Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival in Leyte: What You Should Know

Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival in Leyte: What You Should Know

The Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival in Leyte, Philippines, celebrates the region's rich cultural heritage and traditions. Learn more about this unique festival. PHOTO (IN BACKGROUND): AirAsia Super App/Facebook

The Philippines is a land of festivals, a country that proudly showcases its cultural diversity and rich history through a colorful array of celebrations. From the vibrant Sinulog Festival in Cebu to the lively Ati-Atihan Festival in Aklan, each region boasts a unique festival that captures the essence of the people's heritage. 

Among these festivals, the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival in Leyte stands out as one of the country's most vibrant and fascinating celebrations. This festival showcases the province's rich history and cultural traditions, highlighting the colorful Pintados warriors and the Kasadyaan dance, which tells the story of the region's past. 

The festival is a feast for the senses, with lively music, colorful costumes, and exciting performances that draw crowds from across the country and around the world. 

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What is Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival?

The Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival combines two festivals, namely the Pintados Festival and the Kasadyaan Festival. The Pintados Festival is a religious festival that commemorates the Feast of the Holy Child or Señor Santo Niño de Leyte. Meanwhile, the Kasadyaan Festival is a cultural festival that showcases the history and traditions of the people of Leyte.

The Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival, also known as the Festival of Festivals of Leyte, is celebrated every June 29th in Tacloban City along with Sangyaw Festival. The festival is a colorful celebration of the rich cultural heritage and history of the province of Leyte.

Why is Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival celebrated?

(Photo: JM Millagracia)

The Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival is a vibrant and colorful celebration that has become a beloved tradition in the province of Leyte. Aside from its religious significance, the festival is celebrated annually to commemorate the region's rich history and cultural heritage and to pay tribute to the resilience and strength of the Leyteños.

It is rooted in the ancient practice of body painting, or "pintados," which was once used by the indigenous people of Leyte to adorn themselves for battle. Over time, this tradition evolved into an artistic expression, with intricate designs and patterns adorning the bodies of dancers and performers during the festival.

In addition to its cultural significance, the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival has also become a major economic driver for the province. The festival attracts tourists from all over the world, who come to witness the colorful parades, street dances, and other cultural activities that take place throughout the week-long event. 

The festival provides a much-needed boost to the local economy, as hotels, restaurants, and other businesses see a surge in visitors during the festivities.

When and where is the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival celebrated?

The Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival is celebrated annually on June 29th in Tacloban City, Leyte, and is coinciding with the Feast of the Holy Child or Señor Santo Niño de Leyte. The main highlight of the festival, which is the street dancing competition, is typically held in the Leyte Grandstand after the parade.

Where did the Pintados-Kasadyaan festival originate?

The origins of the Pintados Festival can be linked to the establishment of the Pintados Foundation, Inc. in 1986 by residents of Tacloban, who started coordinating religious and cultural events to pay tribute to Señor Santo Niño. The inaugural Pintados Festival took place on June 29th the following year, eventually combining with the Kasadyaan Festival.

Historical documents indicate that Spanish missionaries introduced the first image of the Child Jesus to Leyte in 1888. The festival celebrates the pre-colonial practice of tattooing among warriors, called pintados locally.

Spanish Friar Fr. Ignacio Francisco Alcina S.J. also noted in his 1668 work, "Historia de las Islas e Indios de Bisayas," nearly all Visayans had tattoos, excluding children and the asug (homosexuals). This suggests that the tradition extended beyond just warriors.

What is the main attraction of the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival?

(Photo: Ranieljosecastaneda, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

The street dancing competition is the main attraction of the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival. During this competition, dancers from various municipalities in Leyte showcase their talents and skills in dancing and performing. The dancers wear colorful costumes that represent the rich culture and traditions of the people of Leyte, and their bodies are painted with intricate designs.

The competition is divided into different categories, featuring different themes and costumes. The themes usually revolve around the history and traditions of Leyte, with some categories featuring the pre-Spanish practice of tattooing.

The street dancing competition is a spectacle of color, music, and culture, attracting thousands of spectators every year. The dancers are accompanied by live bands that play traditional music, and the streets are lined with vendors selling local delicacies and souvenirs.

Aside from the street dancing competition, the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival also features other activities, such as a beauty pageant, a parade of floats, concerts, and a food festival showcasing local cuisine Leyte.

Meaning of "Pintados" and "Kasadyaan"

"Pintados" refers to the pre-Spanish tradition of tattooing among warriors in Leyte. The tattoos were believed to symbolize courage, strength, and bravery. During the festival, dancers wear traditional tribal designs representing the bravery and strength of the warriors who fought against the Spanish colonizers.

The word "Kasadyaan" is a Waray term that means "merrymaking" or "festivity." The Kasadyaan Festival was created to celebrate the culture and traditions of the people of Leyte and to promote tourism in Eastern Visayas.

(Photo: Cutie Bunny 143, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

What other activities can you do during Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival?

Aside from the main highlights of the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival, visitors can enjoy many other activities during their stay in Leyte. Here are some of the activities you can do in Leyte:

Tour the Province of Leyte

Leyte is home to many historical and cultural landmarks that are worth visiting. The Leyte Landing Memorial in Palo is a popular destination for history buffs, as it commemorates the landing of General Douglas MacArthur and his troops in Leyte during World War II. Another must-visit destination is the Santo Niño Shrine and Heritage Museum in Tacloban City, which houses a collection of artifacts and relics related to the Santo Niño de Leyte.

Shop in the province

Leyte is also a great place to go shopping, with many malls, markets, and souvenir shops scattered throughout the province. Among the largest malls in the region are the Robinsons Malls in Marasbaras and Abucay, featuring a diverse range of shops and restaurants.

Meanwhile, there are many popular destinations for those looking to buy souvenirs and local products, such as the shops near the Leyte Landing Memorial Park in Palo, Leyte, and Tacloban Public Market.

Watch the Music Festivals

Aside from the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival, Leyte is also home to many other music festivals that showcase the talents of local musicians and performers. The music festival in RTR Plaza and Sangyawan Grounds features a variety of musical performances ranging from folk music to contemporary pop. 

Enjoy numerous restaurants and cuisines

Leyte is known for its delicious cuisine, with many restaurants and food stalls offering various local dishes. The Binagol, a sweet delicacy made of grated coconut, glutinous rice, and brown sugar, is a must-try for sweet tooths.

Other popular dishes include kinilaw, a raw fish salad marinated in vinegar and spices, and the Leyte version of adobo, sometimes cooked with coconut milk.

Savor the beaches and resorts

As home to many beautiful beaches and resorts that offer opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, diving, and other water activities. The Cuatro Islas off the coast of Leyte is a popular destination for beach-goers, with its pristine white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters. 

The Marabut Marine Park in Western Samar is also a popular destination for those looking to enjoy the beach and explore marine life.

Tips for Attending the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival:

(Photo: Allan Jay Quesada, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

If you're planning to attend the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • Plan your trip in advance - The Pintados-Kasayaan Festival is held annually on June 29th, so plan your trip accordingly. Book your flight and accommodation in advance to avoid any last-minute hassles.
  • Dress appropriately - The festival is held in June, so pack light and breathable clothing. It's also a good idea to wear comfortable shoes, as you'll be walking around often.
  • Be prepared for the crowds - The festival attracts thousands of people yearly, so be prepared for the crowds. It's a good idea to arrive early for a good spot for the parade and other events.
  • Stay hydrated - The weather can be hot and humid during the festival, so drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Respect the local culture - The festival is a celebration of the local culture, so be respectful of the customs and traditions of the region. Avoid wearing revealing clothing or misbehaving during the festival.


The Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival in Leyte is a colorful and vibrant celebration of the culture and traditions of the people of Leyte. The festival is a fusion of two festivals celebrated in the region yearly, attracting thousands of visitors every year.

The festival is more than just a celebration of the Feast of the Holy Child or Señor Santo Niño de Leyte. It is also a commemoration of the pre-Spanish tradition of tattooing among warriors. The street dancing competition is the festival's main attraction, and it is a spectacular display of color, music, and culture.

The Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival is a must-see event for anyone interested in the rich culture and traditions of the Philippines. It serves as a reminder of the struggles and triumphs of the people of Leyte. It promotes a sense of pride and solidarity as every municipality presents its own local folklore and legends. —iTacloban

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