Philippines is a country in South East Asia known specifically for its rich culture and traditions, stunning islands and pristine beaches, majestic waterfalls and breath-taking summits. Although, these things are just the tip of an iceberg. The country has more to offer from the busiest cities in Luzon to the abundant marine life in Visayas or the tropical island destinations in Mindanao. The festivals in every province or city is another reason to look up to if you’re considering to visit the Philippines.
Festivals in the Philippines is celebrated by the locals either as a form of thanks or in honor to their their rich culture and traditions. Usually, the best and tastiest food or the most abundant product are what the locals celebrate for. Our ancestors back in the days love to pray to the old Gods for the abundance of food. With this being said, I am proud to boast off to both locals and foreigners the colorful and exciting festivals in my country. Whether its the Sinulog festival in Cebu or the colorful flower festival in Northern Luzon, I am sure that every festival will take you back to a journey of rediscovery.
This year, I had the chance to celebrate Lanzones festival in the island province of Camiguin together with the Tourism Promotions Board, Department of Tourism, PTV media production, Bloggers and Vloggers. Thanks to Ms. Jen for inviting me to come over and learn more about the culture and traditions in Camiguin province.
40th Lanzones Festival in Camiguin
To give you a bit of information, Camiguin is the second smallest province in the Philipines next to Batanes. It is also home to the sweetest lanzones fruits in the country. Hence, the Lanzones festival is being celebrated yearly during the month of October.
Just like what I mentioned earlier, festivals in the country are celebrated in a specific month of the year where it is mostly abundant. For Camiguin’s festival, it is celebrated every month of October. This year, the Camiguingnons have just celebrated the 4th decade of the festival: 40th Lanzones Festival in Camiguin.
People from all around the world are invited to come and celebrate. There are street dance competitions, stage presentations, eat-all-you-can lanzones and products made out of lanzones like ice cream, jam, candy, wine, vinegar and many more. Locals prepare very hard for these competitions especially the kids dancing in parades and street dances. You can see the effort they have put in to their presentations. The props and costumes are very colorful and artistic so as the choreography of their dances.
For more information: Camiguin Tourism Office
Street Dance Competition: Lanzones Festival in Camiguin
The street dance competition for this year’s festival has 8 contenders and was held last October 26, Staurday in Mambajao Town Center. The participants competing are from the different municipalities in Camiguin like Mambajao, Guinsiliban, Catarman and Mahinog. Unique costumes and colorful props are used by the different contenders to showcase their talents and skills. These dances are also accompanied by huge drums and a loud cheer from the dancers to make the street dance even more lively and fun.
Eat-all-you-can Lanzones Fruit
This is another activity after the street dance competition where everyone gathers by the side of a long table filled with lanzones fruits and eats it after the countdown time. It’s more like a substitution to a boodle fight where the food in the table are only lanzones.
The tale of the Lanzones fruit: Why is it the sweetest in the country?
Folklore and myths are very much known in the Philippines. The history why the lanzones festival is being celebrated also has its own folklore. Although, the Camiguingnons very much believe in the story which also kept their spirit very lively every time they celebrate the annual festival. The storytelling of the tale is being done for each contender. This is where local and foreign visitors learn about Camiguin’s history.
The story goes like this. Dating back to a myth during the 1800s, a tribe came to Camiguin island and discovered that that the island is abundant in lanzones trees. However, the lanzones fruits can’t be eaten since it’s poisoned. One day, the bats came to the tribe and took all the children. The elders prayed to their old Gods to give them something they can offer to the bats in exchange of the children. Then a fairy showed up and removed the poison in the lanzones fruits and made it sweet so that the tribe can use it as an offering. The tribe was able to successfully redeem the children. As time went by, the Camiguingnons decided to celebrate the festival as a sign of thanks to the fairies who made the lanzones fruits sweeter than any lanzones fruit in the country.
What is the relevance of the festival to the Camiguingnons?
Not only that the festival’s relevance is all about honoring the local folklore but its relevance also extends to the economic status and livelihood of the Camiguingnons. The more that the annual festival gains exposure and recognition to the world, the more chances that the way of living in Camiguin will improve.
The festival has changed the economic impact and status in the island province of Camiguin by attracting tourists to come to the island province. This celebration resulted to fully booked accommodations and more tourists dining in to restaurants. The effect of the festival extends to the farmers and sellers as well since they are able to sell more of their products to tourists and visitors.
What improvements are gained over the past 40 years?
In line with our recent tour in Camiguin, we were able to work with Regional Director of Region 10, Ms Marie Unchuan. As per the interview with the Regional Director with PTV news and production, the improvements gained over 40 years is incredibly high and well. The dedication of the locals and kids performing during the street dance competition increased more and more as they see the improvement of tourism in the island province.
These improvements in the tourism field created a positive impact to the current economic status in Camiguin. More and more opportunities have opened its doors to locals like restaurants, hotels, dive resorts and tour agencies.
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