Tuba Festival

Tuba Festival is a cultural and religious festival in the municipality of Borbon, Cebu, Philippines every January 20. Its schedule coincides with the fiesta of the town patron, St. Sebastian.

Tuba Festival is one of the cultural festivals that participates in Pasigarbo sa Sugbo.

History of Tuba Festival

The name of the fest comes from tuba, a native alcohol spirit or arrack from fermented coconut sap. Prior to Tuba Festival, Borbon’s first official town celebration was called Silmugi Festival.

Silmugi Festival

Silmugi Festival comes from Silmugi, the old name of Borbon. According to oral tradition, it was the name of the leader who was the chief of a pre-Hispanic settlement as well as the major, popular river. Another folklore suggests that the name refers to a huge tree by the riverbanks.

In October 2008, during the term of Bernard Sepulveda as Mayor, officials of the local government and public schools in Borbon formally announced the launching of Silmugi Festival as the town’s official cultural festival.

Silmugi Festival was first held in January 2009.

It was established after the town missed participating in Cebu provincial’s Pasigarbo sa Sugbo, and as a way to fulfill the provincial government’s thrust for each constituent locality to create an annual celebration that could be used as a vehicle for tourism. Moreover, it was also conceptualized to promote eco-tourism in the popular Silmugi River.

Silmugi River is a major waterway of Borbon that cuts through twelve kilometers of the town from Vito in the mountains down to Suba in the coast. It hosts a teeming ecosystem of mangrove forest and aquatic resources. Its waters serve a vital role in the history and development of the town, as an abundance source of food, a transportation highway, a trade route for ferrying goods, and recently a tourist attraction offering river cruises and mangrove walks.

The change to Tuba Festival

The annual event was changed to Tuba Festival as a toast to the town’s indigenous coconut toddy called tuba. The purpose of the shift was to highlight the production by the townsfolk of the native palm wine. Tuba is sold in public market and it is also served as beverage to guests.

Devotion to St. Sebastian

Devotion to St. Sebastian was the fruit of Spanish colonization and Christianization of the town. Its settlement, known as Silmugi, was renamed to Borbon from the Borboun dynasty of Spain or from the local word bonbon (fine sand).

It began as a visita of the neighboring Sogod (1832). It became on September 15, 1862 and placed under the invocation of St. Sebastian, a Christian martyr.

How to reach Borbon, Cebu

From Mactan International Airport, take a bus or cab to North Bus Terminal and then take the bus to Borbon.


Tuba Festival Summary

NameTuba Festival
CelebrationCulture, Religion
DateJanuary 20
EstablishedJanuary 2009
LocationBorbon, Cebu
OrganizerMunicipal Government of Borbon