Here’s an overview of six exciting Asia-Pacific festivals happening in the merry month of May
Viva Vigan! Festival of the Arts
When: First week of May
Where: Vigan, Ilocos Sur
This extravaganza is essentially a religious pilgrimage, thanksgiving festival and cultural showcase rolled into a week-long, citywide party. Expect to see traditional horse-drawn calesas dressed up for a clip-clopping parade, followed by a round of happy-smiley street dancing. There’s a carabao painting contest, too. Then, feast on Bigueno delicacies like empanada and the deep-fried shrimp-and-potato dish okoy.
Also read: 7 exciting events in the Philippines in 2016
When: May 13 to 15
Where: Tokyo, Japan
If you’re in Tokyo this month, be sure to check out one of the city’s most popular festivals. Head to the Asakusa district to soak in the lively atmosphere and watch as participants carry over 100 mikoshi, or portable shrines, around the neighbourhood to spread good luck and prosperity.
Pulilan Carabao Festival
When: May 14
Where: Pulilan, Bulacan
A thanksgiving celebration for a good harvest, this event honors both the patron saint of farmers, San Isidro Labrador, as well as the farmers’ favorite beasts of burden. Carabaos dressed up in costumes are paraded around town. Tip: get a good spot in front of the church to see the buffalo kneel before the statue of San Isidro Labrador.
When: May 15
Where: Lucban, Tayabas, Sariaya, Gumaca and Tiaong in Quezon province
This harvest festival sees local houses bedecked with the season’s produce, along with native decor that features colorful, wafer-thin sheets of rice paper called kiping. Get here early in the morning to watch the procession of the patron saint’s image. Don’t forget to try pancit habhab — noodles served on a piece of banana leaf, and eaten straight off the palm — from the local market. In Lucban, take home a few strings of the town’s famous longganisa.
ACT3i Festival for Children
When: May 24 to June 5
This brand new festival, which is dedicated to kids aged 2 to 12, will feature plenty of exquisite and awe-inspiring performances by renowned theater companies from Singapore, Italy, Sweden, Argentina, the UK and Canada. Highlights include a rendition of Snow White by Canada’s DuffleBag Theatre, symphonies by Sweden’s AWAKE Love Orchestra, as well as Sweet., a two-hour sensory and experiential workshop inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
When: May 27 to June 18
Where: Sydney, Australia
Once a year, Australia’s Harbour City transforms into the world’s largest creative and innovative space. This year’s edition of Vivid Sydney is the most ambitious one yet, with more than 250 special events, sessions and other activities spread across a wider variety of venues than ever. Each falls under one of three categories: Vivid Light is a collection of artistic lighting installations all across the city; Vivid Music presents musical events and performances by local and international artists; and Vivid Ideas provides learning venues and meeting points for artists, creatives and businessmen. Visit vividsydney.com for more info.