Manila Events and Festivals

(Manila, National Capital Region, Philippines)

Filipino celebration imageWith religion playing a major role in the lives of most of Manila's residents, it's hardly surprising that many of the events and biggest festivals within the city's calendar are religiously themed or oriented. Manila Day in June is a highlight of the calendar and one of the biggest draws in the city, as far as overseas visitors are concerned, offering an enjoyable choice of things to do.

Traditional Catholic festivals, such as Christmas and Easter, are celebrated enthusiastically, although the city of Manila also has a plenty of non-Christian events that it celebrates exclusively. These tend to be the most unique and exciting affairs to attend.

Manila Calendar of Festivals and Events 2014 / 2015


  • Feast of the Black Nazarene - as the name suggests, this is a religious festival and one that focuses on a life-sized statue of Christ with dark skin. The wooden statue is paraded around the town in a lively procession on the day of the feast
  • Ati Atihan - this is the town's own interpretation of the popular Mardi Gras celebration and is a three-day affair held in the Kalibo district. The festival includes religious parades and rituals as well as singing, dancing and lively cultural displays


  • Bamboo Organ Festival - one of the year's cultural highs takes place over a week at St. Joseph's Church and features recitals of music from a variety of genres and eras, played on its famous Bamboo Organ


  • Philippine International Jazz and Arts Festival - also known as the PI JazzFest and featuring live jazz music and concerts all around the city during the month of March


  • Maundy Thursday - the religiously devoted across the city come together to observe this important day in the Catholic calendar. Services are held in every church at this time in April, and processions make their way through the city streets


  • Flores de Mayo - another Catholic festival in Manila, lasting for the duration of May and held in honour of the Virgin Mary. There are a variety of services and events staged across the city, the culmination of which is the Santa Cruzan parade held in Rizal Park on the last day of the month
  • San Isidro Festival - hailed as the liveliest and most colourful festival held anywhere in the archipelago, the San Isidro Festival is hosted by Quezon and is an event dedicated to its patron saint


  • Araw ng Maynila (Manila Day) - the city pays tribute to its own culture and heritage in this lively celebration that sees events across the city. Live music, a talent contest and a food festival are among the regular features
  • Fête de la Musique - the city's largest musical event takes place each June and boasts seven stages hosting over 150 musical acts, with well known Filipino talents billed, as well as some huge international stars


  • Subli-an sa Manila - originally a ritual to honour the Holy Cross, Subli has since become a traditional style of dance indigenous to the city. Displays of dancing are accompanied by the voices of four choir singers, making for some unique and quite magical performances


  • National Heroes Day - held on the fourth Monday each August, a national holiday held throughout the Philippines


  • Kalesa Festival - the focus of this festival is the promotion of the old-fashioned horse and carts that still used as modes of transport in some areas of the city. Celebration of this unique aspect of the city's heritage is done with performances in music, song and dance
  • Filipino Heritage Festival - mid-September, the city celebrates all that's good about Filipino culture in this vibrant festival held at Rizal Park and other sites across the main urban area. For visitors, this is the ideal opportunity to experience music, dance, cuisine and handicrafts, among other cultural features


  • La Naval Festival - St. Domingo Church in the Quezon district hosts this major religious event that pays tribute to Our Lady of the Rosary. A nine-day long 'novena' (Catholic worship) is held within the church and the city's streets are the setting for a lengthy procession


  • Feast of Nuestra Senora Delos - held in Malate Remedios, this festival is held each November in honour of one of Manila's patron saints and features, among other events, a large-scale procession through the streets with a statue of the saint at the head
  • International Salsa Festival - mid-November, a chance to enjoy some serious Salsa dancing performances and take part in various workshops


  • Christmas - throughout December, with the majority of the city's residents practising Catholicism, Christmas is celebrated enthusiastically by Manila locals. The season includes attendances of religious services as well as traditional holiday celebrations