Exploring Philippines Through Food Festivals: Seafood and meat galore

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What better way to savor good food than in the company of the community and making tons of fun memories?

There are few people that like food as much as Filipino and there’s no better time to indulge in good food than during a festival. Given the great resources that this country holds, there is no shortage of delicious food to be found wherever in the country. The archipelago is filled with a diverse range of meats, fruits, vegetables, and seafood that can be found in abundance throughout the islands’ diversified landscapes and picturesque waterways.

The Filipinos have a strong affinity for celebrations (we have the longest Christmas season, for one), therefore it should come as no surprise that there are a number of festivals that highlight the cuisine of the islands. It’s also an opportunity for people to show their appreciation and gratitude for nature’s bounty, and to raise awareness about the importance of protecting natural resources.

This is the first in a series of articles that will introduce you to the many food festivals that take place in the Philippines. Forget about the typical tourist attractions for a bit and instead take in the vibrant atmosphere of one of these food festivals if you are arranging a trip!

From the depths of the diverse waters


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Photo from Tuna Festival Facebook

The Tuna Festival is a spectacular annual event that takes place in General Santos City. The city is also known as the “Tuna Capital of the Philippines,” due to the high concentration of yellowfin tuna fish that can be found in the waterways that surround the city. In essence, it positions the city as one of the top producers of tuna in the world. The start of the celebration is traditionally signaled by a spectacular float display that is decked up with a variety of brightly colored decorations depicting the beloved fish.

Sugbahan Sa Dalan begins after you’ve had your fill of fun, energetic, and colorful street dances paired with equally vivid floats. Tuna is on show, front and center in a long line of grills and anybody who desires to enjoy the incredible bounty is welcome to do so. The Tuna Festival’s water-based activities are a massive attraction as well. This is where you’ll find the Bancarera, a racing event that features a variety of unique watercraft such as powered dragon boats, skimboards, and even jet skis!

When you take part in the Tuna Festival, you will undoubtedly be reminded of the abundant wealth and great biodiversity of the waters around the Philippines. It’s also a great opportunity to mingle with the locals and get insight into their way of life along the seashore from the perspectives of the town’s revered fisherfolk.

Get more information here: https://www.facebook.com/gensantunafestival


Cordova Dinagat Festival 2019 in Philippines, photos, Fair,Festival when is  Cordova Dinagat Festival 2019 - HelloTravel
Photo by Achiles Archie Mercader

The Dinagat Festival in Cordova, Cebu is an extremely popular event conducted every year in August to honor the community’s fishing heritage and way of life. The name “dinagat” comes from the Filipino word “dagat,” which literally translates to “sea.” Dinagat is a local term. Because of this, “everything relating to the seas” is generally understood to be the definition of “dinagat.”There are many similarities between this event and the “bakasi festival,” which is a celebration honoring the abundant presence of eel (locally known as “bakasi”) in the region.  Fishing is an important source of income for residents of Cordova, both for their households and for the local markets, which serve as distributors of marine foods to other communities in the province. 

The entire aim of the festival is to pay homage to the marine resources that are essential to the residents’ ability to maintain their standard of living. Residents of Cordova recognized the sea to be the source of their everyday needs, hence Dinagat was created to promote awareness about the need of appreciating and safeguarding the waters. To put it simply, this celebration focuses on environmental awareness and preservation.

An essential part of the festival experience is the Street Dancing Competition and Dance Showdown. Fishing customs and the way of life of the Cordova people are celebrated in mardigras-style dance performances. The gliding motion of the bakasi is an important component of the dance and is considered one of the significant steps.

Learn more about the festival here: https://www.philstar.com/the-freeman/opinion/2018/08/18/1843667/dinagat-festival-deep-rooted-religious-and-socio-cultural-celebration

Enjoy the savory tastes of meat


Photo from Balayan Government Website

One of the most-awaited events in the Philippines is the Lechon Festival in Balayan, Batangas that takes place on the 24th of June annually.  Street dancing, liturgies, a lechon procession, and water dousing are all part of this event honoring St. John the Baptist. It was customary for wealthy families to showcase a lechon in the town square on June 24, St. John the Baptist’s Feast Day, to honor the town’s patron saint, during both the Spanish and American eras. As more impoverished Kanluran residents became prosperous, more lechons were displayed on June 24. In 1959, Kanluran district elders formed the Hermandad San Juan Bautista to supervise the Parada ng Lechon sa Balayan, Batangas.

One of the festival’s highly anticipated activities is the lechon procession. Some of the roasted pigs are fashioned to resemble well-known personalities, while others are simply wrapped in plastic. Balayan’s famed lechons aren’t the only delicacy on display during the festival, but there are plenty of others to sample. 

The water dousing is by far the most enjoyable aspect of the festival, since everyone, residents, visitors, and passers-by alike, are permitted to douse each other with water. This event is not for the faint of heart, but for those who can handle it, it is a lot of fun.

Find out more information about the festival here: https://balayan.gov.ph/parada-ng-lechon/


LONGGANISA FESTIVAL STREET DANCING. Dancers wearing traditional Filipino costumes entertain tourists in a street dancing parade in this file photo from Longganisa Festival 2016. Vigan City will celebrate Longganisa Festival on Jan. 22, 2018, the Vigan City Fiesta on Jan. 25, 2018 and the Kannawidan Ylocos Festival starting on Jan. 26, 2018. (Photo by Salvador Espejo)
Photo by Salvador Espejo on Tawid News Magazine

The museums and architecture of Vigan make it a renowned tourist attraction. But, something that deserves its own time in the spotlight is Vigan’s longganisa.  The preparation of the meal adheres to a custom that dates back over a hundred years, and it possesses a flavor that is absolutely unmistakable. This delicacy is well-known for its distinctive combination of spicy pork, sugarcane vinegar and a slew of garlic cloves. It is said that the garlic and sugarcane vinegar longganisa from Vigan is better than the typical longganisa. 

Late in the month of January, the city of Vigan hosts its annual City Fiesta celebration, during which the Longganisa Festival also takes up a spot as one of the festivities. On average, it’s celebrated between January 22nd and January 25th, however the exact date varies each year. During the festival, each and every visitor will have the opportunity to sample genuine longganisa from Vigan. 

Street dancing and other diverse activities help promote Vigan’s longganisa product in the same way as other festival festivities do. Other activities include: food fairs, carnivals, and arts and crafts displays.  The city conducts a longganisa-themed parade and once sought to break the world record for the longest longganisa ever created.  Joining in in the festivities at the festival is an excellent chance to get to know the locals of Vigan and have a better understanding of the traditions and customs that are important to them.

Find out more: https://www.vigan.ph/cuisine/vigan-longganisa.html 

Travelers from all over the country and the rest of the world are encouraged to participate in the celebrations due to the country’s well-known warmth and hospitality, which goes well with the Filipino people’s enthusiasm for festivities.

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