Dinagat Islands

Bugkosan Festival

Bugkosan Festival, also called Bugkosan sa Isla Festival, is a founding anniversary of Dinagat Islands, Philippines held every 3rd of December. A province-wide fest, it is a joyful celebration of solidarity of its seven towns and bayanihan, a community spirit where people come together and take part in a community project.

History of Bugkosan Festival

Bugkosan Festival comes from the word bugkos, which means to unite, to gather, or to bind. The fest is likewise known as Bugkosan sa Isla, which translates to Unity in the Island. Each letter of the word bugkosan stands for a meaning, which when taken collectively would mean “Best Unique Gathering for Kudos Organized for Sustainable Advocacies and Networking Developments.”

The first Bugkosan Festival was held in 2008. That is based on an estimate culled from a 2010 article published in Philippine Information Agency that the fest was on its third year.

History of Dinagat Islands

The fest was conceptualized as an anniversary of the creation of the province. Dinagat Islands are part of Caraga region that also includes the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur.

Previously part of Surigao del Norte, the province was established through Republic Act No. 9355 otherwise known as An Act Creating the Province of Dinagat Islands, a law that was passed on October 2, 2006. A plebiscite conducted by the Commission on Elections ratified the law on December 3, 2006, with the majority of the electorate of Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Islands voting for its approval.

An interim local government appointed by then president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo took their oath of office on January 26, 2007. And in May of the same year, the first set of officials of the province were elected and began their term on July 1, 2007. Legal challenges were lodged and later resolved by the Supreme Court that affirmed the law’s constitutionality in 2012.

Bugkosan Festival Schedule of Activities

Bugkosan Festival’s activities are created to attract tourism to the island, which is located in the northeastern part of Mindanao and south of Visayas. It is famous for its natural resources and inviting tourist spots. It is additionally a festive gathering of its seven municipalities, to wit:

  • Basilisa
  • Dinagat
  • Cagdianao
  • Libjo
  • Loreto
  • San Jose (capital)
  • Tubajon

The festival’s calendar include sporting events, competitions that showcase the talent, artistry, and creativity of its people, entertainment, cultural activities, and some events that welcome the Christmas season.

Here are some of the highlights:

Search for Princesa Dina and Prinsepe Gat

Search for Princesa Dina and Prinsepe Gat (Princess Dina and Prince Gat) is a beauty pageant for males and females. The name of this prestigious search is derived from the myth that sheds light on the prominent features of the province.

A long time ago, Dina and Gat were children of two warring tribes. They fell in love but their romance was forbidden. They were commanded not to see each other, and so they eloped when their secret relationship was discovered by their families. They escaped to the island where they built their home in peace and quiet.

The coming of foreign invaders, however, threatened their lives that they swam to the depths of the sea and were never heard of again. Later, two islets appeared whose peaks look like a silhouette of a man and a woman, respectively. And people recalled the lovers, and the island became known as Dinagat which was formed from their names. Moreover, the province is popularly known as the “mystical island of love.”

Street Dancing Mardi Gras Competition

Street Dancing Mardi Gras Competition is one of the highlights of the festival where contingents that represent the different localities compete in a showdown of cultural dance and music. It is part of culminating events, generally taking place on the festival’s last day and the foundation day of the province.

How to reach Dinagat Islands

You can purchase a plane ticket to either Surigao Airport or Butuan Airport. From the airports, take a ride to Surigao port where ferries and


Bugkosan Festival Summary

NameBugkosan Festival
CelebrationFounding anniversary
DateDecember 3
LocationDinagat Islands
OrganizerProvincial Government of Dinagat Islands
Other NamesBugkosan sa Isla Festival