Bohol Festivals and Feast Days

Bohol is not only famous for its stunning natural attractions and delicious cuisine but also for its vibrant festivals. Throughout the year, the province celebrates various festivals that showcase its rich cultural heritage and traditions. In this travel writeup, we will explore some of the top Bohol festivals and offer tips for planning your visit.

Bohol festivals and feast days are part and parcel of Boholano culture. Boholanos are fun-loving, generous to a fault, and deeply religious. These traits push them to celebrate and put up festivals aside from the yearly honouring of saints in respective towns and barangays of the province.

Sandugo Festival

 The Sandugo Festival is one of the most popular festivals in Bohol and is celebrated every July. The festival commemorates the blood compact between Datu Sikatuna and Spanish explorer Miguel López de Legazpi, which is considered as the first international treaty of friendship.

The festival features street dancing competitions, beauty pageants, and other cultural activities that showcase the province's unique traditions and customs. The highlight of the festival is the reenactment of the blood compact ceremony, which takes place at the Blood Compact Shrine in Tagbilaran City.

The annual spectacular Bohol festival featuring an agro-industrial fair, cultural and historical shows, sports events, pageants, balls and dances, entertainment shows and street-dancing which culminates in the re-enactment of the blood compact or Sandugo of Datu Sikatuna and Don Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. This month-long festival falls on July and even starts earlier and extends up to the month of August.

Ubi Festival

The Ubi Festival is another popular festival in Bohol and is celebrated every January. The festival celebrates the province's famous purple yam or ubi, which is a staple crop in the area. The festival features a street dancing competition, cooking competitions, and other activities that showcase the versatility of the ubi.

The Ubi Festival is an annual event held every January to give honor to the lowly Ubi - a much revered root crop in Bohol. Various activities are lined up to highlight the affair including the display of different kinds of Ubi and their by-products.

Visitors can sample various ubi dishes, including ubi jam, ubi ice cream, and ubi pastries. The festival also features a trade fair where visitors can buy ubi products and other local handicrafts.

Bolibongkingking Festival

The Bolibong Kingking Festival is a colorful festival that celebrates the culture and traditions of the town of Jagna. The festival is held every December and features street dancing competitions, beauty pageants, and other cultural activities.

The highlight of the festival is the Kingking Dance, which is performed by dancers wearing colorful costumes and headdresses adorned with feathers and beads. The dance is said to depict the movements of the kingking bird, which is endemic to the area.

This is a music and dance festivity depicting the history, folklore and traditions of the Lobocanons. Bolibongkingking is a term applied to the drums and gongs and their rhythm used to accompany the supplication dance ritual in front of the Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the second Patron of Loboc. The festival is celebrated by the Lobocanons every 23rd of May.

Taloto Festival

The Taloto Festival is a relatively new festival in Bohol and is celebrated every August. The festival showcases the talents and skills of the residents of Taloto, a barangay in the city of Tagbilaran.

The festival features street dancing competitions, beauty pageants, and other cultural activities that showcase the creativity and ingenuity of the residents. The highlight of the festival is the lantern parade, where participants carry lanterns made from recycled materials.

Pandayan Festival

This festival celebrates the canonical erection or the parochial anniversary of St. Joseph the Worker Parish. Activities include a nine-day novena in honor of the patron saint, a procession of the image of St. Joseph the Worker, Carpentry and Handicrafts Fair, an inter-barangay basketball tournament and last but not least, the street dancing competition.

Suroy Sa Musikero This is revelry the Loboc town musicians cover daily the assigned areas to partake the food serve by the host and to play music to the tune of Kuradang, Dalaga sa Baybayon, etc. This is also the period that carollers render Christmas songs to the families of the host area. It is celebrated every December 25 to February 2 at the town of Loboc.

Sambat Mascara Y Regatta Festival Celebrated every 1st Saturday of December. The festival is celebrated in honor of Loay town's second Patron Saint, St. Francis Xavier. Colorful activities are lined up, like agro-industrial fair, group masked street dancing, drum bugle competition, boat racing along the river and many more. The event is highlighted by a fluvial parade of the Image along the river.

Tips for Attending Bohol Festivals

Plan Ahead

Bohol festivals can get crowded, so it's important to plan ahead. Check the festival schedule and plan your itinerary accordingly. Make sure to arrive early to get a good spot for the parade or street dancing competitions.

Dress Appropriately

Bohol festivals are colorful and lively, and it's a great opportunity to dress up in bright and festive clothing. However, make sure to dress appropriately for the weather and activities. Comfortable footwear is also recommended as you will be walking around a lot.

Be Respectful

Bohol festivals are celebrations of the province's rich cultural heritage and traditions. It's important to be respectful of the locals and their customs. Do not litter or damage any property, and avoid disrupting the performances or activities.

Sample the Local Cuisine

Bohol is known for its delicious cuisine, and festivals are a great opportunity to try some of the local specialties. Look out for food stalls and vendors selling local dishes such as lechon, kinilaw, and ubi-based desserts.

Join the Fun

Bohol festivals are not just for watching but also for participating. Join in the street dancing or lantern parade, or try your hand at the cooking competitions. Immerse yourself in the festivities and have a great time.

Bohol Festivals Timetable

For the month of May, the city of Tagbilaran kicks-off as it celebrates the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker on May 1. Other towns and barangays follow henceforth.

Date of feast days vary from town to town yet most of the feast days fall on the month of May and so it has been hailed as the “Fiesta Month”. Visitors can enjoy the month long revelry by hopping from town to town and to the barangays and be assured of being fed resulting in an added inch or two to their waistlines.

Town Date Patron Saint
Alburquerque May-10 Santa Monica
Alicia July-10 Saint Joachim
Anda Movable Holy Infant
Antequera Last Saturday of October Virgin of the Holy Rosary
Baclayon December-10 Immaculate Conception
Balilihan July-10 Virgin of Carmel
Batuan July-10 Saint James
Bien Unido Movable Holy Child
Bilar May-10 Saint Isidore the Farmer
Buenavista October-10 Santo Rosario
Calape May-10 Saint Vincent Ferrer
Candijay May-10 Saint Joseph
Carmen January-10 Saint Anthony de Abbot
Catigbi-an December-10 Immaculate Conception
Clarin September-10 Saint Michael
Corella April-10 Nuestra Señora del Villar
Cortes January-10 Santo Niño
Dagohoy February-10 Our Lady of Lourdes
Danao December-10 Holy Family
Dauis August-10 Our Lady of Assumption
Dimiao September-10 Saint Nicolas de Tolentino
Duero December-10 Immaculate Conception
Garcia Hernandez June-10 Saint John the Baptist
Getafe Last Saturday of January Holy Infant
Guindulman First Saturday of September Our Lady of Consolation
Inabanga June-10 Saint Paul
Jagna September-10 Saint Michael
Lila October-10 Holy Rosary
Loay Movable Santisima Trinidad
Loboc June-10 Saint Peter the Apostle
Loon September-10 Our Lady of Light
Mabini May-10 Santa Monica
Maribojoc November-10 Saint Vincent
Panglao August-10 San Agustin
Pilar October-10 Virgen del Pilar
Pres. Garcia January-10 Holy Child
Sagbayan May 4/August 28 San Agustin
San Isidro May-10 Saint Isidore
San Miguel May-10 Saint Michael
Sevilla December-10 Virgen of Guadalupe
Sierra Bullones December-10 Immaculate Conception
Sikatuna June-10 Saint Anthony de Padua
Tagbilaran City May-10 Saint Joseph the Worker
Talibon Last Saturday of May Blessed Trinity
Trinidad May-10 San Isidro Labrador
Tubigon May-10 San Isidro Labrador
Ubay January-10 Holy Child
Valencia January-10 Sr. Santo Niño

Bohol festival celebrations are elaborate that includes town and church decorations, street dancing, trade fairs, beauty contests, and more, not to mention the preparation of luscious food even to the extent of entering into debt to be able to entertain visitors.

Everybody is welcome. There is no need for invitations. One can enter any house of your choice. Some families even will feel insulted if you pass them by. It is considered a good moral and right conduct to drop by even if you cannot eat because you’re already full. So others take this opportunity to ask for some take home food for loved ones left at home.

Bohol festival feast days are likewise a time for family reunions. Boholanos from all parts of the world come home to attend the feast day and the reunions. If circumstances beyond their control deter their coming home, they will send monetary support to their families in order for them to be able to celebrate the fiesta in style.

No Boholano can escape from the fiesta fever. This tradition has been inculcated in their minds and is an intricate part of their lives. It is an ingrained habit to fatten a pig or more, a few months back, for these affairs. For the rich, expect them to include in their preparations a cow and goat and the forever present “lechon” or roasted pig and all those mouth-watering desserts.

Legislations have been passed to lessen the excessive and lavish Bohol festival preparations during these feast days but to no avail. People have been exhorted to prepare for town fiestas only and not so lavishly and to forego barangay fiestas. Local inhabitants more or less were told not to attend fiesta celebrations in their own towns and to give way to real visitors who come from other towns or provinces. But all this legislations fall on deaf ears. The government cannot stop nor dampen the enthusiasm of Boholano addiction to fiestas be it in their own town or in the barangay level.

Top of Bohol Festivals and Feast Days

Photos by (Liza)