Philippine Department of Tourism has come out with a Manila festivals line-up for the first quarter of 2011 for Metro Manila’s 16 cities and lone municipality.
“We have begun the re-development of Metro Manila as a tourist destination in itself through our collaboration with the local government units.
"Soon, both foreigners and locals will know the metropolis beyond being the premier gateway and capital city of the Philippines.
For a start, there are Manila Festivals worth witnessing for January to March,” tourism chief Alberto Lim said.
Undersecretary Ma. Victoria Jasmin, concurrent officer-in-charge of the Department of Tourism-National Capital Region (DOT-NCR) office, said these Manila festivals showcase Filipino culture and tradition which have been developed to promote Metro Manila as a prime destination.
Manilans annually begin the New Year festivities with the solemn Feast of the Black Nazarene, Metro Manila’s oldest and biggest festival on January 9.
As part of the nationwide celebration of the Feast of the Sto. Nino, festivals take centerstage on the third Sundays of January.
"The 399th celebration of the Sto. Nino de Pandacan Parish in Pandacan district has the Buling-Buling Festival –- decreed as the official cultural dance identity of the City of Manila -- held every third Saturday or a day before the Feast of Sto. Nino.
Throughout the second week of January, the fishing town of Navotas commemorates its founding with the Pangisdaan Festival. Back to January’s third Sunday, the City of Makati complements the Sto. Nino feasts by paying homage to Mother Nature through the Caracol Festival promoting environmental preservation.
Likewise, every third Sunday of the year comes up with celebrations of the Lakbayaw Festival in Tondo, Manila, the Pajotan de Sto. Nino in Maypajo, Caloocan City, and the Bambino Festival in Pasig City.
The exhibition of more than a hundred images of the Sto. Nino continues every third week of January. At the end of the month, the festivities comes to an end highlighted by a grand procession.
Meantime, the whole month of February is Philippine International Arts Festival “Ani ng Sining.” Aimed at promoting Philippine culture and the arts as well as highlighting and enhancing Filipino creativity, the festival consists of lecture series, exhibits, film showings, and writing workshops, among others.
It is spearheaded by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
The cities of Pasay, Las Pinas, Pasig and Mandaluyong as well as the metropolis’ lone municipality of Pateros have for the second week of February their own Manila Festivals.
Pasay City honors the feast of Sta. Clara with the fertility rites at the Parish Church plus the Serenata and Tiburin Race.
These cultural activities and Manila festivals coincide with the 18th Travel Tour Expo on February 18 to 20 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay.
The City of Mandaluyong marks its Liberation Day and Cityhood on February 9. The 35th International Bamboo Organ Festival is staged at the St. Joseph Parish in Las Pinas City throughout the third week.
Summer comes early for the residents and visitors of Pasig City with its Summer Music Festival to be held at the city museum complex and participated by local and foreign-based Pasigueños.
At the same time, the town of Pateros commemorates the feast of its patron, St. Martha, with the Pagoda sa Daan and Pandangguhan Festival.
As the entire Christendom in the Philippines observes the beginning of Lent with Ash Wednesday on March 9, Muntinlupa City commemorates the week-long Dinagsa Festival before the solemnity of Holy Week sets in. (PNA/Lily O Ramos)