Negros Oriental

Sandurot Festival

Sandurot Festival is a cultural festival held every fourth week of September in Dumaguete City, the capital of the province of Negros Oriental, Philippines.

It is one of the two major festivals in the city, the other being the annual Buglasan Festival organized by the provincial government every October. It is a ten-day fest that celebrates the cultural diversity of its people through dance, music, and revelry.

History of Sandurot Festival

The first Sandurot Festival was conducted in 1989. It comes from the word sandurot, which is a Cebuano word that means come together, mingle, or fellowship. It celebrates the status of the city as a melting pot of cultures—American, Chinese, Filipino, and Spanish. The city is proud to be a place where people from nearby and foreign lands choose to stay and call it home. The festival was previously held every November and coincided with Charter Day and the feast of the city patron.

Charter Day of Dumaguete City

Charter Day celebration used to be part of the calendar of activities of Sandurot Festival. It is an opportunity to recall its vibrant history. Its name, Dumaguete, comes from a word in Cebuano language dagit which translates to seize, abduct, or snatch; it refers to the destructiveness of the raids launched by Moro pirates during Spanish colonial times.

Archeological excavations revealed that the land was inhabited as early as thousands of years ago. Items of pottery were also found that dates back a few centuries before the coming of the Spaniards. When Miguel Lopez de Legazpi arrived in 1565, he sent his men for reconnaissance of the island of Negros, which was back then known as Buglas and renamed after the aboriginal natives that they found living there. In 1572, the settlement that was the precursor of the city was called Dananguet or Managuit. The name Dumaguete was used as early as 1734 by cartographer Pedro Murillo Velarde.

Around 17th and 18th century, the slave trade in the southern Philippines and other neighboring countries was a profitable endeavor. Thus, attacks were launched from Mindanao and organized by sultanates to capture people to be carted off as slaves. Dumaguete was not spared, a defense system was established to protect the vulnerable people from vicious incursions. One of the best and most known surviving structures is the Dumaguete Belfry that was built in 1811.

In 1890, the island of Negros was created as a separate province. On July 15, 1948, just three years after the war, Dumaguete became a city by virtue of Republic Act No. 327. And on March 20, 1992, November 24 was hailed as the Charter Day and declared a special holiday in the city.

Patronal Feast Day of St. Catherine of Alexandria

Sandurot Festival originally was held in honor of St. Catherine of Alexandria, the patron saint enshrined in Dumaguete Cathedral. According to Felipe Redondo, it used to be a visita of the parish of Tanjay. It became a parish in 1620 and Fr. Antonio Ubeda was the first parish priest. The church was elevated to a cathedral on April 5, 1955 by Pope Pius XII, when the parish became a diocese.

Schedule of Sandurot Festival

In 2017, Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo moved the date from November to September so that the fest is its own observance distinct from the patronal feast day of St. Catherine of Alexandria of Dumaguete Cathedral and the Charter Day of the City.

Sandurot Festival Activities

Sandurot Festival is divided into three major activities: Paghimamat, Pasigarbo, and Pasundayag. Paghimamat (which means to meet) is a reenactment of how different people came to live in the city, bringing with them the richness of their cultures. Pasigarbo (which means something that is to be proud of) is marked with street dancing that is participated by the different organizations. And Pasundayag (which means to showcase or display, like an entertainment show) is one of the highlights where various native dances are performed.

Other activities include competitions (music, festival costume, cook fest), sporting events, cultural shows, film fest, exhibits, Duma Comida (food and music), concerts, parade, street dancing, and cultural dance showdown.

How to reach Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental

Book a flight to Sibulan Airport and take a cab or bus to Dumaguete City.


Sandurot Festival Summary

NameSandurot Festival
ChurchDumaguete Cathedral
DateFourth week of September
Duration1 week
LocationDumaguete City, Negros Oriental
PatronSt. Catherine of Alexandria
Simultaneous eventCharter Day of Dumaguete City