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Various Celebrations of Basilan


Basilan is an island province that is endowed with natural beauty. It is pristine and unspoiled from the picturesque cities, towns and countryside to the majesty of waterfalls and the serenity of seashores. From the historical relics of the past to the living heritage of the present, it's all in Basilan.

by Jhaypee Guia on July 16, 2012
Various Celebrations of Basilan

Lami-Lamihan Festival - Lamitan, Basilan

Basilan is an island province that is endowed with natural beauty. It is pristine and unspoiled from the picturesque cities, towns and countryside to the majesty of waterfalls and the serenity of seashores. From the historical relics of the past to the living heritage of the present, it's all in Basilan.

Aside from the natural beauty of Basilan, the province has a different kinds of celebrations and events where local people celebrate it yearly for many reasons. Festivals are part of the townsfolk's culture and tradition.

  • Pakaradjaan Basilan, celebrated annually from March 1 to March 7 to commemorate the anniversary of the Province of Basilan.
  • Lami-Lamihan Festival, the island's premier festival, is celebrated during the Feast of St. Peter (Fiesta San Pedro) on June 29 in Lamitan City. The festival is highlighted by the Yakans, who attend the festivities in full regalia, selling wares and produce brought in from their farms in the interior.
  • Cocowayan Festival, Isabela City's annual commemoration of its cityhood, is a week-long series of activities culminating in the annual Street Dancing parade on April 25.
  • Fiesta Santa Isabel, celebrated every July 8 by the residents of Isabela City, in honor of its Patroness Saint, Elizabeth of Portugal (Span. Sta. Isabel de Portugal). The focal point of the celebrations is the Sta. Isabel Cathedral, located at the center of Isabela City. This is highlighted by a procession and novena masses, the traditional Bella Isabela Beauty Pageant, a marathon, a regatta and other activities organized primarily by the Diocese of Basilan and the Prelature of Isabela and its lay organizations, the Catholic Women's League and the Knights of Columbus.
  • Semana Santa (Holy Week), celebrated in March/April (movable). A city procession known as the Santo Entierro (Holy Funeral) on Good Friday highlights the observance of Lent. Celebrated in most parish churches in the city and in the Sta. Isabel Cathedral, the Santo Entierro is a procession of Christ's images, many of the Stations of the Cross along the city's main streets, depicting his last hours before, during, and after the Crucifixion.
  • Flores de Mayo (May 1–31). A religious feast celebrated in all Catholic churches in honor of the Virgin Mary. Little children in white gala dresses walk up the altar to offer flowers to the image of the Virgin Mary.
  • Fonda de Barangay or Fiestas del Barangay, a week-long celebration in the barangays/barrios honoring their patron saints. The celebration usually starts with novena masses held every day for nine straight days prior to the feast day of the patron saint. Every night, the barrio is lit up for celebration and merry-making that includes pageants, trade fair, parade, cock-fighting, carnival, musical competition and "baile."
  • Budbud Festival, a barangay fiesta in honor of Nuestra Senora dela Regla of Begang Barangay, otherwise known as Isabela City's "Little Cebu", a majority of whose residents originated from Carmen, Cebu Province. The festival consists of several days of beauty pageants, street dancing, "budbud" (rice cake) eating and much merrymaking.
  • Pascua (Christmas), the December 25 celebration of Jesus Christ's birth. City hall, churches, schools, streetlight post, houses, streets, commercial places, parks and most of the other places in the city are covered with lights, filled with joyous sounds and other Christmas decorations.
  • Isra Wal Miraj (May 9), an Islamic event celebrating the nocturnal journey and ascension of Muhammad.
  • Eid al-Fitr/Hari Raya Puasa (movable), an Islamic event commemorating the end of the Muslim fasting season.
  • Maulidin-Nabi (December 27), an Islamic celebration honoring the birthday of Muhammad.
  • Chinese New Year, celebrated every February (movable) mostly for the raucous noise-making, tikoy-eating marathons, and the much-anticipated distribution of "ampaw" by rich Chinese godparents.

Where to stay

Here is the list of accommodations that can be found in Isabela City - the province's Ccapital.

  • The Farmland Resort  - Lanote, Isabela City, Basilan
  • Anson's Hotel - Sumagdang, Isabela City, Basilan
  • Hotel Royal Issra - Marketsite, Isabela City, Basilan
  • Casa Rosario - Port Area, Isabela City, Basilan
  • Basilan Hostel - Eastside, Isabela City, Basilan
  • Buwalan Beach Resort - Sumagdang, Isabela City, Basilan
  • ISAWAD Pool Resort - Cabunbata, Isabela City, Basilan
  • Basilan Hotel - Isabela Proper, Isabela City, Basilan
  • Grino House - Menzi, Isabela City, Basilan

How to get there

Zamboanga City is the main gateway to Basilan Island which lies 17 nautical miles (narrowest point of the Basilan Strait) due north. If you’re from Manila or Cebu, take a flight to Zamboanga City then take a jeepney bound for Canelar and walk towards the port.

From there, a boat ride of 1 hour and 45 mins (for conventional passenger ferries), or 1 hour (for a fast craft), will take you to Isabela and Lamitan. There are discounts to the fare for student and senior citizen.

  • Isabela-Zamboanga-Isabela Route (1 hr, 30 mins)
  • Lamitan-Zamboanga-Lamitan Route (1 hr, 30 mins)
  • Maluso-Jolo-Maluso Route (6 hours)
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