Negros Oriental

Pasayaw Festival

Pasayaw Festival is a cultural and religious festival in Canlaon City, Negros Oriental, Philippines every March 19. The date can be a holiday (for example, Proclamation No. 1116 in 2021 and Proclamation No. 437 in 2018). It is held as thanksgiving for abundant harvest and in honor of St. Joseph, the patron saint of the city.

History of Pasayaw Festival

Pasayaw Festival is a contraction from the phrase pasalamat pinaagi sa sayaw, which means thanksgiving through dance. It was conceptualized to give thanks for all the blessings received and for the abundant harvests.

Canlaon City is regarded as the Vegetable Basket of Central Visayas (a region that is composed of Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor.) The fest is known for dancers that use costumes, props, and materials that come from or are inspired from vegetables and various agricultural produce.

Pasayaw Festival was founded by Fr. Titus Zamora, assistant parish priest of St. Joseph Church, and Mayor Jose B. Cardenas in the 1980s. With Joemarie Warington as the first festival choreographer, practices were held in the village of Bucalan. Performers were composed of the dance group from St. Joseph Academy led by Sister Miluna Ruiz Cielo, FAS, and they presented their dances in the streets during the feast day of St. Joseph that drew sizeable crowd. In the following years, the local government unit assumed the responsibility of the yearly festival.

Pasayaw Festival Activities

Religious activities take place at St. Joseph Church that include novena in March 10 until March 18 (when the procession occurs). Meanwhile, secular activities may begin earlier (the calendar of Pasayaw Festival in 2023 began in the first week of March). Activities include sports, mass wedding, food bazaar include Kaon Kanlaon, cultural shows, music events, garden show, parade, live band, street dance, and Pasayaw Dance competition, Pasayaw Festival Queen.

How to reach Canlaon, Negros Oriental

Book a flight to Dumaguete City Airport, but the better option is pass through Bacolod-Silay Airport which is about an hour or  two hours less travel time from Canlaon. One can also take a ferry trip from Toledo City, Cebu to San Carlos City, Negros Occidental.


Pasayaw Festival Summary

NamePasayaw Festival
CelebrationCulture, Religion
ChurchSt. Joseph Church
Contact0912 102 7251
DateMarch 19
Duration10 days
FounderFr. Titus Zamora and Mayor Jose B. Cardenas
LocationCanlaon City, Negros Oriental
OrganizerCity Government of Canlaon
PatronSt. Joseph
ReligionRoman Catholic
Simultaneous eventThe feast day of St. Joseph