Biniray Festival of Romblon – Ati-Atihan in Romblon

Biniray Festival of Rombon is an annual cultural and religious event to honor Nuestro Señor Santo Niño de Romblon. Held every 2nd week of January, the Biniray Festival is similar to the Sinulog Festival of Cebu, showcasing the rich culture and deep faith of Romblomanons in Roman Catholicism.

This annual festival features fun-filled activities, from parade, music, and street dancing to local product exhibits, sports tournaments, and float competitions. So to know more about this week-long event, keep reading to find out what the Biniray Festival of Romblon is and why it’s worth experiencing!


About The Biniray Festival

Romblon’s festival comes from the word “biniray”, which means “where we sailed to.” This religious event was held to praise the Nuestro Señor Santo Niño de Romblon, where its enshrined image can be found at the oldest Roman Catholic Church in the province, the Saint Joseph Cathedral, or known as Romblon Cathedral. Apart from the abundant harvest, it celebrates the day the Spanish vessel was swept by the typhoon while carrying the replica of Santo Niño the Cebu.

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Based on history, the Spaniards were forced to return the Santo Niño to Romblon due to a typhoon. So the Spaniards returned the statue to the church. When the mass ended, the Spaniards tried to carry the replica and return it to the vessel. However, it was believed that the statue resisted being carried. Since that day, the replica of Santo Niño said to bring miracles, like protecting the island during World War II by covering it with dense clouds.

Tonton & Fluvial Parade

For firm believers, Tonton is a must-experience religious event, which takes place a day before the Biniray Festival of Romblon. It’s a traditional practice held at Romblon Cathedral, which starts with a mass and ends with the traslacion of the decades-old Santo Niño de Romblon replica. The statue is brought down from the altar and roams to the streets for a parade. Then, the crowds chant lively, saying “Viva Señor Santo Niño! Viva!”. Afterward, the statue will be sent to the church with a choreographed move.

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Another cultural practice to experience while in Romblon is the Fluvial Parade. Locals will flock early at the Romblon Cathedral since it’s the starting point for the parade. Then, it roams about 7 times around Romblon Bay, symbolizing the seven attempts to voyage out of Romblon’s poblacion. In 1582, the Spanish conquistodar Miguel de Loarca brought the replica of Santo Niño to the Philippines and attempted to return it to the vessel.

Experience the Festival

During the Biniray Festival, the people joining the festivities will paint their bodies in black as it represents the Ati. With the Ati-Atihan version of Romblon, the festival is bright and lively. It features ethnic dances accompanied by live music utilizing traditional instruments, like bamboo tubes, drums, sticks, and gongs. The street dance parade starts early in the morning. Participants wear colorful costumes adorned with flowers, vines, and black body paintings.

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In short, the Biniray Festival of Romblon is as vibrant and fascinating as Cebu’s Sinulog. So if you wish to experience the rich culture and the local’s hospitality, add to your bucket list the Biniray Festival of Romblon and witness its take on Ati-Atihan Festival!

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