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5 Must-See and Experience Festivals in Mindanao this January

The Philippines archipelago, a country located in South East Asia that comprises of more than 7,107 islands and islets is home to more than a hundred festivals, a wide selection of different festivities around the nation from the start of January to December. These festivities has been part of the Filipino culture and tradition that passed by for many generations. Most often than not, these festivals highlight the history, and tradition of the region, others about the cultures and pre-american colonization, while some are simply celebrating the fullest of life in most vibrant and distinctive style.
Kahimunan Festival in Butuan City, Agusan del Norte
On the other hand, Mindanao or commonly called Southern Philippines, the second largest island in the archipelago as well as highlights one of the country’s grandest, and exciting festivities, a celebration of culture and tradition, arts and history, and the likes, and the month of January is a great way to start the year to explore these festivals, and experience the dazzling merry making, radiant smiles of the people, and be acquainted of the tradition and culture of the local community right after the season of sharing and giving.

Here is a list of the TOP 5 Must-See and Experience Festivals in Mindanao this month of January in no particular order.

1. KUYAMIS FESTIVAL
    LOCATION: MISAMIS ORIENTAL
Kuyamis Festival of the Province of Misamis Oriental
The most anticipated event in the province of Misamis Oriental, Kuyamis Festival is the brainchild of Governor Yevgeny “Bambi” Emano when he assumed office in 2013. It highlights the province’s founding anniversary which will be on its 89th year. Kuyamis Festival celebrates every second week of January with different sets of activities highlighting the week-long celebration. Now on its 6th year, the Kuyamis Festival will start from January 07-11, 2019.
Kuyamis Festival of the Province of Misamis Oriental
One of the activities that highlight the event is the Kuyamis Festival Street Dancing and Festival Tableau. It is an annual festivity of thanksgiving, and acknowledgement to the earlier customs of the “lumads” who thrived in Misamis with a variety of sweet coconuts as their basic foodstuff. The celebration is marked by merry making of coordinated dances and songs while showcasing the coconut as a tree of life.
Kuyamis Festival of the Province of Misamis Oriental
2. HINUGYAW FESTIVAL
    LOCATION: KORONADAL CITY, SOUTH COTABATO

Hinugyaw which is said to originate from the Hiligaynon word “hugyaw” which means an expression of fun is an important celebration of merry making in Koronadal City, located in the province of South Cotabato. Hinugyaw Festival which usually starts on January 08 is a 7-day in length festivity celebrating the foundation anniversary or the establishment commemoration of the Koronadal, called in the past as Marbel.

Hinugyaw Festival is a celebration of its rich history, a tribute to the Maker while converging the drumbeats, and steps with the different ethnic cultures of its community; Christians, Maguindanaoans, and Indigenous B’laan people gather the valley of South Cotabato into one historical adaptation.

3. TRANSLACION OF THE BLACK NAZARENE
    LOCATION: CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY
Translacion of the Black Nazarene, Cagayan de Oro City by Gian James Maagad
Commemorates every 9th of January, the Translacion is said to be the largest procession of the image’s copy of the Black Nazarene, a life-sized image of a dark-skinned, kneeling Jesus Christ carrying cross drawing millions of devotees flooding on touching the image and is said to last 20 hours at the most.

In Cagayan de Oro, the Translacion or the annual Black Nazarene Procession will take place on the same day starting with the Holy Mass at 04:00am in St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral to be followed by the procession at 05:30am enroute Fernandez Street, Left turn to Velez Street, Right turn to Highway near Shell Station and to the Nazareno Church. Last year, some 200,000 attended the event and every year, it is said that the Translacion draws thousands visitors and devotees.
Translacion of the Black Nazarene, Cagayan de Oro City by Gian James Maagad
Translacion of the Black Nazarene, Cagayan de Oro City by Gian James Maagad with permission
4. PASALAMAT FESTIVAL
    LOCATION: PAGADIAN CITY
Pasalamat Festival of Pagadian City. Photo by Al-Rashid Ahadain with permission

Pasalamat Festival is an annual celebration of the local community of Pagadian City giving thanks for the bountiful and fruitful harvest in honor to its patron saint, Sto. Niño (The Holy Child Jesus), which coincides with the feast-day of Cebu City. The festivity celebrated every third Sunday of January. 

Accordingly, the origin of the Pasalamat Festival was meant to honor the folklore god of agriculture. "The locals had to go to Mt. Kanlaon to honor the god and to give their gratitude from an abundant harvest. But as time had passed, it was transformed into far more colorful and exciting event to be in."
Pasalamat Festival of Pagadian City. Photo by Al-Rashid Ahadain with permission
Pasalamat Festival of Pagadian City. Photo by Al-Rashid Ahadain with permission
5. KAHIMUNAN FESTIVAL
    LOCATION: BUTUAN CITY, AGUSAN DEL NORTE
Kahimunan Festival of Butuan City, Agusan del Norte
Considered as the biggest festivity in Caraga region, Kahimunan Festival in Libertad, Butuan City is a version of a thanksgiving celebration of Santo Niño that founded in 1987 by Father Juanito “Nito” Belino, first Parish Priest of Sto Niño Parish.
Kahimunan Festival of Butuan City, Agusan del Norte
Kahimunan derived from a Lumad word which means “gathering”, is a traditional ritual performed by the natives before the beginning of the planting season which characterizes by singing, chanting, and playing accompanied by indigenous musical instruments such as gong, the gimbor (drum),and bamboo (Kalatong and Kotik). Kahimunan Festival is a way of Butuanons to show their greatest thanksgiving to the patron saint, Santo Niño for all the good things that happened in their life, and bountiful harvest. Additionally, the festival is a combination of the pre-colonial culture that dates back the vibrant era of Butuan City.

The Kahimunan Festival sets every third week of January while the Street Dancing Festival commemorates every third Sunday of the month.
Kahimunan Festival of Butuan City, Agusan del Norte

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