Where to travel to in 2014: Events you would not want to Miss
Tired of spending your holidays hunting for hotel rooms or doing last minute itinerary changes that get flushed down the drain? Plan your holiday for the year ahead of time with our help. Here is a rundown of some of the biggest events and festivals across Europe and the Philippines to look out for in 2014:
St Patrick’s Day Parade
Where: Dublin, Ireland
When: 14–17 March 2014
The Irish celebrate their culture, religion and national achievements every year in March during St Patrick’s Day. St Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, and his feast day is celebrated not only in Dublin but around the country and wherever the Irish people are in the world.
During St Patrick’s Day Parade, revellers get to enjoy musical events, historical tours, stories about Ireland and the Irish people, film showing, fun fairs and many more. The culmination of the event is St Patrick’s Day Parade to be held on 17 March. Revellers will get to see marching bands and pageants and are encouraged to wear the colours of the Irish flag to showcase national pride and energy.
Visitors with Irish descent will certainly enjoy the trip to Dublin, the heart of St Patrick’s Day festivities. People of all ages will find something to enjoy during the days-long affair.
Encierro or Running of the Bulls
Where: Pamplona, Spain
When: 6–14 July 2014
If you’re the type of tourist who hungers for an adrenaline-pumped adventure, then Pamplona’s annual Encierro or Running of the Bulls may be your kind of destination. Encierro happens daily during the feast of St Fermin when bulls are driven to the bullring from outside the city. This particular event during the weeklong festivities draws international eyes because of its dangerous nature.
Anyone can run with the bulls, but participants have to be 18 years of age or older and have to stick by the rules at all times. Police scattered in the fenced route can pull out participants who break any of these. Those who want to join the run should be aware of the risks involved. Deaths happen, and even without being hit by a bull participants can still get bruises and injuries because of the chaos of the run.
La Fête de la Bastille or Bastille Day
Where: Paris, France
When: 14 July 2014
This National Holiday is a historical day that celebrates the storming of the fortress-prison Bastille in the 18th century during the French Revolution. This led to the proclamation of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen that became the backbone of the French constitution.
Bastille Day is marked by the Military Parade, the oldest of its kind in Europe. This can be enjoyed by laid-back revellers who want to see the pomp and enjoy the historical side of the French Revolution. By nightfall, the Eiffel Tower is also lighted up by fireworks.
Many young revellers are also drawn to Paris on the eve of Bastille Day as Place de la Bastille opens its gates to party-goers. Many French cities and towns also celebrate their own way during this day.
Days of Grunwald
Where: Grunwald, Poland
When: Around 15 July 2014
One of the most important battles in Polish and Lithuanian history is reconstructed every year to the delight of thousands of revellers who like to take a peek at Medieval-era life and warfare. The Days of Grunwald showcases different Medieval-inspired tournaments like archery, sword battles and horse riding. The event culminates in the epic Battle of Grunwald featuring 1,000 armored knights in Middle age costume and weaponry.
Lovers of history and people of all ages will enjoy seeing the team banners fluttering during the climactic battle, hear the clash of weapons and take part in the excitement of the performances and competitions.
Where: Munich, Germany
When: 20 September–5 October 2014
Germany’s mammoth beer fest is once again ready to kick off its yearly celebration. During this 16-day celebration, revellers can enjoy traditional German food fare like hendl or roast chicken, Schweinebraten or roast pork, Schweinshaxe or grilled ham hock, Steckerlfisch or grilled fish on a stick, Wurstl or sausages and many more. But the star of the event is Munich City’s home-brewed beers that follow certain criteria.
While the beer fest seems to be focused on adults, families with children can also have fun during the weeks-long event. Costume parades featuring the German dirndl, tours, discount rides at fairs and concerts will provide entertainment for people of all ages.
Where: Lucban, Quezon
When: 15 May 2014
Ever seen a house decorated with garlic, rice, tomatoes and all kinds of fruits and veggies? There will be plenty in Lucban during Pahiyas Festival. Pahiyas celebrates the feast day of St Isidro Labrador and is a form of thanksgiving made by farmers for a bountiful harvest year. The residents of Lucban decorate their home with produce and compete for the grandest decoration every year, much to the delight of revellers who are looking for exotic uses of food. Pahiyas is also marked by a parade of the image of St Isidro Labrador and the blessing of the houses. Residents wearing costumes inspired by agricultural products follow the procession.
Revellers can sample rice wafers called kiping and other local delicacies during this event. Other Lucban and Quezon treats not to miss are the pancit habhab, a savoury noodle dish that is eaten without utensils, and the longganisang Lucban, a type of red sausage with heavy garlic flavour.
Parada ng Lechon or Roast Suckling Pig Parade
Where: Balayan, Batangas
When: 24 June 2014
Prepare for one wet and wild afternoon in the town of Balayan if you’re travelling for the Parada ng Lechon or Parade of Roast Suckling Pig. This annual festivity celebrates the feast day of St John the Baptist, which explains why residents are equipped with water guns, hoses, tabo or water dipper and buckets of ice cold water to spray to passersby. Motorcyclists and passengers of tricycles are not safe from the splashing, which must be tolerated if one wants a bite of the many tender lechon or roast suckling pig that are served free-for-all after the parade.
Don’t forget to bring extra clothes for changing if you plan to visit Balayan during the Parada ng Lechon!
Where: Bacolod City, Negros Occidental
When: Weekend nearest 19 October 2014
The festival of smiling masks is one of the most-awaited events in the Philippines because of its size and the street parties, parades and carnival mood that descends on the locals and revellers. The MassKara Festival, however, sprang from a tragic history of loss among the people of Bacolod city. To defeat the gloomy atmosphere, the residents decided to put on a smiling face and started the MassKara as a way to move on from the tragedy. Today, the festival draws many around the country and the world because of the colourful street dancing competitions among local groups.
Bacolod is also a city of sweet delicacies that shouldn’t be missed. Some treats that travellers shouldn’t leave without include the piaya (unleavened bread with raw sugar), biscocho (crunchy buttered bread) and napoleons (puff pastry).
Where: Mumbadjao, Camiguin Island
When: Third week of October 2014
The lanzones tree produces an small, elliptical fruit that tastes both sweet and sour, the perfect combination for the Filipino taste buds. The lanzones is native to the Southeast Asian region, and Camiguin Island celebrates the unique fruit through a weeklong festival of dancing and marry-making.
Locals also take the festival as an opportunity to be thankful for a bountiful harvest year. Residents of the island depend on the lanzones for their livelihoods, which is why the celebration is colourful and energetic, drawing visitors from around the Philippines and the world.
Where: Angono, Rizal
When: 23 November 2014
This unique festival that features giants made of paper is held in honour of St Clement, the patron of fisher folk, whose feast celebration runs for two weeks in Angono. The parade of giants is a long-running tradition of the locals who celebrated the saint’s feast alongside giants made in the likeness of their Spanish masters.
Aside from the giants, the saint’s image is carried in a procession around town, and St Clement’s feast is celebrated with dancing, singing and painting competitions. Splashing of water is also done by some local revellers as a tribute to the fishing industry that forms the livelihood of the town, so get ready to be wet.