This set of islands in the South Pacific Ocean has known its share of hardships and regime changes over the course of its lengthy existence, but one thing is for certain – it is a place that knows how to celebrate! From Spanish rule to American and then finally to independence, the Philippines is home to a diverse population that has spread itself out well over the globe and its influence can be felt well beyond its tiny chain of islands.
In November, there are a few holidays of note if you happen to be travelling through the region and either want to steer clear due to the increased traffic or join in on the fun. Keep in mind too, Christmas is a pretty big deal in the Philippines and celebrations for it can stretch well into November depending on where you are.
All Saints Day & All Souls Day
Taking place at the beginning of the month on November 1st and 2nd, All Saints Day and All Souls Day mirrors that of other countries’ celebrations regarding their saints and the deceased. This is a family holiday, seeing many people return to their homes and spend time with their loved ones either in public or private observances. While you are unlikely to be invited to these private observances, it is helpful to know why the country seems to shut down during the beginning of the month. If you happen to have Filipino ancestry, why not return to your homeland and get in touch with your relatives – there’s no time better than this!
At the other end of the month is the birthday of national hero Andres Bonifacio who died in 1897. Celebrated every year on the Monday closest to November 30th, Bonifacio Day is special because unlike many other national heroes, Bonifacio was executed by his own government, rather than by foreigners as most others were.
Bonifacio is credited as being the first true Philippine leader even though at the time there was no such thing. His involvement in the independence movement eventually led to the Philippine Revolution and a move away from Spanish colonial rule (albeit towards American for a while). While there are other national heroes worth noting in Philippine history that have their own days (such as Jose Rizal on December 30th), most other national heroes are celebrated on National Heroes Day in late August – Bonifacio has his own day.
If you happen to be in the Philippines during this year’s celebrations, be sure to check them out as there is no better time to feel the pulse of the people than when they are celebrating a hero of their freedom.