Mantawi Festival

TBC May 2018
Mandaue, Cebu

Mantawi Festival is a cultural event on Cebu Island that's bursting with colour, vibrancy, music and atmosphere.

  • When? TBC May 2018
  • Where? Mandaue City, Cebu
  • Price: The parade is free but you should take some money for food and drinks. 

If you find yourself on the tropical island of Cebu watching giants go past, you might think you'd been hitting the local tuba (coconut wine) too hard. In fact, it's more likely that you'll be witnessing the annual Mantawi Festival which is held in Mandaue city every May. Or both.

Part celebration of the city, part nod to the settlement's history (Tipolo was first 'discovered' in 1521 by a Portuguese explorer in case any history buffs were wondering), this full day celebration brings together people from around the region and beyond. Dancers twirl along the streets highlighting cultural traditions and depicting scenes from the area's past, like trade with the Chinese and Spanish. Performers are usually accompanied by a marching brass band (or ten). There are Mr. and Ms. Mandaue pageants and various other competitions. The real show-stoppers are the floats which are beautifully decked out in garlands and rainbow coloured decorations from different barangays (villages). Oh, and the 'giants' (higantes) - towering puppets which 'join in' with the festivities before the weekend is rounded off with a fireworks display.

According to folklore, Mantawi was a thick vine that grew copiously along the Mandaue eastern coastline prior to Ferdinand Magellan's arrival in the 16th century. It is now extinct. In past years the festival has suffered setbacks, a result of poor organisation but recently it has bounced back and is now going strong again. The altered date no doubt has had some contribution to this as the festival now coincides with the tourist season.

While there may well be some coconut wine consumed (okay, a lot) this cultural spectacle is nevertheless worthy in its own right. Bringing together the very best of Cebu culture (in a way that's accessible to tourists) we can't think of a better way to spend a balmy May day in this tropical paradise.

  • Get there: Fly into Cebu and use taxis to get around the island.
  • Stay: Mandaue City and Cebu City are next to each other, with their centres around half an hour apart. You could easily travel to Mandaue City for the day from Cebu.

*We do our very best to verify the dates of our events but please check with the official event provider before booking your flights. We would hate for you to be disappointed!