Festivals and Events
Begun in 2002, the year after the creation of the City of Tabaco by virtue of Republic Act 9020,
the Tabak Festival, is an annual celebration of everything Tabaknon. Through its Tabak Festival street dancing, the prestigious Mutya ng Tabak and Tabakla pageants, cultural performances by various social sectors, Padyak and Sibidan races, trade fair and exhibit, Karawat Bicolnon, and Baile de Amor this two week-long celebration captures the insatiable festive spirit of Tabaqueños as it attracts tourists and investors to the City of Love.
Mutya ng Tabak “A true Tabaqueña is a woman of substance.”
In a Region known for the grace and beauty of its womenfolk,
the Mutya ng Tabak held during the annual Tabak Festival is one of the most prestigious beauty pageants in Bicolandia. The pageant which is the highlight of the Tabak Festival, draws smart and sophisticated young ladies from all over the Bicol Region. It is not merely a parade of beauties; it aims to honor the loveliness, captivating charm and varied talents of the Bicolana and is a genuine celebration of womanhood.
Mutya ng Tabakla
At a first glance,
you might be deceived by these alluring candidates of the Mutya ng Tabakla pageant. They are not women. But neither will they claim to be men. And they come not to deceive but to enlighten. As one of the highlights of the annual Tabak Festival, The Search for Mutya Ng Tabakla is an evening of magic, beauty and talent that pays tribute to the unique contributions of the gay community. By showcasing the extraordinary artistic abilities and attractiveness of gay men, the Mutya ng Tabakla aims to show people that there must be no room for bigotry and intolerance in progressive and decent communities. In the end, it is love that will always prevail and Tabaco, the City of Love, embraces gays, promotes and protects their rights and believes wholeheartedly in their talents and capabilities.
Being the proud Padyak Capital of the Philippines, Tabaco City has appropriately inaugurated this unique contest starring no less than the most common mode of transportation in the city.
Like the rest of the festival games, the race is primarily for entertainment, but it also turns the limelight on the industry, perseverance and honest labor of ordinary padyak drivers.
The Sibidan Race is said to be one of the oldest of the Festival games.
It has been a cherished tradition and has been faithfully held and enjoyed by fisher folks and ordinary townspeople alike, even before the inception of the Tabak Festival. It affirms the undeniable coastal culture of the Tabaco City.
Semana Santa (Holy Week)
One of the most awaited religious celabrations in Tabaco City because of its deeply religious fervor.
The procession of Pasus during Viernes Santo (Good Friday) has attracted devotees and local tourist alike because of the colorful and grandiose life-sized rebultos (statues) depicting the Passion of Christ and His resurrection installed on top of ornately decorated and lighter carrozas or cars. Many of the images and sculpture are of great antiquity and of magnificent artistry. Some of them are centuries old and imported from Spain. Undoubtedly, this is one of Tabaco's most sought after and attended tradition whether as panata, devotional activity, or just plain sight seeing.
Pagtunton on Easter Sunday
Pagtunton (Lowering) is a ritual performed at the dawn of Easter Sunday,
which Tabaqueños like the rest of Christendom, hold with utmost importance and reverence, as it retells the miracle of Christ's resurrection. An angel, portrayed by a child, is lowered from "Heaven" - a tower of flowers and decor, and gently removes the black veil of grief from the statue of Sorrowful Mother (Virgin Mary), ending the weeklong ayuno of fasting and penitence. This is a joyous community celebratiion of faith, hope and renewal.
For the Tabaqueños, caroling is more than singing.
It is also dancing. Pastores performers show their enviable skills every Christmas season. One can see them in the streets of Tabaco, singing "Pastores a Belen" (Shepherds of Bethlehem) and dancing in their colorful costumes and encourage by the clapping of an appreciative croud. In heralding the coming of Christ, they are bearers of good tidings and are most definitely a sight that will uplift one's spirit.