Lanao del Sur

Kariyala Festival

Kariyala Festival is a cultural festival and founding anniversary in the town of Wao in the province of Lanao del Sur, Philippines held every February 22. It is a display of unity for it is a gathering of tribes in one in thanksgiving of harvest and peace, as well as a toast to the diversity of its people that count Cebuano, Ilonggo, Kapampangan, Maranao, Manobo, Muslims, and Waray who are living in the province. It is a week-long celebration.

History of Kariyala Festival

Kariyala Festival comes from the word kariyala, a term in Meranao that translates to merrymaking. The fest is a congregation and celebration for a bountiful harvest as the town is dedicated for agriculture. It is also marked as thanksgiving for prosperity and harmony among its people.

History of Wao

Wao is a landlocked town of Lanao del Sur. It is bounded by Kalilangan of Bukidnon (east) and Banisilan of Cotabato (south). Its name might have been derived from kawaw (thirst) according to oral tradition, a small stream called Wao that existed before 1950s, or a Maranao term liawao which meant a place on higher ground or “one that’s located above.”

The town is associated with resettlement initiative of the Philippine government. In 1949, Rice and Corn Production Administration (RCPA) was established that included its lands alongside Buluan of Maguindanao and Maramag of Bukidnon for resettlement of migrants from other places. President Elpidio Quirino dissolved the agency a year later and created Land Settlement Development Corporation (Lasedeco) that took over its functions by signing Executive Order No. 355 on October 23, 1950. The administration of Quirino and Ramon Magsaysay who later succeeded him provided incentives to the settlers such as tools and supplies for farming.

Wao used to belong to the municipality of Lumba Bayabao. Then on February 22, 1961, President Carlos P. Garcia signed Executive Order No. 418 that founded the municipality of Wao and Sultan Mamaco Saripad became its first mayor. This is the date that Kariyala Festival commemorates.

Kariyala Festival Activities

Activities in Kariyala Festival include street dance where performers wear colorful attire and accessories, one of its many highlights. They depict what Wao is known as the “melting pot” of the south where its people belong to ethno-linguistic groups such as BatangueƱos, Cebuanos, Ilocanos, Ilongos, Iranon, lumads, Maguindanaoans, Maranao, and Tausugs, Warays. There is also a beauty pageant called Mutya ng Wao and Kariyala Queen Night. Other events include parade (participated by public officials, employees, schools, and organizations), fireworks display, agro-trade fair, sports fest, and dance showdown that feature folk dances that are performed to the beats and tune from traditional musical instruments.

How to reach Wao, Lanao del Sur

One can take a bus from different points (such as Ozamiz or Pagadian) of within Mindanao.


Kariyala Festival Summary

NameKariyala Festival
CelebrationCulture, Founding
Contact0917 320 8933
DateFebruary 22
Duration1 week
LocationWao, Lanao del Sur
OrganizerMunicipal Government of Wao