I Recommend the Aliwan Festival in the Philippines
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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