I Recommend the Aliwan Festival in the Philippines

participant carrying a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary
participant carrying a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Statues of the Child Jesus as part of the parade
Statues of the Child Jesus as part of the parade
Statues of the Child Jesus on a participating float
Statues of the Child Jesus on a participating float

The Philippines is known for its many festivals and/or fiestas. There is one going on practically every month among the major regions of the Philippines. So if you are travelling the Philippines, it would be good to time your visit to coincide with these colorful festivals.

Most of these festivals have religious origins. Thus you will see images or statues of various religious icons in a procession during many of these festivals. Some of the others are celebrations of harvest, or fishing or other activities in the region. However, something common to most of these festivals aside from the religious flavour are the street dances and the colourful costumes.

If you have the time to tour and wait for these festivals, then it is good to catch them in their place of origin. General Howitzer covered most of these festivals in his hub -http://hubpages.com/hub/The-Splendid-Philippine-Festivals-Part-2

However, to those who don’t have the time to wait for all these festivals, then I highly recommend the Aliwan Festival or Fiesta.

The Aliwan Festival or Fiesta

The Aliwan Festival or Fiesta was conceived as the mother of all festivals. It brings together in one venue the different festivals from all over the various regions of the Philippines. In addition, during the Aliwan, contingents from the various regions also bring with them exhibits of their various food and industry products .

So during the Aliwan festival, you get not only a glimpse of the culture but also of the various products of the region. Usually, each of the regions also sends just the winners in their own festivals. So you get to see only the best among the best during the Aliwan festival.

The Aliwan is now on its 8th year. I learned about this festival just 3 years ago and since then I have not missed it.

Every year, the street dances and costumes become even more exhilarating and colourful. The production numbers are so well-executed so it’s really a grand show. Its name Aliwan Festival or Fiesta, really fits it. Aliwan means ‘entertainment’ and it surely is one big entertainment!

I’m sharing here some of the photos I took during my 3 years of watching this grand festival. Hopefully they will entice you to come and join in next year’s Aliwan festival. It’s usually held during the 3rd week of April.

Floats Galore

Competition for the best float is part of the Aliwan festival. Various contingents thus also bring their floats with them.

As you know, the Philippines consists of 7,000 plus islands, so you can just imagine the logistics involved in transporting these floats from the various islands to city of Manila, the venue of Aliwan Fiesta.

Below are photos of some of these floats.

Floats lining up for the parade
Floats lining up for the parade
Muslim inspired float
Muslim inspired float
Float using fans made of palm leaves (front view)
Float using fans made of palm leaves (front view)
Side view of the float shown above
Side view of the float shown above
Another Muslim inspired float
Another Muslim inspired float

Aliwan Festival, A Photographer's Delight

The Aliwan Festival is a photographer's delight. It is not only very colorful but you can interact with the participants as they practice their dances, prepare their floats, and wait for the parade to start.

You can even have your photo taken together with the different participants or even with the festival queens.


participants practicing their dance routine
participants practicing their dance routine
participants resting while waiting for the parade to start
participants resting while waiting for the parade to start
participants waiting for their turn to practice
participants waiting for their turn to practice
participants catching a few winks before the start of the parade
participants catching a few winks before the start of the parade
participants posing for a souvenir photo
participants posing for a souvenir photo

Dance Competition, Aliwan's Highlight

The highlight of the Aliwan festival is the dance competition among the various participating groups. Some contingents only have dance routines but other groups prepare total production numbers complete with props and their own bands.

The dance productions this year are really awesome!

Here are some photos.

Participants dancing even in the rain
Participants dancing even in the rain
Band of a contingent
Band of a contingent

Aliwan Festival Queen

The search for "Aliwan Festival Queen" is also another major activity of the festival.

Below are photos of some contestants.

Audience Are Interesting Too

Audience are also as colorful as the participants during Aliwan fiestas. Everyone tries to get a vantage point.

I Recommend the Aliwan Festival

So is it any wonder why I recommend the Aliwan Festival? 

Below is a video of the production number of this year's dance competition winner.

Just watch the moves and listen to the frenzied beat of the drums as well as the shouts of the audience. You can see/hear how much fun the whole festival is.

Come and join next year!

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Comments 31 comments

Phebe 6 years ago

The most noticeable thing to enjoy are the colors of this Festival...! Beautiful!

Then, one enjoys also the smiling faces of people who enjoy the entire parade!


samboiam profile image

samboiam 6 years ago from Texas

That looks like so much fun. I enjoy reading about other places and cultures. You did a great job on this one. It was an excellent read.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Phebe,

It's nice to see you here. Thanks very much for dropping by.

You are right about the colors - they are simply beautiful.

It's always fun to interact with the people. Everyone is always willing to give you a little space especially if they see that you have a camera.

I'm sure you also have similar festivals in Greece.

Thanks again for the visit and wonderful comment.

God bless!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello samboiam,

Yes, it is really fun and wholesome too. I'm happy that you enjoyed this.

Thank you very much for the visit and heartwarming comment.

See you around!


suny51 profile image

suny51 6 years ago

Hello-such a joy to read and watch,true Philippines,and the way you have presented it,great photos.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 6 years ago

Jill, sorry i didn't show up earlier--my computer refused to work all morning. Wow, what a visual treat with such stunning pictures. You manage to capture the mood and the spirit of this beautiful fiesta. I especially love the picture of the children waiting to watch the parade.

Would love to be a spectator. Once again, you've done fabulously! Rated it up.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

suny51 - it's good to see you here!

Thank you very much for your generous comment! You just started my day with a smile.

Hope to see you again.

Have a great day!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi anglnwu - nice to see you my friend!

There is no need to apologize. Your presence whether early or late always brings joy to me.

You just made my day with your wonderful comment. I am happy if I am able to bring to you the spirit of the fiesta. Nothing beats actual experience of course.

Yes, it's an affair for the whole family. So watching the eager eyes of children brings as much joy as watching the whole show.

It would really be great if you can be an actual spectator.

Thanks very much for the happiness you bring me.

God bless!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

What beautiful photographs! The colors are extraordinary! I love this Hub! Thank you for it.


coffeesnob 6 years ago

Jill,

You always bring color to hubpages. Thanks for another beautiful hub


Lolit 6 years ago

Woww!!! Baby they are fabulous captures. Congrats! Nice Hub. :)


paul_gibsons profile image

paul_gibsons 6 years ago from Gibsons, BC, Canada

interdenominational carnival lol..... and nice timing too. After Easter this year but... smack bang at the end of Lent next year.. wonder how you will resolve that :)


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi James,

Thank you very much!

Coming from an artist like you, your words are music to my ears!

God bless!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

My dear coffeesnob,

You always make me feel happy with your beautiful comments.

You are welcome! The pleasure is really mine!

God bless!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Lolit,

Thanks very much for dropping by and leaving a wonderful comment!

God bless!


tony0724 profile image

tony0724 6 years ago from san diego calif

Jill great photography as usual. Beatiful people , beautiful and colorful costumes too. I love the picture with the little children . They are cute. It looks too fun. I will meet you there and your milkshake is on me ! :)


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Paul,

It's nice to see you again!

Yes, it's an interdenominational festival. There is really no exact date, but it's usually sometime 3rd week of April. I'm sure they will slide the dates next year if it runs into Lent.

Thanks for the visit and wonderful comment.

God bless!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Tony,

Great to see you my friend!

This is one festival that I'm sure you will enjoy Tony!

Ok, I'll see you next year then! Looking forward to the milkshake!

Thank you very much for always being here for me!

God bless!


Amber Allen profile image

Amber Allen 6 years ago

Hi Jill

These are such beautiful and colorful photos and everyone looks so happy. This is certainly now on my list of things to do!

Amber:)


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Amber,

It's good to see you!

Yes, you should really try to join this festival. It's worth it, I promise you!

Thanks for your beautiful comment.

See you around.


GeneralHowitzer profile image

GeneralHowitzer 6 years ago from Land of Salt, Philippines

The great festival in the Philippines are all here. This is actually the mother of all festivals in the country. Great Hub and just rated it up...


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi GenH,

Nice to see you!

That's right, it's the mother of all festivals.

Thanks very much for your wonderful comment and rate up. I really appreciate it.

Btw, I linked this with your festival hub. Did you see it up there?

God bless!


yaritza profile image

yaritza 6 years ago from San Antonio, Texas

Great details!!! I loved the pics.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello yaritza,

Thanks for the visit and wonderful comment!

All the best!


SilverGenes 6 years ago

I really enjoyed this hub - the photos really bring it to life. It's amazing that Thank you!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello SilverGenes,

Great to see you again!

I'm happy that you enjoyed this hub. Thank you very much!

See you around!

All the best!


SHANA 6 years ago

NICE......................


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Thanks very much SHANA!

All the best!


kits 5 years ago

I can't wait to get back to the Philippines this Christmas! I like to recommend using http://www.buyregalo.com if you want to send money and gifts to the Philippines. It's somewhat like a local Philippine version of Amazon.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello Kits,

Wow, you're coming home this Christmas? That's great! Nothing beats Christmas here. It's really the best time to visit. Where are you based now?

Thanks for the tip. I'll tell my relatives about this site. Who knows, they might send me something. Hahaha!

Thanks for dropping by!

God bless!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

It's Aliwan time again this weekend of April. I hope that you will have time to watch. I will definitely be there to enjoy another spectacular festival!

See you!

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