With music and dance, festivities and great food, Manila's vibrant events calendar has plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in Filipino culture.
**Bulaklakan** translates to "parade of flowers", and the people of Manila honour that each year on New Year's Day! Metro Manila hosts an annual procession of flowers and costumes, which also traditionally features street dancing and huge parades of students from different Muntinlupa schools. Look out for their bright costumes that resemble different types of flowers!
The city welcomes the new Chinese lunar year in February with feasting, fireworks and processions in the Chinatown area. Chinese New Year is looked forward to by Filipinos and is a time of happiness and jubilation to be shared with loved ones. If you're lucky enough to be visiting Manila at this time, you'll witness many longstanding festive traditions, including filling red envelopes with money, dragon and lion costumed dancers in the streets, red lanterns, and plenty of delicious food.
Manila has an affinity with flowers that doesn't stop in January - Flores de Mayo is widely celebrated in the Philippines, even by those who do not follow the Roman Catholic faith. Commemorated in honour of the Virgin Mary, the colourful pagaent parade is a sight that cannot be missed. History buffs will be pleased to know that the splendour has culture stacked beneath each layer of color, with each segment of the parade representing important icons within the faith.
December is when the city hosts numerous religious festivals. The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is one of these revivals of religious tradition, and features more than 80 images of the Blessed Virgin Mary from numerous parishes and provinces, displayed around the streets of the Intramuros. This festival features the Grand Marian Procession which is held on the first Sunday of December each year.