October Festivals in the Visayas You’ll Love

This Philippine group of islands is famous for its vibrant and colorful October festivals in the Visayas. With the arrival of the cooler months, locals and tourists flock to the streets to celebrate and indulge in the region’s rich culture and traditions.

From lively street dances and parades to music festivals and food fairs, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So whether you’re a fan of music or food or simply immersing yourself in the local culture, you’ll find plenty to love in the Visayas during this festive season.

So, get ready to don your colorful outfits, grab your cameras, and join in the revelry as we explore the October festivals in the Visayas that you won’t want to miss!

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October Festivals in the Visayas: Dilaab Festival (October 1, Siquijor)

‘Dilaab’ embodies the unique warmth and hospitality that Siquijodnons are famous for, and the island’s last name, “Isla de Fuego,” is attributed to the numerous fireflies that call the island home at night.

The celebration also acknowledges Siquijor’s natural treasures and pays tribute to the town’s patron saint, St. Francis of Assisi, renowned for his deep appreciation of nature. The tone of voice is friendly.

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Sinanggiyaw Festival (October 4, Dumanjug, Cebu)

Have you heard of the Sinanggiyaw Festival in Dumanjug, Cebu, Philippines? It’s a fabulous celebration that happens every October! Sinanggi-yaw comes from two Cebuano words, Sinanggi, which means the wealth of collected rural results of our ranchers, and Sayaw, which means dance.

During the festival, the locals showcase their happy and abundant way of life and farm products through dance and merriment. Though it used to be more religious, it still holds the theme of giving thanks to God for the bountiful harvests.

The Sinanggiyaw Festival is not just a way to attract tourists but also a platform to promote the rich local culture, costumes, and traditions. Moreover, the festival aims to educate the younger generation about the importance of their land’s resources.

It’s a fascinating and engaging celebration you wouldn’t want to miss!

Halad-Inasal Festival (October 15, Talisay, Cebu)

Children performers during the Halad-Inasal Festival (Source: Mark Linel Padecio/Wikimedia Commons)

Have you heard of the Halad Inasal Festival in Talisay, Cebu, Philippines? It’s an annual cultural and food festival every October 15th. The festival showcases the famous lechon (roasted pig) for which the city is known, coinciding with the patronal feast of St. Therese of Avila.

Halad Inasal comes from the local words “halad,” meaning offer, and “inasal,” which refers to something roasted. Inasal specifically refers to roasted whole pig, also known nationwide as lechong baboy or lechon.

The festival aims to bring Talisay’s lechon to the forefront of the island’s cultural and culinary scene. Previous celebrations featured a parade of lechon in the streets, although the displays have become more toned down in recent years with less lechon in the parade and the use of styrofoam in the shape of a roasted pig.

Overall, the Halad Inasal Festival is a friendly and festive celebration worth checking out if you’re in the area.

October Festivals in the Visayas: Tugob Festival (October 22 – 24, Ormoc City, Leyte)

Ormoc City’s Tugob Festival is a festival of thanksgiving. The festival was exciting, with lively music, vibrant costumes, and enthusiastic participants. The word “Tugob” means abundant or plenteous, and the festival was a way for the city to express gratitude for their bountiful harvest and natural resources.

Haw-as Festival (October 25 – 28, Dumangas, Iloilo)

Hey there! Have you heard of the Haw-as Festival in Dumangas, Iloilo? It’s a fantastic cultural and seafood festival every last week of October.

The festival runs for a week and celebrates the rich heritage and vibrant local culture of Dumangas, along with its seafood industry, primarily the production of bangus (milkfish). It’s also a time for giving thanks for a bountiful harvest and honoring the heroism of Filipino patriot Colonel Quintin Salas.

Aswang Festival (October 29 – 30, Roxas City, Capiz)

The Aswang Festival in Roxas City is a major cultural celebration that aims to change the negative connotation associated with the area known for the mythical creature of aswang.

This festival is held annually at the end of October in time for All Saints Day or undas in the Philippines. It’s like the local version of Halloween, where people of all ages eagerly await the parade of participants dressed up as mythical creatures like tikbalang, wak-wak, and kapre.

Aside from the parade, there’s an exchange fair where you can find the famous Capiznon seafood products and other local delicacies. Although the first Aswang Festival received negative feedback from the local church, the organizers continued with the event.

Their goal is to change the negative perception of Capiz as a home of aswang by treating it as a myth and removing the stigma attached to the word.

The festival aims to promote Capiz as one of the country’s exciting tourist destinations, with its beautiful beaches and scenic landscapes. Additionally, through the exchange fair, small business entrepreneurs can promote local products to help boost the region’s economy.

October Festivals in the Philippines: Masskara Festival (4th Sunday of October, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental)

Masskara Festival parade (Souce: Michol Sanchez/Wikimedia Commons)

The festival is similar to Brazil’s Rio Carnival and is celebrated every October in Bacolod. MassKara means “many faces” and gets its name after the smiling masks worn by festival-goers. Bacolod City’s nickname is  “The City of Smiles” because of these masks!

The MassKara Festival started during a difficult time in the province’s history. The main livelihood, sugar, was at an all-time low, and a terrible famine affected an estimated one million people. The festival aimed to lift the locals’ spirits and bring back smiles to their faces.

The Arts Association of Bacolod-Negros conducted workshops to teach residents how to make masks using coconut husks and paper mâché. The initial plan was to sell these masks to tourists as souvenirs, but luckily the idea for a festival was born and became a huge hit! Tourists can even wear masks while touring Bacolod’s tourist spots.


Final Thoughts

Christmas is just around the corner, and Visayas is already starting to feel the festive vibe this October. Shopping malls gear up for the holiday season with significant sales, while some neighborhoods celebrate Halloween with trick-or-treating and spooky costumes.

Although attending festivals is a great way to enjoy October in the Visayas, simply soaking in the festive spirit is also worth it. So let’s catch up soon!

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