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Where To Go in the Philippines in January

Written by Patrick

The Philippines offers a diverse range of destinations that are particularly enticing to visit in January.

January is a great time to visit the Philippines as it is part of the dry season, characterized by sunny weather and cooler temperatures.  Additionally, many places in the country have big events every January.

If you are into merry-making, festivals, street dancing, or even religious traditions, here are the best places to visit in the Philippines in January.

1 | Quiapo

Quiapo Church

Caption: Quiapo Church | Image Source

One of the biggest religious events in January is the Feast of Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila.  Every 9th of the month, thousands of Catholic devotees flock the area to join the procession, popularly referred to as Translación (transfer).  The procession starts as early as 5:30 in the morning at Quirino Grandstand and, depending on how long the route, reaches Quiapo Church late at night or early the following morning.  Devotees trying to get near the image in the hopes of touching also affect the duration of the procession.  They believe that touching the image can grant prayers, bring miracles, and cure diseases.

During the said event, devotees wear maroon and yellow just like the image and some walk barefoot as a form of penance.  Many also carry images and statues of the Black Nazarene as well as estandartes (religious flag) during the procession.

READ MORE: When & Where to Visit the Philippines: A Month by Month Guide

2 | Cebu

Sinulog Festival

Caption: Sinulog Festival

Cebu Island, and all the smaller islands in Cebu province, has a lot to offer when it comes to tourism.  Apart from the modern development and old heritage sites found in the city, many of its towns are blessed with beautiful islands, beaches, and waterfalls.  Cebu’s tourist spots are best explored in January not only because the weather is generally good but also because the city becomes even more alive during this month due to its Sinulog Festival, a religious and cultural event celebrated in honor of Sto. Niño.  The highlight of the festival is the street dancing in which participants dressed in colorful and intricately-designed costumes perform a choreographed dance in the city streets.  The festival also features exhibits, food festivals, concerts, and other performances.

READ MORE: Amazing Festivals in the Philippines

3 | Aklan

Boracay Island

Caption: Boracay Island

Aside from the New Year’s celebration in Boracay, another event to look forward to in Aklan every January is the Ati-Atihan Festival.  Just like Cebu’s Sinulog Festival, Ati-Atihan is celebrated in honor of Sto. Niño, the child Jesus.  The highlight of the festival is the tribe dancing competition wherein the faces and bodies of participants are painted with black and garbed in colorful costumes to represent the Aeta people, locally called Ati, who are the first settlers on the island.  Other activities during the festival include street parties, food festivals, concerts, and many others.

Before or after the festival, don’t miss the White Beach of Boracay along with its restaurants, nightlife, and water activities.

READ MORE: Boracay Island Guide | Aklan Province

4 | Iloilo

Iloilo's Dinagyang

Caption: Iloilo’s Dinagyang

Can’t get enough of these cultural events?  Head to Iloilo in the last week of January to catch the Dinagyang Festival.  Iloilo’s Dinagyang is celebrated almost the same as Sinulog and Ati-Atihan – it involves street dancing and partying, concerts, food festivals, and the likes.  See all three for yourself to see the difference.

If you can, extend your stay until February 2 for the Jaro Fiesta, one of the biggest Catholic events in Iloilo.  The event celebrates Nuestra Señora de la Purificación y la Candelaria (Our Lady of Purification and Candle), the patroness of Western Visayas enshrined in Jaro Cathedral.  During the feast day, a holy mass is celebrated as early as 4:00 AM and almost every hour thereafter until 7:00 PM. 

READ MORE: Iloilo City Guide | Must-try Foods in Iloilo

5 | Baguio

Baguio City

Caption: Baguio City

Known for its cool climate, one of the best times to visit Baguio is in January, the coldest month in the Philippines.  Experience the chilly weather, stay in log cabins with fireplaces, take long walks under the pine trees, and start your mornings with a cup of your favorite coffee or hot chocolate drink.  

READ MORE: Baguio City Visitors Guide

6 | Tagaytay

Tagaytay View

Caption: A view of Taal Lake from Tagaytay

If Baguio is not possible for you, try Tagaytay.  Its close proximity to Manila makes it a perfect weekend destination to take a breather from the busy city life.

READ MORE: Tagaytay City Visitors Guide

7 | Palawan

El Nido, Palawan

Caption: El Nido, Palawan

Explore the beauty of Palawan before the scorching summer heat arrives.  Be it in Puerto Princesa, El Nido, Coron, San Vicente, and even other less popular towns, there is something to look forward to in Palawan.  

READ MORE: Palawan Island Visitors Guide

The Philippines offers a diverse range of destinations that are particularly enticing to visit in January.  The favorable weather during this month makes it an ideal time for travelers seeking sun, sea, and adventure. From the pristine beaches of Boracay to the breathtaking landscapes of Palawan and the cultural richness of Cebu, each destination has its own unique charm.

READ MORE: When & Where to Visit the Philippines: A Month by Month Guide

Have YOU been to any of these destinations?

About the Author

Patrick

Patrick is an entrepreneur, digital nomad, explorer, and photographer. Patrick is always in search of fun and adventure. He is well travelled throughout the world, and although location independent, his home base is Phoenix, Arizona in the USA. Patrick loves island lifestyle which is no wonder why he is so interested in spending time in the Philippines with it’s over 7,000 islands. Patrick created this site to share his knowledge of and experiences in the Philippines with Filipinos as well as other foreigners.

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