Sakay-Sakay Festival is a cultural and religious festival in the city of Maasin, Southern Leyte every third Sunday of January. It is held as an expression of gratitude and devotion to Sto. Niño.
The city has been conducting an annual observance of the feast of Sto. Niño every year. It is a localized version of the Sinulog Festival of Cebu and shares the same faith for the Child Jesus, the Sto. Niño.
The story of the Holy Child’s arrival in the Philippines began with the start of the colonization by Spain. Ferdinand Magellan presented the image upon the baptism of natives in Cebu led by its leader Rajah Humabon and his wife Hara Humamay. The image was found again in 1565 when the expedition of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi landed in the island. Devotees of the Child Jesus have grown in number throughout the archipelago ever since.
Sakay-Sakay Festival of Maasin City is a maritime event through the fluvial procession for the annual fiesta of the Holy Child. Its religious activities are organized by the Diocese of Maasin such as novena, mass, and procession. In 2021, the images of Sto. Niño de Ibarra (Ibarra is a village in Maasin) and Sto. Niño de Limasawa (Limasawa is the site of the first recorded Roman Catholic mass in the country and located off the southern tip of Southern Leyte) were brought on to seagoing vessels in a fluvial parade in an act of blessing the waters and shorelines of the city.
Meanwhile, the city government organizes the festival events. In the early 2000s, the city participated in Sinulog Festival in Cebu and it had shifted focus in developing its own festivity in the latter years. These include competitions in street dancing, coastal decoration, sailboat (banca) decorations, motorized boats (pumpboat) decoration, and giant puppets (higante).
How to reach Maasin City, Southern Leyte? Ferry schedules are open from neighboring islands of Cebu and Bohol. Alternatively, one can travel to Tacloban Airport and travel by bus, which is about four hours away in a trip that covers over 180 kilometers.
- Ma. Rebecca G. Cadavos. Maasin City calls for entries for ‘Sakay-Sakay Festival 2020’. Philippine Information Agency. January 15, 2020. Retrieved from original post on December 27, 2022
- R.G. Cadavos. Maasin highlights “Sakay-Sakay” Festival in honor of Sto. Niño. Philippine Information Agency. January 4, 2012. Retrieved December 27, 2022
- Sakay-Sakay Festival in Maasin City a success despite rains. SunStar. January 18, 2017. Retrieved December 27, 2022
- City Gov’t of Maasin. Office of the Press Secretary. January 14, 2021. Retrieved December 27, 2022
- Editorial: The Sto. Niño story. Sunstar. January 19, 2018. Retrieved December 27, 2022