Cuyo Fiesta in Palawan - Philippines
The small island-town of Cuyo is rich in cultural heritage and this becomes even more evident when the town celebrates its annual feast, the Cuyo Fiesta. Visitors from all over the world, neighboring towns and other Palawan municipalities across the Sulu Sea flock to Cuyo during the fiesta to join in the revelry.
Cuyo Fiesta takes place in the town of Cuyo, the main island that is part of the Cuyo Group of Islands in Palawan.
At the moment, getting to Cuyo Island is mainly through ferry boat rides; while getting around town is through its main public transportation, which are tricycles.
What to See
During the Cuyo Fiesta, guests will be treated to a spectacle of colorful street parades, dance performances, musical shows, and a re-enactment of San Agustins confrontation with the natives.
Out of all these performances, the highlights of the Cuyo Fiesta are the Ati Dances, where participants cover their faces with soot and their bodies with indigo; wear a colorful headgear made of coconut fiber and chicken feathers; and costumes adorned with coconut leaves.
The men carry spears and bow and arrows; while the women, their necks adorned with native bead necklaces, carry baskets. This elaborate dance consists of the men lined on one side of the street and the women on the other; and both lines do a lively dance mix of hops, jumps, and sways while chanting.
Amidst all this merrymaking, there is a dancing clown who chases the women amidst their shrieks and laughter; and he only ceases the chase when coins are thrown at him.
The Cuyo Fiesta celebrates the towns reformation to the Christian faith. It is done every year on August 28, to coincide with the feast of the towns patron saint, San Agustin.
It also celebrates the rich heritage of the town that has been preserved over centuries. Cuyo Fiesta likewise showcases the towns native dances and songs, age-old traditions that have stood the test of time; and the simplicity of life that is still present up to this time.
In addition, it underscores the towns deep religious faith and their embedded belief in their patron saint.
Staying in the Cuyo Island will not cost much. Since this is a small provincial town, there are only a few hostels and accommodations around and these are all easily affordable.
Traveling here on a stringent budget will give tourists good accommodations already, with free breakfast at that; plus the eateries here, small though they may be, offer delectable local dishes at very reasonable prices.