FUN-FILLED STREETS: PHILIPPINES FESTIVALS

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Filipinos really love to have fun! It is like everything in this world should be celebrated and fun should not have its end. As almost everyone would say, “It is more fun in the Philippines,” Festivals gives the fun or enjoyment it gives spice to the traditional parties that is celebrated from all around the world.

More occasions, more reasons to celebrate! There are lots of places here in the Philippines. Meaning, there are also lots of festivals. It seems like almost every place, even every corner in the country has their very own celebration! Festivals are often characterized with colorful materials which is used in an inventive way. Festivals in the Philippines are designed for people of all ages, so everyone can enjoy festivals.

Here is a list of a few popular festivals celebrated in the Philippines:

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Ati-atihan is one of the most popular of the Philippine festivals. It is celebrated during January 16-22, in Kalibo, Aklan. Ati-atihan is a celebration in honor of the Sto. Niño. Revelers don colorful costumes and paint their bodies black and dance to the distictive beat of “Hala bira!” around the town.

sinulog_queenSINULOG is celebrated every third Sunday of January, in Cebu. Sinulog is the Feast of the Sto. Niño that is celebrated in Cebu with a procession, street dancing competition and a fluvial parade. Much like the Ati-atihan, the Sinulog Festival is marked by  the chant of “Pit Senor!”.

 

510Santacruzan is celebrated during the Month of May. The Santacruzan is a procession commemorating St. Helena’s finding the “True Cross;” preceded by a nine-day Novena in honor of the Holy Cross. On the ninth day, usually on a weekend, the Santacruzan is held. The Reyna Elena, accompanied by a little boy representing King Constantine, and the other sagalas representing biblical characters and the attributes of the Blessed Virgin, walk under gaily decorated arches.

Ati-atihan, Sinulog and Santacruzan are just some of the Festivals here in the Philippines. Most of the festivals are vibrant and energetic and many are of Hispanic influence. Philippines is often dubbed as “The Fiesta Islands” because of the uncountable number of Festivals.  Christmas is the best Festival and have the longest celebrated here in the Philippines even in the other country. It is celebrated from September to January. It is the Festival that is really significant because it’s the birthday of Jesus Christ that also represents “Love.”


 

If there are festivities, food will never be out-listed for every Filipino!

READ MORE about Filipino foods: RE_BLOGGED: Buzzfeed.com – 21 reasons why Filipino food is the absolute greatest.

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THE GOLDEN GIFT TO THE FUTURE: TRADITIONAL MUSIC AND DANCES

 

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Philippine has a very colorful culture. Having been colonized by a number of countries, each leaving a mark on the daily lives of the Filipinos. Philippines is a mixture of indigenous, other Asian, European, Latin American, and American influences. Even though some of the ancient aspects of our culture are already forgotten due to the rapid changes and development of pop culture everywhere in the world, extensive efforts are done in reviving the then prosperous arts and culture in the country. Say for instance, Arts is integrated in the present education system in the Philippines. In addition to that, several cultural centers and establishments are still at hype in the country.

Let us take a time travel back to the golden era of classical Filipino art.

THE CLASSICAL MELODIES

“O, ilaw, sa gabing madilim”

Have you heard of a classical Filipino music?

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Music is a big part of the Filipino Culture, Filipinos in fact is known to the world as people who would always want to sing on special occasions even on a daily basis.

rondalla-2Philippine Music is patterned to the folk music that is called gong music. Listening to the traditional Filipino folk songs literally gives me the native feeling that seem to be so foreign to a lot of Filipino youth nowadays. Filipino Folk songs commonly has a subject of patriotism, love, hope, and even the little things about the Filipino’s daily lives like a fruit or a missing ring.

Notable folk song composers include the National Artist for Music Lucio San Pedro, who composed the famous “Sa Ugoy ng Duyan” that recalls about the loving touch of mother to her child. Another great composer who’s known as patriotic composer is Alfredo Buenaventura.

How about the Harana?

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Harana (Serenade) is a traditional courtship songs used by the Filipinos for their loved ones. The Tagalog folk song that is used as a traditional song for serenading is entitled Aking Bituin (My Star) but it is more popularly known by its first line: O, Ilaw (Oh, Light). Harana is also modernized by the Filipino by using modern love songs in replace of the traditional ones for the past years.

Here is a playlist of a few popular folk songs in the Philippines :

 

MOVE TO THE TRADITIONAL GROOVE

 

“Dancing keeps us away from negative things, when you move, everything is positive, there’s no right or wrong, you release all your emotions and it will end up with a beautiful smile.”

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Dancing is something that is really perfect to release numerous emotions. It gives us fun or even sadness that we can relate to our own feelings. That is why, it is really important to the Filipinos. Dancing plays an important role in Filipino culture, telling the history and preserving traditions through folk dances.

Do you know a traditional Filipino folk dance? Do you know its origin?

If not, let me elaborate a few to you.

tinikling-finale-london-united-kingdom1152_12895057746-tpfil02aw-12877Tinikling means “bamboo dance” in English. It is the most popular and best known of the Philippine dances and honored as the Philippine National Dance. This dance originated in the islands of Leyte in the Visayan Islands. People of Leyte describe the tikling bird as one of the most unique in its movements – walking around and between the tree branches and some grass stems. This bird was named “tikling” from which the Tinikling dance got its name. Because of the creativeness of the people, they have imitated this bird by using bamboo poles.

560_girlsLet’s talk about Pangalay which is also one of the most popular dances in the Philippines. Pangalay is a traditional Tausug dance. It focuses in the body postures and gestures and graceful arm and hand movement. Pangalay is also known as fingernail dance. Interesting, right?

banga4It is really fun to learn and understand the Folk Dances. Wait, there’s more! Banga dance! Banga dance portrays the Igorot women on their way to the river to fetch the daily water supply for their family. Banga shows the skill and strength of the women as they would carry heavy laiden clay pots (Banga) full of water. Their grace and agility while balancing the heavy pots, sometimes stacks 5 high, is a testiment of the Filipino and how hardships become an art form and talent.

Tinikling, Pangalay, and Banga are just some of the dances performed in the Philippine Islands. There are lots of Folk Dances in the Philippines that evolved and there are some changes. But, the root of every Folk Dance and its message will never be changed.

Check out this playlist of Philippine Folk Dances:

May these golden pillars of our culture won’t ever be forgotten. After all, everything that we have now is based from what has been established in the past. Let us not forget to appreciate and remember them every once in a while.


 

A big part of the Filipino identity is their language spoken. Amidst the diversity, the Filipino language seem to bond every Filipinos coming from the different parts of the archipelago.

READ MORE: WE ARE MANY BUT ONE!

RE-BLOGGED: Buzzfeed.com – 21 Reasons WHY Filipino Food Is The Absolute Greatest

As I was lazily browsing through my facebook feed one afternoon (making the most out of my rest time before dealing with academic responsibilities), I saw this article written by Melissa Harrison for Buzzfeed.com about Filipino food recipes! Then I remembered about our Dito Po sa Asean blog wherein our group has to feature about the Philippines. So might as well grab the opportunity to re-blog this and share this to our audience because I am not really a good cook or whatever. So here it is! The 21 Reasons Why Filipino Food Is The Absolute Greatest.

Let’s feast!

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1. Because our breakfasts look like this:

Because our breakfasts look like this:

We all know that a perfect plate of meat, rice, and a fried egg is the true breakfast of champions.

Recipe here: Tapsilog

2. Or like this:

Or like this:

Sweet, doughy mountains of bread topped with butter and cheese are approximately a thousand times tastier than cereal.

Recipe here: Homemade ensaymadas

3. Because we won’t judge when you inhale a dozen lumpia in one sitting:

Since that is, in fact, the proper serving size.

Recipes here: Lumpia with shrimp | Lumpia with ground chicken

4. Because we know there’s no problem that a little garlic and vinegar can’t solve:

Because we know there's no problem that a little garlic and vinegar can't solve:

Recipe here: Chicken adobo

5. Because we know a thing or two about noodles:

Recipe here: Pancit bihon

6. Because we like our fish extra crispy:

Because we like our fish extra crispy:

Recipe here: Fried milkfish in vinegar

7. The same goes for pork belly:

The same goes for pork belly:

Whether it’s in bite-sized pieces or part of a scene-stealing whole roasted lechon.

Recipe here: Crispy pork belly bites

8. Because we’ve mastered the art of sweet rice:

Because we've mastered the art of sweet rice:

Recipe here: Biko

9. And savory rice, for that matter:

And savory rice, for that matter:

Recipe here: Arroz caldo

10. Because we know that there’s nothing like a hot bowl of stew or soup on a cold day:

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Recipes here: Beef Mechado | Sinigang

11. And that kare kare cures all:

12. Because when life gives us calamansi, we make lemonade (or whiskey cocktails):

Lemons are so 2012 anyway.

Recipes here: Calamansi juice | Calamansi whiskey sour

13. Because we take snacking seriously:

Because we take snacking seriously:

Shrimp fritters rule everything around me.

Recipe here: Ukoy

14. And we take ~stacking~ seriously:

And we take ~stacking~ seriously:

As in: Stacks on stacks of steamed buns.

Recipe here: Siopao

15. Because we’re not afraid of color:

Because we're not afraid of color:

Recipe here: Arroz valenciana

16. Or of texture:

Or of texture:

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Sticky rice rounds in coconut milk? I’ll take three bowls, thanks.

Recipe here: Ginataang bilo-bilo

17. Or of using every part of the animal:

Or of using every part of the animal:

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Pig’s head? Pig’s liver? BRING IT ON.

Recipe here: Sizzling sisig

18. Because rice is the ultimate culinary canvas:

Because rice is the ultimate culinary canvas:

Repeat after me: There’s no such thing as too much rice.

Recipe here: Bicol express

19. Because we always save room for dessert:

Banana-jackfruit lumpia and coconut-rice cake? Check and check.

Recipes here: Turon | Bibingka

20. Because we know that nothing compares to halo halo:

Because we know that nothing compares to halo halo:

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More on halo halo here.

21. And that when your meals are filled with Filipino food? Life is pretty sweet.

Ube for president.

Recipes here: Ube macapuno empanadas | Ube macapuno cupakes

Of Filipino Traditions and Values

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Philippines is known as the country of smiles and lively people. Filipinos are known to the whole world as people who will always be welcoming and never problematic. It is indeed evident because no matter how distracting things that may come, they will never forget to put on a smile and just be happy. It is a fact that Philippines is within the Pacific Ring of Fire, making it prone to different natural catastrophes, and the most common of those is typhoon. In an annual rate, the country experiences 26 or more typhoon. But amidst all of those, you’ll see Filipinos being all optimistic and smiling through the struggles! How amazing is that, right?

(Smiles)

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43Filipino Values is indeed really different, we are very unique in a good way. Filipinos are also known to be the courteous people for using “po” and “opo” to respect the other people. At a very young age, kids are already taught to be courteous and respectable most especially to the elders even before they enter school at the age of 3 or 4.

It is also an exhibit of the “close family ties” of the Filipinos. How we give much importance to the members of the family, even for the extended family members. Unlike in the other countries, Filipinos, even at their legal age and having their own families, still chooses to be with their parents or never loose connection with them the least.

 

44But for me the most amazing value that can be taught by the Filipinos to the world is the BAYANIHAN. This strong communitarian practice called “Bayanihan” which literally means “being a hero” ignores social ranking, structures, leadership roles and authority relationships. What matters most is the spirit of being able to help each other out. Unity is the key term for this value.

I can still remember one of my childhood dreams to see a group of men carrying a nipa hut by their shoulders from one place to another. As I have read from my elementary textbooks, that is one of the evidences of bayanihan. But unfortunately, I have yet to see one. At one point, I thought bayanihan is already forgotten and was never practiced anymore.

As I grow up, the concept of bayanihan became clearer and more mature to me. It is in fact more than the men of the community carrying a nipa hut. Instead, giving out a helping hand and be able to help my fellow countrymen even in my own little ways is enough as a concrete example bayanihan. At times of need, extending out help to other people is more than enough.

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And that is something I can be proud of as a Filipino. There is still the undying flame that ignites the true Filipino culture. The true Filipino values.

Taas noo kahit kanino. Pinoy ako!

“With head held high, I am proud to be a FILIPINO!”


Another thing that can make you proud of being a Filipino is the street parties and celebrations otherwise known as fietas!

READ MORE: FUN-FILLED STREETS: PHILIPPINE FESTIVALS