Banga Festival

Banga Festival is a cultural festival and religious fiesta in Balanga City, Bataan, Philippines every April 28. Its timing coincides with the feast of St. Joseph, the city’s patron saint.


Banga Festival originates from banga, a clay jar used as a container for fetching water or as a pot to cook food. The word is also the old name of the city of Balanga.

History of Banga Festival

Banga Festival was first mounted in 2002. Through the symbolism of banga, Banga Festival commemorates the humble beginnings of the city, promotes tourism, and develops unity among the people.

Banga is an earthenware that speaks of the rich history of pre-historic Philippines. Ceramics and stone artifacts first appeared about 4,000 years ago. The technique and materials used for pottery-making evolved as the early communities engaged in trade exchanges and maritime navigation across Southeast Asia.

Artifacts of clay containers that are discovered reveal rich insights into the culture of ancient people including migration, travel, an individual’s standing in the community, old religious and cultural practices, and beliefs.

In the time before the arrival of Western colonizers, people baked clay into jars and pots to be used for various purposes.

Names also vary depending on the purpose of the vessel. Banga refers to a wide-lipped, spherical jar used to transport water. And it is held on top of the head; the head is protected by rolled clothes or straw. It also refers to a cooking pot, although the more common name is palayok.

A larger clay jar to store water for household use is called tapayan, while a tadyaw is employed in the making of shrimp paste called bagoong. Moreover, earthenware is also used in storing salt, vinegar, and rice.

Earthenware in ancient times were also used as a final resting place of the remains of the deceased such as the Manunggul Jar.

Devotion to St. Joseph

The festival is also held in conjunction with the feast of St. Joseph. The devotion to the patron began in the colonial era. The church in Balanga was built as a visita of Abucay. It became a parish in 1739.

The Dominicans were the spiritual administrators of the church and they spearheaded its construction and renovation. Fr. Benito Rivas, OP, strengthened its walls, while Fr. Juan Antonio Vicente, OP, oversaw the improvements of its interiors and the installation of iron roof. Fr. Fernaldo Ma. Miñao, OP, erected the arch in the choir loft and baptismal font made of granite quarried from Mariveles.

The Dominicans left the parish and they were taken over by the diocesan clergy, with Fr. Mariano Sarili installed as the first Filipino cleric on June 2, 1898.

The church was elevated into a cathedral upon the canonical erection of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Balanga on March 17, 1975. The diocese is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of San Fernando.

Banga Festival Activities

The festival’s activities include various search contests (Natatanging Ama,a Ms. OFW, Mutya ng Balanga, Ginang Balangueña), entertainment, cultural presentation, recognition (Dangal Balangueño), and food festivals.

How to reach Balanga City, Bataan

Buses from Metro Manila go through the route to Bataan in a distance of over 100 kilometers.


Banga Festival Summary

NameBanga Festival
CelebrationCulture, Religion
ChurchBalanga Cathedral
Contact(047) 237 0719
DateApril 28
PatronSt. Joseph
ReligionRoman Catholic