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Calendar of Events

January 15
Sinulog sa Malitbog
Malitbog, Southern Leyte
An annual religious street pageant celebrated as homage to the Holy Child Jesus (Santo Niño) patron of Malitbog. It has grown steadily with devotees from other places flocking to the town.

The town's pride, Tribu Malitbog, has been a consistent winner and crowd drawer in the Sinulog Festival in Cebu City. Understandably so because the people of Malitbog are a cultured lot having been exposed to zarzuelas, operas, and other cultural endeavors.
(Movable Date)

Embajada Festival
Catarman, Northern Samar
A reenactment of the christianization of the Spanish conquestadores and the native Filipinos who subsequently embraced christianity after putting up a gallant resistance.

Good Friday
Palo's Holy Week Traditions
Palo, Leyte
Palo, Leyte was declared in the Diocesan Synod of 1910 as a center of faith and religiosity in Eastern Visayas.

Oldest of Palo's Holy Week Traditions, is the PENITENTES, a penitential fraternity of "cassocked', barefoot and hooded members organized by Fray Pantaleon de la Fuente, OFM in 1894 supposedly to replace the flagellants, fanatics who whipped themselves or have themselves whipped to atone for wrong doings, whose cult of fanatics was gaining momentum among the faithful.

There is still the KARAD BOYS, a brigade of kids producing scrapping sound through a hand device called “karad”. Their main task is to go around the town to announce with their “karads” the Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services in place of the bells which were taboo until Holy Saturday. When the SEARCH FOR CHRIST was introduced in 1975 substituting the suppressed PROCESSION DE PASOS, the bridge afford the searching “Roman Soldiers” and crowd who identify their groups with their respective standards, proper animation for the job.

In 1915, Parish Priest Rev. Juan Pacoli initiated the TANGGAL or CRUCIFIXION REENACTMENT as climax to the SEVEN LAST WORDS discourses. In 1974 it was overhauled becoming the climatic portion of the entire VIA CRUCIS now PAMALANDONG (meditation) started off right with the capture of the condemned Lord and His subsequent delivery by Caiphas to Pilate for appropriate action. It is a dramatic recollection of Christ’s passion and suffering on the cross. After publication of Pilate’s sentence, Christ’s DEATH MARCH (the 14 stations) follows, ending at Golgotha.

Eight pulpit orators and one for the intro tackle the sermons on the LAST SEVEN WORDS. Fitting choral intermissions are provided.

While practically all Philippine parishes hold the PROCESSION DE STO. INTIERRO on Good Friday, in Palo this procession has been fused with the PROCESSION DE PASSOS (Procession of Lenten Images) originally on Holy Thursday, thereby presenting to the countless multitude, participants and viewers alike, a kaleiescopic pageant of a living faith and vibrant religiosity.

Black Saturday
Brgy. Camansi, Carigara, Leyte
Traditional jousts of native carabaos (pasungay) and horses (paaway). Cockfight (karambola) is another attraction.

Easter Sunday
Sunduan Ha Carigara
Carigara, Leyte
Easter Sunday celebrations with songs and dances and a colorful parade of floats depicting the rich history of the town of Carigara, once a capital of Leyte.

May 25
Calbiga, Samar
In middle eastern Philippines (Eastern Visayas), specifically in Samar Island where rugged mountains edge out available ricelands into stringy parcels, this funny-looking mannikin embodies socio-cultural symbols,. This ragged, emaciated strawman becomes for the hard-up rural man a symbol of human struggle against the harsh manifestations of nature and the elements, if not the social realities themselves.

In the Western Samar town of Calbiga, tribal memory goes back to a time when this "humanoid" had saved village folk from imminent famine by driving off marauding waves of pestilential maya or ricebirds. While this memory may be partly legend, it had somehow formed a core of local practice revolving around the scarecrow or pahoy.

Pahoy-Pahoy had been a ritual of propriation and invocation to the old animistic gods to protect and make fertile the tribe's ricelands and its agricultural endeavor. Today, Calbiga's Pahoy-Pahoy has been assimilated into the Christian tradition of the yearly town fiesta in the form of the Pahoy-Pahoy Farmers' Festival.

During the Festival, folks in the town's barangay vie among hemselves in creating giant and medium pahoy from indigenous materials. The giant scarecrows are paraded during the town fiesta, the more creatively entertaining the better. The small pahoy line the town's streets like sentinels seemingly ready against unforeseen attacks of dark forces.

The Festival itself is an exercise in creativity. It is also a contest on who could best interpret the "Pahoy Legend" of driving away the evils that beset the farmer through a variety of native dance steps accompanied by drums and other native musical instruments. The favored costumes of performers are usually made of indigenous materials or like the scarecrows themselves a patchwork of colorful discard clothings.

Calbiga's Pahoy-Pahoy Festival may not yet at present possess the orchestrated sophistication of Aklan's Ati-Atihan or the organized glitter of Cebu's Pit Señor! but it certainly makes up for what it lacks (financially) with the performances that are not only charmingly rural but intensely passionate and relevant to the tawo in these times and climes.

The search for the cross by the saintly Queen Helena has lived on in the hearts and minds of men, women and children in the barangays who join the traditional nightly procession with their artistic lanterns and Santacruzan hymn in between the novena in honor of the Holy Cross. The "parumpag" culminates the merry month of May.

March 16
Homonhon Landing
Homonhon, Eastern Samar
Reenactment of the discovery of the Philippines by Magellan.

March 31
Limawasa, Southern Leyte
Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese navigator, in the service of Spain landed in Limasawa Island on March 31, 1521 where the First Christian Mass in the Orient was celebrated on Easter Sunday. This historic and religious event is commemorated with a cultural presentation and anniversary program dubbed as Sinugdan (meaning beginning).

May 10
Mayaw-Mayaw Ethnic Festival
Pinabacdao, Samar
Pag-mayaw is an old "Waray" word meaning to give offerings and homages to the gods and to drive away the evil spirits as well. An ancient ritual dating back to the pre-Spanish period and still practiced today by local farmers, pag-mayaw promises bountiful harvest of crops, hunting, health, luck and fortune and as a gesture of welcoming guests and visitors to the locality.

Paticipated in by all schools, civic groups and barangays, this is a dance and drama competition with street dancing and main cutlural presentations. Mayaw-Mayaw is unique as it depicts a revered tradition of the Waray people at its most authentic and original form.

May 18
Sanggutan Festival
Barugo, Leyte
The Barugo Sanggutan Festival honors the age-old process of coconut wine making that has been and will always be a part of the life of the Barugueño.

Sanggutan, the festival, is a dance of celebration. It is a dance of men (the mananggetes), and women (their wives, sisters, daughters) involved in the production of the red wine. It is also a dance of men and women enjoying the spirit of this gift from - literally - up high. The costumes are the everyday wear of the mananggete and his family - which is to say the dominant color is red, because tuba dyes everything and everyone that it touches.

On a metaphorical plane, the Sanggutan dance is part of the ancient legend of birth and of origins: Its choreography assigns to the mananggete the strong rhythmic movements of the male element, and to the women dancers the swaying, receptive response of the fruitful coconut tree as the beloved female element.

The product of the union is tuba - flowing, rising, growing and encompassing all. It is choreographed, in its turn, as the dance of the drinkers without whose patronage winemaking as an industry loses all its liquidity - in a manner of speaking.

June 29
Balyuan Tower, Tacloban City
The Feast of Sto. Niño, the revered patron saint of Tacloban is celebrated with a pageant reenacting the historical exchange of images between Barrio Buscada of Basey, Samar and Sitio Kankabatok now Tacloban City. The Basey Flotilla bearing the church and government leaders goes on a fluvial procession along San Pedro Bay. "Budyong" (shell) call announces the sight of the flotilla off Kankabatok Bay.

June 30
Sto. Nino de Leyte Fiesta
Tacloban City
In mid-1888, some 25 Tacloban residents, formed the "Hermanidad Han Santo Niño", a brotherhood in honor of the Holy Infant to prepare the celebration of the Feast of Santo Niño.

The present image of the Santo Niño was brought to Manila for routine facelifting and change of its vestments. On His way to Tacloban, the steamer "Luzaon" which carried the image caught fire off the coast of Romblon and Mindoro. In the confusion, the crate containing the Image was thrown overboard.

No celebration was held, as the Hermano, Mayor Arcadio Zialcita was in a quandary and grief over the loss of the revered Patron of Tacloban.

Devotees almost gave up hope of ever seeing the Image again. Six months later, in May 1889, a letter from the Military Governor of Leyte informed that the barrio lieutenant of Bo. Semirara in Mindoro sighted a box labelled "Santo Niño, Patron han Tacloban.

The January fiesta was given over to the children as "hermanito mayores" for the fiesta. And the small image of the Santo Niño, the "Sargento" was made to stay in the home of whoever was the "Hermanito Mayor" for the next January fiesta.

From then on, the grand fiesta of Tacloban was to be celebrated on June 30 of every year. The original image, the "Captain" remained in the main altar. The second image, the "Teniente" is the one turned over to the Hermano Mayor for the succeeeding year, and then brought back to the Santo Niño church after the week-long novena. Then, the traditional turn-over ceremonies of the "Teniente" is made by the immediate past Hermano Mayor to the incoming Hermano Mayor. This is accompanied by the ritual of giving the Medallion containing the names of all Hermanos Pasados and the Standartes.

June 18
Lingganay Festival
Alang-alang, Leyte
Street pageant depicting the legendary and mythical story of the bells.

June 19
Bagulan Festival
Paranas, Samar
Merry-making after a good coconut harvest.

June 28
Subiran Regatta
Tacloban City
An exciting race of one-man native sailboats with outriggers locally called "subiran" along scenic and historic Leyte Gulf. The race is done without using a paddle but only skills and techniques to maneuver the sail.

June 29
Pintados Festival
Tacloban City
A dance festival of painted dancers celebrating important events like exploits of war, nature worship in narrative dance movements depicting their own folk practices and beliefs.

The custom of tattooing earned for the Leyteños the name of Pintados. From ancient history, Roman conquests mentioned of tattooed people in Britons, Saitas, Oriental Tartar and other parts of the world.

The origin of the practice is difficult to determine but the strongest contention is that an ancient priestess instigated it and through the members of her cult, began the custom.

The tattooes, however, became distinctive marks of courage, and generally made the origin and livelihood of the bearer identifiable.

Tattooes began from ankle to groin and those in the chest were made like breastplates.

When the missionaries from Spain arrived in Leyte, they found the Pintados gruesome but later learned to appreciate the happy contentment and beauty of the people. With the coming of the Spanish, the people learned new ways of life and blended this neo-pagan ways of the Pintados.

August 11
Kaadlawan Han Samar
Catbalogan, Samar
Samar Day is celebrated with socio-cultural activities. It was on this day when a royal decree was issued by Queen Isabella II of Spain approving the recreation of Samar as a military province.

August 11
Hulatan Festival
Julita, Leyte
Depicts the historical events which led to the creation of the municipality.

August 14
Pasaka Festival
Tanauan, Leyte
A dance parade and street pageantry showing the culture of the town of Tanauan as it honors its Patron Saint, Our Lady of the Assumption. Pasaka connotes warm welcome, progress and religious homage and is the native word for "assumption".

A symbolic "send-off" of Our Lady of the Assumption where dancers in native costumes carry offerings to the town's Patroness as She is assured into heaven.

August 15
Lubi-Lubi Festival
Calubian, Leyte
A dance festival extolling the many uses of the coconut parts as costumes, props and accessories. The dance is a homage to the town's patron saints, Our Lady of Fatima and St. Roque.

This street dance and merrymaking depicts the origin of the town's name meaning abundance of coconuts (lubi) which is considered as the "tree of life".

August 19
Buyogan Festival
Abuyog, Leyte
Adjudged as one of the ten best festivals of the Philippines, Buyogan's artistic choreography and realistic costumes focus on the appearance and movement of the honeybee locally called "buyog" from where the town's name originated.

August 20
Lavezares, Northern Samar
An exciting annual boat racing contest to celebrate the feast of Nuestra Señora de Salvacion, the patron saint of the town of Lavezares.

September 7
Borongan, Eastern Samar
"Padul-ong" relates how the Lady of Nativity became the Patroness of Borongan. Legend states that a mysterious woman boarded a Portuguese ship despite the captain's initial refusal. The voyage went smoothly. However, the captain failed to serve water/food to the woman guest. She lay dead and beside her was a wooden cargo with the inscription Nuestra Señora de Borongan. The captain immediately ordered the unloading of the box and turned it over to the elders. The box contained the image of a beautiful woman cradling a child in her lap. It was enshrined at Punta Maria. The lady is said to frequent the Hamorawon Spring in Borongan as evidenced by floral scent that swept the vicinity. Devotees came because of the miraculous curative power of the spring water. The image at Punta Maria was then transferred to Borongan. Thus, began the Padul-ong with the villagers transferring the shrine on board the "bilos" to Sabang barangay unto the Roman Catholic Church. The sacred image symbolizes the Nativity of the Blessed Mother henceforth the blessed patron of Borongan. Today, this folk religious practice focuses on an elaborately decorated carriage from the church to the residence of the Hermano of the incoming year.

September 28
Balangiga Incident
Balangiga, Eastern Samar
The 1901 Philippine - American encounter is commemorated through a pageant as a reminder of the Filipinos' quest for freedom.

September 28
Banigan-Kawayan Festival
Basey, Samar
Banig is the unquestioned identity of Basey. Say "BANIG" and the town of Basey immediately comes to mind. Banig, the mat, banigan, the industry, have been existing in Basey since generations were in Binongtuan. In the early days, the tikog straw (raw materials for banig) were woven into mats. These mats served several purposes: as bedspread, as mats on which palay, corn and other farm products were spread for drying, as temporary shelter from the hot sun, or the rain. These days, one can see not only banig mats but also banig wall decors, banig bags, banig room dividers and name it, banig has it. One can even have his portrait embroidered on banig. Embroidered with dyed buri strips, banig beauty is unequaled in its uniqueness which only the banig of Basey can possibly have.

Together with the banig, the "kawayan" - the bamboo— is also identified with Basey. From the kawayan, one can have kawayan sala sets, kawayan bric-a-bracs, kawayan outriggers, not to mention the kawayan houses. There are also the kawayan traps for catching crabs, fish and other seafood. We also have different headwear from kawayan strips. Kawayan baskets are made in the barangays of Mabini, Manlilinab, Baloog, Canca-iyas and Basiao.

To showcase the banig and the kawayan as truly unique to Basey, the Banigan-Kawayan Festival is celebrated. The festival street dances feature the beautiful products made of banig and kawayan.

September (World Tourism Day)
Regional Tourism Quiz
Tacloban City
Inter-high school quiz on domestic and international tourism topics to create tourism awareness and encourage the active participation of the studentry in the promotion of Eastern Visayas as a tourist destination.

September 1 - 8
Sarakiki Festival
Calbayog City
According to the legendary story of Ilahas, Sarakiki came from the word "sakingking" (originally "nakingking") which means to allure, to provoke an enemy, to fight, to deter an opponent, to enchant or bewitch. Sarakiki is manifested in courtship, songs, war dance, kuratsa, and rituals or "hadang".

Ethnographically, Calbayognons' celebrate their community life in arts and culture. Stage performances, dance competitions and songs combine to form unique expressions of their existence, occupations, political sovereignty and socio-cultural life. Cultural forms that have survived through the years are still characterized by these elements: Ismyling, Kuratsa, Siday. They still showcase the rich diversity of Calbayog's cultural heritage today.

Sarakiki aptly describes the rare event that bids to celebrate life and culture. Cultural practitioners, institutions, and existing cultural groups come together for this meaningful cultural endeavor — aiming for the preservation of Filipino culture in our determined quest for sovereignty and identity.

The essence of the festival is the aspiration of the people through song and dance as well as commemorate the life of Ilahas, the legendary hero of Ibatan (Calbayog).

Sarakiki street dance is characterized by the movements of the cock. With thumbs up to form like "tahod" , the performers wear costumes inspired by the appearance of the cock such costumes maybe modified, improvized and made relevant. The movements will be accompanied by original music made out of drums and other ancient Samareño musical instruments.

September (movable)
Parayaw han mga Kada-an
Linggo ng Kasuotang Pilipino
Tacloban City
The attire is an eloquent manifestation of national heritage and culture.

Thus, the observance of the "Linggo ng Kasuotang Pilipino" has been implemented by the Department of Tourism to project the unique Filipino identity; create a sense of pride in being Filipinos; and to give due respect to Filipino heritage and culture.

The exhibit features baro't saya, binabaye, cayab, sando, salico, lo-on, enaqua, candonga and panuelo of women who willingly agree to show their period gowns and dresses for young generations to have a glimpse into our local culture and heritage.

October 20
Leyte Gulf Landings Anniversary
Palo and Dulag, Leyte
A commemorative program which marks the anniversary of the October 20, 1944 landing on Leyte of the Allied Forces of Liberation. General Douglas MacArhur and his men waded ashore at "Red Beach" in the town of Palo where statues of the liberators now stand. The historic event is usually attended by national government officials and dignitaries from embassies of United States, Japan, and Australia as well as World War II veterans who come on sentimental journey.

December 6 - January 6
Karisyohan Han Pasko Ha Palo
Palo, Leyte
The town of Palo, which is the religious center of Eastern Visayas, is tranformed into a veritable "Christmas Village" wherein the whole community participate in the beautiful Filipino traditions of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

In 1989, Enrico M. Saboren, a tenor based in Carlifornia, started to decorate their family ancestral house with artistic Christmas decors from abroad. This "House of Fantasy" fascinated people from all walks of life who make it a point to visit Palo to enjoy the unique sights.

As part of its annual entertaintment, community competitions like best decorated barangay, best belen, best parol (lantern), old traditions of pastores and christmas carol singing, drum and bugle corps and other festivities make Christmas in Palo truly enjoyable, its real meaning understood and its cultural value enhanced.

(movable date)
Kasadya-an Festival
Tacloban City
Leyte's festival of festivals participated in by various municipalities in order to preserve cultural traditions, thus enhancing the town's touristic appeal.


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