Dila-ab Festival, also spelt Dilaab Festival, is a cultural and religious festival in the town of Siquijor in the province of Siquijor, Philippines every October 4. It highlights the rich natural resources of the town, showcases the warm hospitality of the people, and also honors St. Francis of Asisi, its patron saint.
The date may be a special non working holiday (such as Proclamation No. 471 in 2012).
Dilaab is a local word that means a bright flame. It calls to mind its old name, Isla del Fuego or Island of Fire, that was given by the Spaniards who saw the island planted with molave trees and lit with fireflies.
Devotion to St. Francis of Asisi
The colonial-era church made of stone of St. Francis of Asisi stands presently, and it has become a tourist attraction for its cultural and heritage value.
The island was known to the Spaniards from the time of the conquest. A church established by the secular clergy was a visita of Dumaguete, Negros Oriental.
An order that made it into a parish was issued in 1780. It became a parish on February 1, 1781. The Augustinian Recollects took over the church from the secular friars and assumed its administration in 1793.
They also established the churches in Can-oan (Larena), Cangmenia (Maria), Makalipay (San Juan), and Tigbawan (Lazi). The Recollects also built water tanks, roads, churches, and other structures in the entire island.
The stone church in the town of Siquijor was constructed by secular priest, Fr. Jose Fernandez de Septien, who was a priest in Dumaguete between 1764 and 1776. Church building works continued during the term of Fr. Alonso de los Dolores between 1795 and 1831.
Along with the convent, the church was built not only as a house of worship but also a defensive structure. The island was pestered by Moro raiders that initiated campaigns of war, pillage, and destruction during colonial period.
The bell tower is erected in the epistle side a few meters away from the church facing the sea and it was utilized as a fortress.
How to reach the town of Siquijor, Siquijor
Book a flight bound for Bohol, Cebu, or Negros Oriental. In Bohol, you can go to Tagbilaran pier and buy ticket for a ferry scheduled for Siquijor. In Cebu, you can take a bus at South Bus Terminal to Liloan port in Santander and then hop on a ferry to Siquijor.
Another alternative but longer trip is to take the overnight sea trip in Cebu City Pier 1. In Negros Oriental, you can take a ferry from Dumaguete to Siquijor.
- Province of Leyte. Department of Tourism. Retrieved October 1, 2023
- Dilaab Festival. Legislative Digital Resources. Senate of the Philippines. Retrieved October 1, 2023
- Simbahan ng Siquijor. National Historical Commission of the Philippines. Retrieved October 2, 2023
- Cuesta, A. M. (2020). Augustinian Recollect History of Siquijor (1794-1898). Philippine Social Science Journal, 2(2), 173-178. https://doi.org/10.52006/main.v2i2.87. Retrieved October 1, 2023