5 Exciting Festivals in Cebu You Shouldn’t Miss

Share this: 

The Sinulog Festival continues to attract around 2 million visitors every year.

Festivals are an iconic part of Cebuano culture and tradition. These celebrations, whether big or small, have greatly represented the vibrancy of the devoted Cebuanos, whose faith has been anchored to centuries-old beliefs. 

For instance, during Sinulog week, thousands of people will gather in the church to attend mass and converge on the streets for a solemn procession. 

Aside from these religious activities, festivals in Cebu are also a great source of entertainment. They boast some of the loudest, most spectacular celebrations in the country.

There’s a wide spectrum of festivals all over the different cities, municipalities, and islands. Each place has its own way of celebrating its customs, folklore, and artifacts that people give so much importance to. 

So whether you’re hoping to learn more about a place or looking to have a good time, attending some of the festivals in Cebu would no doubt bring you the best experience you could ever have.

1. Sinulog Festival

Sinulog festival contingent

Sinulog Festival is an annual cultural celebration in Cebu held every third Sunday of January.

Once the month of January begins, you’ll start to hear the locals chanting “Prititit!” and “Pit Senyor!” The streets will be filled with music and colorful displays in preparation for the famous Sinulog Festival.

This is also one of the most popular festivals in the Philippines. While the main activities are held in Cebu City, other parts of the province of Cebu host smaller versions of the Sinulog Festival. 

The festival is a way for Cebuanos to honor Sto. Niño. Traditionally, religious activities last nine days. Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño hosts the mass, which is attended by hundreds and thousands of devotees. The last two days of the festival feature the festival’s most prominent religious activities. 

On the eighth day, there will be a traditional fluvial procession, where the image of Sto. Niño will be transported on a flower-ornamented pump boat from Mandaue City wharf to Cebu City. 

On the ninth day, you can witness and take part in two important events: Hubo Ritual Mass and the Grand Parade. 

The Sinulog Festival is not only for religious activities. During the nine-day celebration, you can also watch musical acts, cultural shows, pageants, singing competitions, historical exhibits, and so on. That’s why over a million visitors and tourists flock to Cebu to experience this grand festival. 

If you’re wondering how you can enjoy your experience of the Sinulog Festival, here’s what you can look forward to: 

  • Enjoy street parties and live bands 
  • Catch the Sinulog Fireworks display
  • Join a tour of Cebu City
  • Witness the Sinulog Grand Parade 

2. Kadaugan sa Mactan Festival

a photo of the re-enactment of Kadaugan sa Mactan Festival

The Kadaugan sa Mactan Festival honors the triumph of the historic battle in Mactan, which has become a significant part of Cebuano culture.

The Battle of Mactan left a significant mark in the history of Cebu. The defeat of Ferdinand Magellan at the hands of Chief Lapu-Lapu and his warriors freed the Cebuano people from the Spaniards. 

With this, the Battle of Mactan, also known as “Kadaugan sa Mactan,” is annually re-enacted on its anniversary, April 27th, at the Mactan Shrine in Lapu-Lapu City. 

Kadaugan sa Mactan Festival will kick off a week early with street dancing. During this time, you can join the food festival, in which several hotels and restaurants present themselves and offer fine food for a cheap price. 

The re-enactment of the Kadaugan sa Mactan is performed by several high-profile individuals and celebrities from local networks. During the re-enactment, the three ships of Magellan are made to lead a river procession up to the beach. 

The act is followed by the re-enactment of the planting of Magellan’s Cross, leading to the final act of Lapu-Lapu’s victory. 

Before the main event, the Kadaugan sa Mactan Festival showcases other lively events. One of which is a three-night street party organized by the whole community. 

The “Rampada sa Kalsada,” which is translated as “rampage on the streets,” is a noisy and crowded feast of entertainment stations with food kiosks and disco dancing. 

Every year, Mactan island actively promotes the importance of this remarkable history that has widely impacted Cebuano culture. The celebration also shows respect for the hard-fought battle for the people’s freedom. 

3. Halad Inasal Festival

No one can deny that Cebu has the most scrumptious and crispy lechon in the Philippines. Lechon in Cebu is best known for its golden-red skin and juicy, tender meat. This served as an inspiration to the people of Talisay City, who came up with the Halad Inasal Festival. 

The Halad Inasal Festival features a parade of lechons, where performers will be dancing in colorful and exquisite costumes. The ritual showdown of the Halad Inasal Festival is celebrated every 15th of October to pay tribute to their patron saint, Sta. Teresa de Avila. 

The first Halad Inasal Festival was held in 2005, where over a hundred roasted pigs were paraded. At the end of the parade, those roasted pigs were placed on the long tables of city hall, and the participating contingents were invited to eat the lechon. 

4. Sugat Kabanhawan Festival

a photo of some religious activities of Sugat Kabanhawan

Sugat Kabanhawan Festival in Minglanilla is one of the most celebrated religious activities during Easter Sunday.

The municipality of Minglanilla in Cebu is distinctly known for being the “Sugat Capital” of the south. The event is well-known in town because it symbolizes devotion to the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. 

The Sugat Kabanhawan Festival is held every Easter Sunday. The celebration starts with the Grand Sugat-Kabanhawan presentation as early as 3:00 AM. 

The “Sugat” is a re-enactment of the glorious meeting of the Risen Christ and the Sorrowful Mother. This act is performed in front of thousands of parishioners, devotees, and spectators from all over Minglanilla. 

Trivia: The word “sugat” means meeting, and the word “kabanhawan” means resurrection. 

After the re-enactment, there are still plenty of activities in store for the rest of the day. Some of which are the local farmers cheering on for the carabao race, street dancing performances, and the ritual showdown. 

5. Kabkaban Festival

The Kabkaban Festival is a series of dance rituals that are believed to be a way of fending off bad spirits. 

The term “kabkaban” is derived from the word “kabkab” – where abundant grass species grow. This grass is believed to be the instrument that drives away bad luck and bad spirits through dance rituals. 

It’s celebrated in honor of the town’s patron saint, St. Catherine of Alexandria, in Carcar City. Kabkaban Festival also represents various resources and traditions of Carcar, including its history, arts, and locally made products. 

The Kabkaban Festival is now held primarily to attract tourists to the city rather than to drive bad spirits away. Carcaranons want to convey a more positive message and attract more positive energy to the city.

Other Festivals in Cebu

  • Haladaya Festival in Daanbantayan
  • La Torta Festival in Argao 
  • Pintos Festival in Bogo City
  • Tostado Festival in Santander 
  • Palawod Festival in Bantayan
  • Kaumahan Festival in Barili
  • Dinagat Bakasi Festival in Cordova
  • Siloy Festival in Alcoy
  • Karansa Festival in September

Want to enjoy the many exciting festivals in Cebu while learning more about Cebuano culture? Book a plane ticket now and don’t miss the best that Cebu has to offer.

Share this: 

Other posts

Wide shot of the Boljoon Church

Boljoon Church: Stolen Panels from the 1980s Resurfaced

This is the Boljoon Church, also known as the Patrocinio de Maria Church. Many Catholic Filipinos, especially from Cebu, are familiar with the Boljoon Church.  This is one of the only Spanish colonization era parishes still standing, with its centuries-old architecture and design. It is also one of the oldest Augustinian churches in Cebu. In

Read More
Recreational activities found at Above the Corner rooftop cafe

Above the Corner Rooftop Cafe: Board Games, Coffee, & More!

This rooftop cafe has arcade games that you can play with friends. Coffee shops in Cebu have gotten more and more interesting. Gone are the days when they were just places where you could hang out with friends or get some work done over a cup of coffee. Over the years, not only have these

Read More
Wide shot of the Little Kyoto sign

Sachiko’s Little Kyoto Brings Japan to Cebu

Experience a Japan-like attraction at Cebu’s very own Little Kyoto! Are you a fan of Japanese culture?  Have you ever dreamed of traveling to Japan one day? If you answered yes to both questions, it’s time for you to check out Cebu’s very own Little Kyoto! This one-of-a-kind destination is perfect for both tourists and

Read More
Wide shot of the interiors of the Napolitani Pizza Parlor

Enjoy Savory Italian Pizza at Napolitani Pizzeria Cebu

Welcome to Napolitani Pizzeria, your new favorite place to get Italian pizza! Pizza, the only love triangle anyone wants.  Italian pizza is a timeless dish that’s hard to say no to. Whether you’re getting one for yourself or sharing it with loved ones, you’re sure to have a delightful experience with pizza, especially if it’s

Read More
Sitting on a bench in the woods are cheap valentine's activities

Post Valentine’s Date Ideas for Couples on a Budget

Avoid traffic and crowds on February 14th. Go on a post Valentine’s date instead! Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels   Let’s be real. Some people just don’t have the time for Valentine’s Day.  Maybe they have a lot to do at work, or maybe they can’t afford a fancy dinner right now. It may

Read More
A car parked in front of Unity Coffee & Vinyl, a new cafe for breakfast in Cebu

A New Hip Record Store in Cebu: Unity Coffee & Vinyl

Embark on a unique dining experience at this restaurant that’s also a record store! Looking to elevate your dining experience? There’s a lot to love about the newest and hottest hangout spot in town. Unity Coffee & Vinyl is both a restaurant cafe and record store, known for serving good coffee, food, and you guessed

Read More

Best of Cebu Videos

Scroll to Top
×
Weather Forecast
Exchange Currency
Cebu City
82°
Mostly Cloudy
5:59 am5:54 pm PST
Feels like: 90°F
Wind: 13mph NE
Humidity: 73%
Pressure: 29.89"Hg
UV index: 0

Exchange Rate USD: Thu, 29 Feb.