Palawan’s Festivals and Events

Festivals and Events in Palawan

Palawan is known for its natural beauty and abundant resources, but it is also a place with a rich and diverse culture. This article is a guide to the best fiestas and festivals celebrated in both the city proper of Puerto Princesa and other municipalities in Palawan. These events showcase colorful street parades and creative costumes, highlighting the unique cultures, delicacies, and products of each municipality. Don't miss the chance to witness the vibrant traditions of Palawan!

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A street parade in Puerto Princesa

Balayong Festival

The Balayong Festival, featuring the unique Palawan Cherry that blooms during February and March, is celebrated on March 14th to commemorate the founding of Puerto Princesa City. Sports competitions, parades, street dances, beauty pageants, and job fairs are included in the festival, with costumes inspired by the Balayong tree and forest spirits. 

The festivals are popular with both locals and tourists and highlight the city’s economic and infrastructural developments.

Planting a tree in Palawan

Feast of the Forest

Pista Y ang Kagueban, or Feast of the Forest, is an annual tree-planting activity initiated by the government of Puerto Princesa to conserve the environment and promote reforestation. Held every third week of June, the event was previously conducted in Sitio Magarwak in Bacungan but has been moved to a forest near the Irawan Watershed to rejuvenate the river. Participants, including tourists, officials, celebrities, and advocates, plant seedlings provided by the event staff. Despite the muddy and slippery road and stream crossings, the effort of planting a single seedling can make a big difference in preserving the environment.

Filipino people planting mangrove

Love Affair with Nature

Looking for a unique and meaningful way to spend your Valentine’s Day? Consider joining the citizens of Puerto Princesa in expressing love for an extraordinary someone – Mother Nature. Every February 14th, locals and tourists gather at a beach in Barangay San Jose to plant mangroves along the shore and preserve the marine ecosystem. This event, similar to the Pista Y ang Kagueban for forests, is attended by prominent personalities from around the country and serves as a reminder of the importance of protecting our marine biodiversity.

In addition to the mangrove planting, Puerto Princesa also hosts a mass wedding on Valentine’s Day. But this is no ordinary wedding – it’s a wedding with a purpose. Couples can say “I do” while also contributing to the environment. 

A street parade in Palawan

Baragatan sa Palawa

Baragatan sa Palawan is a week-long festival celebrating the founding anniversary of the civil government of Palawan province. This event showcases the rich history, culture, and lifestyle of the people who have long inhabited the area. Every third week of June, locals from all over Palawan gather in Puerto Princesa City, where the Provincial Capitol is located, to celebrate the anniversary of the world’s best island.

For many, Baragatan is an opportunity for thanksgiving, while others find it a chance to exhibit Palawan’s offerings, particularly those who come from far municipalities and bring their products with them.

The week-long celebration starts with a Eucharistic celebration, a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and a grand parade featuring colorful floats, street dances, and angelic voices that usher guests and tourists to a festive week. After the grand opening, numerous activities are lined up to ensure everyone in town can participate and enjoy the festivity. These activities include photo contests, sports competitions, concerts, quiz bees, and beauty pageants organized by the staff of the provincial government.

Huts are built within the capitol grounds that can be rented by vendors or delegates from other municipalities who bring the pride of their municipalities with them. This serves as a big opportunity for traders from far municipalities to showcase their products that do not usually reach the city proper due to distance and delivery time.

Tourists can look around and scan through the products Palawan has to offer during Baragatan. The stars of the show are local products such as handcrafted accessories, bags, wallets, baskets, and woven items. The Palawan cashews and other Palawan delicacies also serve as major head-turners during Baragatan.

Overall, Baragatan sa Palawan is the most significant event in Palawan. It is a great opportunity to learn more about the culture and history of the province while enjoying the festivities and exploring its diverse offerings.

Arawedan Festival

The Arawedan Festival is an exciting celebration that takes place annually from January 23 to January 24 in the charming coastal town of Port Barton in the Municipality of San Vicente, Palawan. This festival is a vibrant showcase of the numerous tourist attractions in the municipality, including its stunning beaches, breathtaking marine reserves, and verdant parks.

In addition to highlighting the natural beauty of San Vicente, the Arawedan Festival also features programs that showcase the rich cultural heritage of Palawan. Visitors can expect to witness colorful street dances, cultural presentations, and other exciting activities that offer a glimpse into the local way of life.

Filipino dancing during Kulambo Festival

Kulambo Festival

The Kulambo Festival is an annual celebration held in the town of El Nido, one of the most famous and unique islands in Palawan province. The festival takes place from March 15th to 18th and features participants in eye-catching costumes made of kulambo, or mosquito nets, during the street parade.

This town fiesta is a lively event filled with dancing, singing, and large gatherings of locals and tourists alike. Visitors can also enjoy various types of local delicacies offered during the festival. Don’t miss out on the Kulambo Festival, a unique cultural experience that showcases the creativity and spirit of the people of El Nido.

Pasinggatan Festival

The Pasinggatan Festival is a vibrant celebration held every year from May 1st to 4th in the Municipality of Taytay, Palawan. This festival showcases the passion of Filipinos for singing and dancing, highlighting the rich culture of the Philippines.

During this festivity, visitors can witness traditional Filipino songs and folk dances, along with various programs that exhibit the exceptional handicraft skills of the locals and the products they create.

Filipino dancing during Anihan Festival

Anihan Festival

The Palay Festival, previously known as Anihan Festival, is a well-known event in Narra, Palawan, which highlights the town’s abundant harvest. Located in the southern part of Palawan, Narra is recognized as the “Rice Granary of Palawan.” The festival is celebrated annually, usually in the last week of October, as a way for the people of Narra to express their gratitude for the bountiful harvest.

During the Palay Festival, the municipality showcases its local products, particularly rice and other agricultural produce, through various programs and activities. These events feature the vibrant culture and traditions of Narra, including street dances, parades, and exhibits of local handicrafts.

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Every year on December 8th, Puerto Princesa celebrates the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, which is also celebrated in other parts of the Philippines. This festival continues until the New Year, and is marked by a series of nightly parades and processions featuring the Virgin Mary.

Ritual dance performed in Palawan

Pagdiwata Tribal Ritual

The Pagdiwata Tribal Ritual is a must-see festival in Palawan, celebrated by locals in the municipality of Aborlan. This spiritual ritual, held during the full moon in December, involves giving thanks to God for their bountiful harvests and requesting for the healing of the ill in the province.

Aside from the ritual, visitors can also explore Aborlan’s unspoiled beaches. This municipality is known for its agricultural industry and mountainous terrain, making it a great destination for nature lovers.

Tarek Festival

The Tarek Palawan Festival is an annual event celebrated during the third week of January by the Tagbanua and Batak tribes in the municipality of Aborlan, Palawan. This festival is renowned for its ritual dances, similar to the Pagdiwata Tribe Ritual, and is held only under a bright full moon.

During the festival, the Batak tribe showcases their traditional beliefs through their woven clothing and handmade accessories, while performing a war dance to drive away evil spirits and seek the gods’ blessings for the community’s continued prosperity. The Tarek Festival is a follow-up celebration of Pagdiwata, and it offers an authentic glimpse into the traditional culture and customs of the indigenous people of Palawan.

Filipino people dancing during the Cuyo Fiesta

Cuyo Fiesta

The fiesta in Cuyo, Palawan takes place in August and is similar to the Ati-Atihan Festival. During the event, participants blacken their skin and dance with complete abandon to the beat of the drums.

Cuyo is a small island town with a rich cultural heritage, which becomes more apparent during the annual fiesta celebration. Guests can enjoy colorful parades, dance performances, musical shows, and re-enactments of San Agustin’s confrontation with the natives.

One of the highlights of the Cuyo Fiesta is the Ati Dance, where participants cover their faces with soot and paint them with anyel (indigo) before donning colorful headgear made of coconut fiber and chicken feathers. Their costumes are adorned with coconut leaves, and the men carry spears and bow and arrows, while the women carry baskets and wear native bead necklaces. The dance consists of the men and women lined up on opposite sides of the street, doing a lively mix of hops, jumps, and sways while chanting.

Amidst all the merrymaking, there is a dancing clown who chases the women, causing them to shriek and laugh until coins are thrown at him.