Pakaradjaan Basilan

Pakaradjaan Basilan is an annual cultural festival in the province of Basilan, Philippines held every 7th of March. It is a weeks-long festivity that starts in the last week of February. It was created by the provincial government to present a more positive and inviting image of Basilan, the largest island in Sulu located in the southernmost part of the country. The festival is also known as Tennun Pakaradjaan Basilan.

History of Pakaradjaan Basilan

Pakaradjaan Basilan comes from the word pakaradjaan, a word that in the languages of the Tausug and Yakan means merry-making. Through many of the various revelries that are slotted within its week-long calendar, it is hoped that the island gains a favorable reputation as a prime tourist attraction, a place of abundant natural resources, and for its unique local culture.

The festival is also a jubilation for the establishment of the province. Basilan has a long, storied past. It has always been known as a conduit for migration and exploration. Its first mention by the Spaniards was by Antonio Pigafetta who sailed back to Europe with the remaining ships of the Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition after Magellan’s demise in Mactan, Cebu.

Part of Zamboanga starting 1936, it became a city with the enactment of Republic Act No. 288. On December 27, 1973, it was granted the status of a province through Presidential Decree No. 356. Inaugural rites where public officials took oath to be formally installed to their respective offices occurred on March 7, 1974. Hence, it is the date that becomes the basis of the founding anniversary celebration.

The first Pakaradjaan Basilan was held in 2011. In 2020, some activities were cancelled owing from the coronavirus pandemic.


Considered a great cultural heritage, tennun is the name of the woven fabric made by Yakan people. It is described by National Commission for Culture and the Arts as “eye-catching and colorful textiles with tiny motifs.” The most famous tennun weaver was Ambalang Ausalin from Parangbasak, Lamitan City. She was conferred the National Living Treasure (Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan) award in 2016. Yakans have a very strong weaving tradition, where these handwoven cloths are part and parcel of their way of life.

Pakaradjaan Basilan Schedule of Activities

Pakaradjaan Basilan is packed with many different activities. It gives space to sporting events in fun run, basketball, volleyball, bowling, badminton, dart, and shootfest. Furthermore, at times there are competitions such as in kite flying, photo exhibits, job fairs, medical-dental mission, Barangay Night, Governor’s Night, Basilan Night, Founding Anniversary Program, etc.

Here are some of the highlights.

Cultural Parade

Cultural Parade occurs in the last day of the festival. It is participated by various local government units, localities, government agencies, organizations, local businesses, schools, and other institutions.

Masaganang Basileño

Masaganang Basileño is also known as indigenous people’s day. Basilan’s population is comprised of Yakans, Tausugs, Chavacano, Samal, and other minorities. Various cultural presentations are organized and showed to give tribute to vibrant ethnic customs and tradition such as Tara Na Sa Basilan.

Mussah Si Pakaradjaan

Mussah Si Pakaradjaan translates Pearl of the Festivities. It is a prestigious search for female role models who embody intelligence, beauty, and spirituality.

Trade Fair

Trade Fair is part of the festival where products that are proudly locally made are on display. Booths are designated according to municipalities and their design are entries to the best booth competition. People can buy various novelty item, woven fabric, fruits and vegetables.

Where to go

Most activities occur in Isabela City such as BNHS Grandstand and Provincial Capitol. There are activities that occur in other places of the island.

How to reach Basilan

One can book a flight bound for Zamboanga International Airport. Ferry schedules are available from Zamboanga City to either Lamitan City or Isabela City.


Pakaradjaan Basilan Summary

NamePakaradjaan Basilan
CelebrationCulture, Founding
Duration2 weeks
OrganizerProvincial Government of Basilan
Other NamesTennun Pakaradjaan Basilan