Festivals in Manila, like most Filipino culture, usually relate to Catholicism, yet other non-secular events do exist. Travelers interested in enjoying some of the local celebrations in Manila should be aware of the following annual events there.

Christmas

An important holiday in the area and is accompanied by a number of religious and social events.

Cinemanila

November in Manila brings Cinemanila, a two-week long International Film Festival along the same lines as Cannes.  More information is online.

Feast of the Black Nazarene

An all day parade, which shuts down traffic in the city and causes people to gather in the streets.

Fete de la Musique de Manila

An annual music festival in mid to late June featuring almost every type of music under the sun. There are over a half-dozen different venues feature sixty-plus bands in a one-night music celebration. Other places around the city also consider themselves with live musical celebrations.

Flores de Mayo

Religious celebration which takes place in May.  It is enjoyed even by those who are not religious as it is a beautiful ceremony which makes use of the natural flora of the area to decorate the city.  Filipinos turn each of the 31 days in May into a charming tribute to the virginal virtues in Flores de Mayo - the flowers of May fiesta. Spiritual virtue seeks to reach even the young. Every day in May, children, with cut flowers and baskets of petals in hand, march down the church center aisle. As the children march down the aisle they sprinkle the fragrant petals for Mama Mary.

Additionally, Flores de Mayo celebrates the Holy Cross. Nine days of prayer (a Novena) are dedicated to the honor of the Holy Cross, which leads up to the Santacruzan (see below). More information is available at http://www.seasite.niu.edu/TAGALog/Cy... .

New Year’s Day

An important event in Manila with parades and festivals marking the new year.

People’s Power Day

Freedom and independence celebration which takes place each year in February. 

Santacruzan

An annual beauty pageant, held in May and considered "the Queen of Filipino Festivals," which draws much attention to Manila.  Coincidentally, Santacruzan features parades in all the towns and villages encompassing beautiry pageants and glorification of the Blessed Virgin Marry. May also embodies a month-long celebration of Virgin Mary with the "Flores de Mayo" (see above). More information is available.

 

Cocoa de Flores

Cocoa de Flores is a annual celebration held on the second week of April.  This cultural celebration lasts all week, on Monday its more calm, all the roads are closed and shops and restuarants usually have some sort of discount.  Most people are preparing for Tuesday-Friday's celebrations.  On Tuesday the "fair" opens; its not really a fair, but it was contest and games and food.  At night the fireworks go off, Cocoa de Flores - Chocolate and Flowers.  This is a cultural love celebration.  So bring your loved one or your family to enjoy the week with you.

Wednesday is the huge parade, people dress up in costumes as native animal, mythical creatures, cultural themes, and religious figures.  At night free alchohol is given out at a limit, Wednesday night is not for kids.  Thursday again, has parades, parties, dances and music, you may sign up for contests like beauty pagents, dance/singing contest, games and much, much more!  Friday is the last day of parades, this day is more of a romantic day, there are many shows to see such as musicals, horse shows, theater shows and you even get a chance to see other European or Asian cultures performing their own shows.

Saturday is the Cocoa day, and every year a new type of chocolate bar/drink/dessert etc. is invented.  You may buy this and try it for your self.  Last year the triple cocoa bit (chocolate chip) strawberry cream shake was invented.  It is chocolate chips, strawberries, and oreo bits and cream into a shake or smoothie.  Sunday is the spiritual day.  No partying, every one is very religious and quiet.  All day is spent worshiping.  There is usually a priest outside and a stage set up and if you can't get inside, that's where you are.  Adults do this for the whole day, while kids do it half day.  The kids are taken to a childeren's church (outside and adults so adults can try and get a place inside. 

There are flowers everywhere?  Yes, people are wearing them, making flores necklaces, its odd if you aren't using the flowers.  You may grow a flower and enter it into a contest too.  No wonder it is called Cocoa de Flores!