It was almost a year ago to this date that I attended Makati City’s Caracol Festival. I’ve been hearing about this event for quite a while now, but have always been out of the metro due to some trips or whatever. This time around, with nothing better to do one Sunday afternoon, I decided to head out to Makati City to see what the fuss was all about.
Since the festival was going to be held to a place familiar to me, I didn’t bother researching about it. I simply boarded a bus and waited at the Ayala Triangle where I thought the Caracol Festival would commence. It was a surprise then that the city seemed too dead for a festival to be happening.
There was absolutely nobody around. Was I in the wrong place?
Turns out I really was! The Caracol Festival was actually being held at the new Circuit Makati, which was formerly the city’s horse racing center in PRC. The place has now been converted into an open green space for the people of Makati. The show was about to start, but it was still a jeepney ride away!
Luckily, I was just in time. The parade was starting to move as I alighted from the jeep.
Throngs of colorfully dressed students were dancing to the beat of the drums, unmindful of the scorching afternoon heat. From the streets of Makati, they started to converge to the cooler grass-laden fields of the Circuit Makati.
Unlike most established fiestas in the Philippines, Caracol Festival is a newbie in the scene. Its inception started only in 1989 as part of the Fiesta Islands Program and was only adapted by Makati as its official festival in 2010. Wanting to be something like a local Mardi Gras; its theme revolves around the protection of the environment as evident in the contingents’ nature-inspired costumes.
The term Caracol came from the Spanish word snail shell; The freshwater shellfish symbolizing the resistance to the hardships of life. The festival is celebrated every third week of February.
The components of Caracol Festival’s contingents are high school students, business and government employees throughout the city. Cash prizes as high as Php75,000.00 and trophies are awarded to groups with the best costumes and choreography. Not bad eh?
Meeting with fellow travel bloggers at the Circuit Makati, we were lucky to score a good seat for the festival. We were front row and center at the open-aired dome of the venue and we were able to experience Caracol Festival like high-level bosses from the Ayala CBD.
It was fun seeing kids enjoy the festival for the festival’s sake. Everyone’s super energetic about their moves and with genuine smiles to boot on their cherubic faces.
Caracol Festival’s dance routine revolves around nature themes. Over fishing, care for the animals, the abuse of our environment and basic nature appreciation. One can clearly see the overall premise from the dances performed by the contingents.
To be honest, compared to the more sophomore festivals in the country, Caracol’s dance routine needed more polishing. But hey, this festival’s literally just a baby. It would probably take a few more years for things to really get oiled up and have a more solid and characterized flow to their concepts. Just give it time and we would probably see this at the Aliwan Fiesta too.
It was quite refreshing to see a festival almost just within my backyard. Used to be, one has to go great distances just to witness a genuine Philippine festival. Now with Makati’s Caracol Festival, no one has an excuse to say that he’s never witnessed a festival before.
Makati City Caracol Festival
Festival Date: Every third week of February
Address: Brgy. Carmona, Makati City
GPS Coordinates: 14°34'33.8"N 121°01'06.1"E
Makati City Museum & Cultural Affairs: (02) 870-1000