Palawan is a beautiful island in the Philippine that boasts of its own splendid combination of flora and fauna. Local and international tourists mix together and enjoy the island’s nature-given beauty. Such beauty is known for its white sand beaches, magnificent marble cliffs and unique geographical formations.
However, it should not be forgotten that another important aspect of the Palawan Islands are the people of the local towns. Mostly, Palawan comprises of the Tagalogs, Luzon’s largest ethnic group. The minority groups in the islands include the Tagbanwa, Batak and the Muslims. Almost each of the ethnic tribes celebrates different festivals in accordance to tribal culture.
The island is predominantly Catholic as brought about by the Philippines’ Spanish heritage. This brings the people to celebrate Catholic festivals, such the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The Immaculate Conception is another manifestation of the Virgin Mary, which signifies purity. This festival is known for its majestic float parades which take place in the town capital. In more rural town, Catholic festivals are dated based upon the town’s own patron saint. Of course, another famous celebration which is mostly celebrated around the islands—and the country—is the Christmas season.
The minority groups in Palawan also celebrate their festivals. The most famous one is the beautiful Pagdiwata Ritual Festival, which represents a part of the Tagbanua culture. The Pagdiwata strongly expresses its sentiments towards familial culture. Hence, it is a center point of the Tagbanua celebrations. Some of its activities involve symbolic gratitude for harvest, the climate and bountiful blessings. Planting and war dances are also presented. The most important part of the festival is the Pasuldan where the supernatural beings use the body of the prominent Babaylan—the head priest/priestess. The Pagdiwata is celebrated on December, by the town proper of Aborlan, Palawan.
On the other hand, another minority group, the Batak celebrates their festivals to signify the upcoming communal activities. The Tarek Festival is performed through the presentation of the Batak War Dance. The Lambay Festival signifies the start of the hunting and gathering season. Other festivals include the Baragatan Festival, which celebrates the founding of the town of Palawan, and the Cuyo Festival, famous for the soot-covered dancers of Ati-Atihan.
Palawan has a great many beautiful festivals simply because it is the melting pot of many cultures. These celebrations range from the familiar warmth of Western traditions to the local identity of different inhabitants. However, all of them boast of a friendly and authentic nature that proudly displays Palawan’s culture. Surely, these festivals are not to miss.