began in pre-Spanish occupation, and the Moors threatened them. The Cantilan Sirong is the most famous of all.

People can visit with their friends and family and see the war dance between Muslims and Christians, representing the Christianization of Cantilangnon’s ancestors, the Manobos and the Mamanwas. The Municipality of Cantilan began the festival in 2004, before the town’s celebration. Many other cities in Surigao attended it, and the performers numbered in the hundreds.

Sumayajaw Festival (August 15, Jabonga, Agusan del Norte)

The Sumayajaw Festival is held annually in Jabonga on the 15th of August, the Feast of the Our Lady of Assumption, in thanksgiving for the blessings bestowed by the Heavenly Father. This town fiesta, which began with Rev. Fr. Almado C. Ecarma in 2002, brings together the Jabonganons and visitors.

It celebrates the bounties with dances, songs, and “Luwa” (lyrical poem). In 2003, two categories further enhanced the festival as a thanksgiving offering. Category A is a group dance competition with cash prizes awarded to the winners, while Category B is a non-contest participation. Through this, the Jabonganons showcased their ethnic attire and colorful props to the world. As a result, Sumayajaw Festival is an excellent attraction for locals and tourists.

August Festivals in Mindanao: Kadayawan sa Dabaw (August 20 – 24, Davao City)

Kadayawan Festival (Source: Constantine Agustin/Wikimedia Commons)

The term “Kadayawan” comes from the Mandaya language, meaning treasured or valuable, and is a time of giving thanks to the gods for a plentiful harvest. Historically, the indigenous tribes of Davao would come together to express their gratitude through rituals that included singing and dancing while displaying fruits, vegetables, flowers, rice, and corn grains.

To unite the people during a politically volatile period, Mayor Elias B. Lopez promoted the festival in 1970, and it was rebranded as “Apo Duwaling” in 1986 after three natural wonders in the region. Mayor Rodrigo Duterte rechristened the Kadayawan Festival in 1988 and has retained its name ever since.


Final Thoughts

Festivals and parades are of great importance to the Filipino culture, both culturally and socially. Therefore, attending one of these celebrations is more than just inviting someone to a party. It is an invitation to their way of life, ideals, and expression. It is an opportunity to pay homage to the culture and experience its virtuosity.

A fiesta is an occasion to witness something that cannot be found anywhere else in the Western world or Asia, particularly the August festivals in Mindanao, which the Philippines exclusively hold. It is an irreplaceable experience, even for the most seasoned travelers.

2 thoughts on “August Festivals in Mindanao You’ll Love”

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