The Boholano people are generally fun-loving, generous and deeply religious. These common traits have pushed them to celebrate yearly activities to an extravagant extent. Aside from the Chocolate Hills, the Panglao Island and the tarsiers of Bohol, tourists flock to the region to experience the rich culture and festivals in Bohol. With an abundance of local dishes and the excitement of its fun-filled activities, the people of Bohol come alive during these festivities. Here are some of the prominent Boholano celebrations tourist should not miss out on:
1. Sandugo Festival – The Sandugo Festival commemorates one of the most important historical events in Bohol, the Blood Compact or Sandugo between the local chieftain Datu Sikatuna and Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, the Spanish explorer. Activities such as beauty pageants, sports events, entertainment shows, agricultural fairs and street dancing fill the entire month of July. More than a mere celebration, the festival is a memorial of the love for peace and friendship of the people of Bohol.
2. Tagbilaran City Fiesta – Bohol’s most prominent city kicks off the list of festivities as it celebrates the feast of Saint Joseph The Worker on Labor Day. This fiesta is often the precursor to the other month-long festivals held in Bohol with beauty pageants, stage plays and musicals that highlight the occasion.
3. Ubi Festival – This agricultural event is held during the month of January as the region celebrates the ubi as the crop which has contributed much to the agricultural and historical significance to the people of Bohol. A display of different kinds of ubi, contests and even cultural shows mark the celebration.
4. Bolibong Kingking – This music and dance festivity celebrates the folklore, traditions and history of the town of Loboc. The festival derived its unique name from the sound of the gongs and drums that rhythmically beat together during the dance ritual in front of the Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who is the second Patron Of Loboc. Bolibong Kingking is a two-day festival being held on May 23 and 24.
5. Suroy sa Musikero – The town of Loboc continues to celebrate even post-Christmas season as people come alive with music during December 25 to February 2. Musicians scatter all over the town as they play songs for the people while moving from one area to the next. In exchange for their fine melodies of traditional Christmas hymns, musicians partake of the food served by the families of the host area.
6. Sambat Mascara y Regatta – Honoring St. Francis Xavier, this religious celebration is held during the first Sunday of December in the town of Loay. The biggest highlight of the celebration is the street dancing activity where all participants wear their most colorful masks as they strut along the main roads of the town.
Celebrations such as these have become a huge part of the local culture and festivals in Bohol, making it a prime tourist destination in the Philippines for those who love to party. Everybody is welcome to any of the celebrations, so take this opportunity and be part of unique Boholano festival life.