If you’ve ever taken a trip to the Philippines, you’ve most likely experienced a festival or two. The country is widely known for its many fun and colorful festivals known as “fiestas.”
These events have either religious or cultural significance, and sometimes they have both. Luckily, I’ve gotten to experience a few different ones when I’ve traveled over to the Philippines, and I’m always amazed at the vibrance, color, and incredible costumes that I see there.
One festival that’s always on my future bucket list is the Guimaras Mango Festival Zambales, which is also known to many as the Dinamulag Festival. It usually takes place on the third Tuesday of April, but it has occurred in March in some years.
Make sure you book a place to stay in Zambales in advance as it gets fully booked weeks before the festival. Not sure where to stay? Check our section with recommendations for places to stay in the heart of the festival.
Here’s some interesting information and key facts about the festival if you’re thinking of attending it or will travel to Zambales during the time of year it takes place.
What is Mango Festival?
The Philippines’ national fruit is the mango and it grows abundantly in the country.
However, the province of Zambales in the Guimaras region of the Philippines has become known for having the sweetest and best-tasting mangoes in the whole country, particularly the Dinamulag variety grown there.
The Mango Festival, which began in 1999, serves to highlight these delicious fruits in anticipation of the expected crop in the summer and encourage a bountiful harvest.
The local people dress up in “mango-inspired” costumes to perform street dancing competitions and other lively activities. Local and international visitors come to experience the events each year.
Mango Festival Place of Origin?
The Mango Festival location is the Zambales province, located in the Central Luzon region of the Philippines. The province lies between the Zambales Mountains and the South China Sea and is most known for the mangos grown there and its sandy white beaches.
The Mango Festival’s history comes from the desire for the people of Zambales to celebrate the award-winning taste of the Dinamulag mango grown there, notably after it was featured in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1995 for being the sweetest tasting mango in the world.
When is Mango Festival Celebrated?
The Mango Festival month celebrated is primarily April, specifically the third week of the month, although sometimes the festival is celebrated during March.
The festival lasts for three to four days and ends with a coronation ceremony that announces the winners of previous competitions.
This year, the Mango Harvest Festival is celebrated between 12-20 May2023.
Mango Festival Description
If you’re in the area of Zambales when the province celebrates the festival, you will absolutely want to participate and experience the colorful costumes, dancing, fun, and food.
Thousands of other tourists from near and far will join you in the festivities, and you’ll get to experience the most delicious mango fruit and the culture of the people that grow it. You’ll also get to hear the people speaking the beautiful Tagalog language.
The whole province of Zambales participates in the festival, including all of its thirteen municipalities. It truly is a local celebration!
During the days of the festival, visitors can experience a variety of shows and events, such as beauty pageants, dancing, sports competitions, float parades, and so much more.
As with many other festivals in the Philippines, the event’s main highlight is the street dance competition, which they also call the Zambayle.
If you’re here during the festival time, it is definitely something that you don’t want to miss. There’s also a mango-eating challenge, trade fair/variety show, pet show, and car show.
You’ll also see the parade’s mascot walking around, and of course, it is a mango!
Although the festival keeps expanding over the years to include more and more types of events, its main centerpiece still remains the mango, and you’ll notice that most of the center of the costume around this fruit.
This festival truly makes a prime time for the people of Zambales to showcase their tourism and excellent crop.
Mango Festival Highlights
The entire event provides days of fun. However, you might want to plan not to miss any of these key festival highlights while experiencing the Mango Festival.
The Binibining Zambales is a traditional beauty pageant event centered on women competing for the title of the province’s goodwill and tourism ambassador. The Mr. & Ms. Body Beautiful pageant is where local young men and women compete for the title.
The Trade Fair and Variety Show spotlight the best tourist spots and products in the region and lets you experience some exceptional local talent.
The tourists can also enjoy Sand Sculpting and Mango Eating competitions that are a fun way to promote the main attractions of the area—the sand and the mangoes.
Finally, you’ll want to see the Zambayle, or street dancing competition, which is the premier highlight of the event.
The routines performed by the dancers are well-choreographed and so much fun to watch. All the teams will seem to deserve holding the title of winner, but only one will be chosen.
Mango Festival Tips
If you’re heading to the Mango Festival, you will find it easy to have a lot of fun. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your experience:
- Book your accommodation in advance from one of the many resorts near the beach area. There are several to choose from in the town of Zambales and a few in the adjacent towns as well.
- Make sure you get a schedule of events and plan for the ones you want to attend each day at the festival. The daily main events, like street dancing and floats, usually begin in the early evening.
- Dress appropriately for the fun so that you will be able to fully enjoy the festivities. March and April are relatively warm months in the Philippines, so you will want to dress in light clothing and comfortable shoes.
- Of course, make sure that you try the Dinamulag mango while you’re there. You do not want to miss out on this award-winning treat!
How to Get to Mango Festival
You won’t be able to get a direct flight to the city of Iba in Zambales, but you can fly to the closest airport, Clark International Airport, and rent a car or take a bus to get the rest of the way.
If you coming from Manila by car your travels will be about 4.5 hours. It takes approximately 6 hours to get from Manila to Iba by bus.
Some Other Things to do During Your Stay in Zambales
Zambales has other attractions that you can visit during your time there, including beaches and mountains.
Anawangin Cove is a beach that is popular with campers. Volcanic ash formed its sand, and beautiful evergreen trees surround it.
There’s also an inflatable playground in Subic Bay that will delight any children that travel with you.
If you’re feeling up for a hike, you can climb to the top of Mt. Pinatubo, an active volcano.
If you’re not up for a hike, you can instead explore it by taking a ride up in a 4×4.
Where to Stay in Iba during the Mango Festival
Make sure you book in advance your stay during the festival as it gets very crowded and the accommodation is probably going to be fully booked. There are not many options for accommodation in Iba, but you can check these 2 places.