Hundred Islands Festival

Hundred Islands Festival is a cultural, tourist, and religious festival held in Alaminos City, Pangasinan, Philippines every March 19. It is celebrated in conjunction with the feast of St. Joseph, the patron saint of the city. Another celebration every March 28 is the Alaminos Cityhood Anniversary.

History of Hundred Islands Festival

Alaminos City is known as the “home of the Hundred Islands National Park.” The annual Hundred Islands Festival fixes the limelight on the natural beauty and tourist attraction of the national park.

In the past, the festival was called Gali-la Hundred Islands Festival (named after gali-la, an exhortation in the local language which means let’s go) and Hundred Islands Paraw Festival (so named after paraw which refers to a traditional sailboat kitted out with outriggers).

Activities were modified and conducted online or with a mix of face-to-face manner due to coronavirus pandemic in 2021 and 2022. Full public gathering of the fest was green-lit and pushed ahead in 2023.

Hundred Islands National Park

Hundred Islands National Park (HINP) is a tourist destination and protected area covering over 1,860 hectares in the Lingayen Gulf. Of its 123 islands, three are open for tourism, namely Children’s Island, Governor Island, and Quezon Island.

It was officially instituted through Proclamation No. 667 issued by President Manuel L. Quezon on January 18, 1940. The law reads, “Establishing as Hundred Islands National Park for the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People of the Philippines the Group of Islands Situated in the Municipality of Alaminos, Province of Pangasinan, Island of Luzon.”

Then on June 22, 1963, the Hundred Islands Conservation and Development Authority (HICDA) was created by virtue of Republic Act No. 3655 signed by President Diosdado Macapagal to take charge of the preservation and development of the national park. The HICDA was integrated into the Philippine Tourism Authority through Section 35 of the Presidential Decree No. 564 in 1974.

Then in 1982, the HINP including Lucap Bay from Sitio Telebang to Sitio Recudo was declared a tourist zone and placed under the Philippine Tourism Authority pursuant to Proclamation No. 2183. The ambit of the PTA was expanded with the Proclamation No. 2237 on November 6, 1982 where territories under Marine Fisheries Multi-Purpose Farm were handed over to the PTA.

HINP was declared a protected area under Republic Act No. 7586 on June 1, 1992. Later, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo issued Executive Order No. 436 in 2005 that transferred the “management, administration and maintenance” of HINP from PTA to the city government of Alaminos, Pangasinan in coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Devotion to St. Joseph

The festival is also a veneration to the city’s patron saint, St. Joseph, whose feast day falls on March 19. The center of such faith is St. Joseph Cathedral, the seat of the Diocese of Alaminos since 1985.

Christianity arrived with the Augustinian Recollects who came as early as 1610. The town was transferred several times throughout its history because of conflicts. After yet another transfer, the number of people in what was called Sarapsap increased that it eventually grew and become its center. It was renamed to Alaminos after Governor General Juan Alaminos y Vivar in 1872.

A church was recorded to have been built in 1710. Fr. Toribio Raymundo was the first parish priest starting in 1778, and it was two years after his term ended in 1815 that the church and convent caught fire and destroyed. After a new structure as a place of worship was built, it was burned down again in 1834.

When Fr. Manuel Busqueto from San José de Casborran mission became head of the parish three years, he enjoined the parishioners to build the present-day stone church made from the design of Maestro Cenon. After Fr. Busqueto’s death, the church was completed in 1857 by Fr. Jose Torros.

The Augustinian Recollects gave up the parish of Alaminos to the diocesan clergy in 1901.

Hundred Islands Festival Activities

Religious activities take place at St. Joseph Cathedral beginning with novena and masses for nine days. The city patronal feast is observed every March 19, although in 2023 it was held in March 20 owing to Lenten Sunday liturgy.

Meanwhile, the local government takes charge of secular events. Major events include Agri-Trade Fair, beauty pageants (Miss Hundred Islands), Talaba Ihaw-Ihaw (Grilled Oyster), light parade, street dance, and Paraw Parade. Other activities include talent contests, bonsai competition, entertainment, etc.

How to reach Alaminos City, Pangasinan

Bus trips are open from Metro Manila that pass through North Luzon Expressway. One can also book a flight to Clark International Airport and take a land trip to the city.


Hundred Islands Festival Summary

NameHundred Islands Festival
ChurchSt. Joseph Cathedral
Contact(075) 551-2249
DateMarch 19
LocationAlaminos City, Pangasinan
OrganizerCity Government of Alaminos
PatronSt. Joseph
Previous NameGali-la Hundred Islands Festival, Hundred Islands Paraw Festival
ReligionRoman Catholic
Simultaneous eventFeast day of St. Joseph