Utanon Festival celebrates the culture, food, and agriculture in Dalaguete, a southern town of Cebu, Philippines every February 10. Founded by Mayor Andrade H. Alcantara, considered the father of Utanon Festival, it is an annual thanksgiving for abundant harvest of agricultural produce that the town is known for. It is also organized in conjuction with the the feast of the patron saint of the town, San Guillermo de Aquitania (St. William of Aquitane).
Dalaguete, the Vegetable Basket of Cebu
Utanon means vegetables in the Cebuano language, and Utanon Festival is a yearly celebration of the municipality of Dalaguete for its production and as a major supplier of a variety of fruits, flowers, vegetables, and crops to the entire island of Cebu.
Dalaguete, especially its upland village of Mantalongon, is known for its proud moniker as the Vegetable Basket of Cebu. Located about 90 kilometers from the capital, the town supplied about 20,000 tons of produce daily according to a 2020 report. It had 8,000 farmers who sold the majority of their harvests in Cebu City specifically in Carbon, the biggest public market in the city. A bagsakan or auction site was erected where traders bid various agricultural produce.
Mantalongon is touted as the Little Baguio of Cebu and the Summer Capital of Cebu because of its year-round cool climate that is conducive to the farming of various plants, fruit-bearing trees, flowers, and vegetables. It is also a popular summer destination for people who would like to have an escapade into its mountainous terrains, and people can visit strawberry and sunflower farms and explore mountain peaks.
Religious fiesta of San Guillermo
Utanon Festival is also a religious fiesta for the devotion of San Guillermo, the patron of Dalaguete, which began during the Spanish period.
Christianity came to the town as early as the 17th century. A church was founded in 1690 and it was a visita of the church in Carcar. (A visita is a chapel or hermitage that did not have any convent so a priest traveled to the place to perform religious services and moved back to the parish where he stayed.) The church was under the advocation of St. William of Aquitane. Later, it separated from Carcar when it became a parish in 1711.
The stone church was constructed from 1802 to 1825 and in the following decades the convent was also built (1832) and the bell tower (1860). It is one of the finest examples of colonial-era architecture and church complex that also functioned as defense against Moro pirates, and it has been declared a National Historical Landmark.
Utanon Festival Activities
Just like religious fiesta, the novena and masses are said for nine days and then the 10th day is the feast day. Religious activities are held at the San Guillermo de Aquitania Parish Church.
Utanon Festival has a two-day calendar from February 9 to February 10 but there are activities that occur prior to this schedule, extending the its festival calendar. Major activities include Search for Utanon Festival Queen, Street Dancing, and Ritual Dance Showdown.
How to reach Dalaguete, Cebu
Dalaguete is a southern town of Cebu. It is accessible through buses that regularly ply the trip to the southern tip of the island. These buses are at the South Bus Terminal, Cebu City. From the capital, the town is about 90 kilometers and the travel takes about two to three hours depending on traffic.
- Utanon Festival in Dalaguete. Cebu Province. February 9, 2015. Retrieved February 12, 2023
- Dalaguete’s Utanon Festival Contingent reaps awards in Pasigarbo sa Sugbo. Municipal Government of Dalaguete. August 29, 2022. Retrieved February 12, 2023
- Vegetable basket holds fest. Sunstar. February 14, 2016. Retrieved February 12, 2023
- Tourist Attractions South of Cebu: Dalaguete, the Summer Capital of Cebu. OneCebu. November 6, 2018. Retrieved February 12, 2023
- Carlo Lorenciana. Labella orders ‘free flow’ of veggies from southern Cebu town. Philippine News Agency. July 27, 2020. Retrieved February 12, 2023
- Ramon Ma. Epino. Mantalongon: Vegetable basket of Central Visayas. The Philippine Star. January 22, 2006. Retrieved February 12, 2023
- Simbahan ng San Guillermo de Aquitania (Dalaguete Church). National Historical Commission of the Philippines. September 2011. Retrieved February 12, 2023
Utanon Festival Summary
Name Utanon Festival Celebration Agriculture, Culture, Food, Harvest, Religion, Thanksgiving Church San Guillermo de Aquitania Parish Church Contact (032) 407 9055 Country Philippines Date February 10 Duration 2 days Email firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook web.facebook.com Founder Andrade H. Alcantara Location Dalaguete, Cebu Organizer Municipal Government of Dalaguete Patron San Guillermo de Aquitania Religion Roman Catholic Simultaneous event Feast day of San Guillermo de Aquitania Website dalaguete.gov.ph
|Celebration||Agriculture, Culture, Food, Harvest, Religion, Thanksgiving|
|Church||San Guillermo de Aquitania Parish Church|
|Contact||(032) 407 9055|
|Founder||Andrade H. Alcantara|
|Organizer||Municipal Government of Dalaguete|
|Patron||San Guillermo de Aquitania|
|Simultaneous event||Feast day of San Guillermo de Aquitania|