Tagbilaran is the capital city of Bohol Province which consists of 15 barangays. Each of these barangays celebrates festivities as part of their historical culture. The yearly schedules of festival celebration in Tagbilaran are all year long from the month of January through December and are well known to the Tagbilaran locals and tourists alike.
There are major festivals that are celebrated in Tagbilaran City and among the most famous are the following:
The Ubi Festival
Celebrated every 15th to 19th of January, the Ubi Festival gives the local farmers the opportunity to showcase their ubi products such as pastillas, ube jam, cakes and other palatable concoctions. This yearly activity is most looked forward to by sweet purple jam lovers while the elder folks teach the younger generations to associate this food as holy.
Foundation Day of Tagbilaran
This is celebrated as the town festival commemorating the foundation of Tagbilaran City which was formerly known as San Jose de Tagbilaran and is celebrated by the Tagbilaran City government every February 9.
The Blood Compact Festival
The treaty friendship between ardent leaders Datu Sikatuna of Bohol and Miguel Lopez de Legaspi of Spain took place in the form of a blood compact which is an act of shedding blood between these leaders. This historical event is commemorated in Tagbilaran every March 16 and is officially declared to be a special working holiday.
The Lenten Festival
The town folks of Tagbilaran celebrate the Lenten Season in solemnity through Visita Iglesia and procession to the Stations of the Cross. They also celebrate a pilgrimage to Elley Hill, processions of Santo Entiero and La Soledad.
Feast of San Vicente Ferrer
This is a festivity celebrated every April 3rd through solemn novenas and mass along with fanfare activities highlighted with dances and various competitions. Every household prepares a food as a form of thanksgiving for the blessings of good harvest and good fortune among the town folks.
Flores de Mayo Festival
This is a month long festival in May celebrated in Tagbilaran that is commonly called as the Flowers of May Festival. This is to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary, the city’s patron through daily novenas and mass. The devotees offer flowers to the Blessed Mother and children wear costumes to look like angels while participating on the rites. Children are taught how to pray through catechesis while learning various religious songs and dances with games. A coronation program for the search of Flower of May is also celebrated during this festival.
This is celebrated every 1st of July and it also marks the launching of the famous Sandugo festival which is a month long festival in Tagbilaran. This day is declared by the city government as a special non-working holiday within the city of Tagbilaran.
The Sandugo Festival
The Sandugo festival is the most popular festival and is the major festivity in Tagbilaran City. This is the celebration known as the Blood Compact Commemoration or Bohol Sandugo Celebration that signify the historical event that occurred in Tagbilaran which is the friendship treaty between Miguel Lopez De Legaspi and Datu Sikatuna.
The Sandugo Festival is celebrated for the whole month of July but it now extends in August where a Trade-Agri Food Fair is celebrated and is highlighted with nightly entertainment gigs in the city with street dancing and re-enactment show of the blood compact.
There are also daily church services, firework displays, streets parade with colorful costumes, sports tournaments and cockfighting activities that fill this month-long celebration of the Sandugo Festival.
With these enumerated festivities held in Tagbilaran city, one can see that the Province of Bohol is one that is endowed with lively celebrations of different festivals that are highlighted with fun filled activities with a touch of religious and historical celebrations.