Traditions and Fiestas
Annually, the townsfolk of Midsayap prepares for its colorful street dancing and parade competition popularly known as the “Halad sa Sto. Niño Festival” as part of its grand fiesta celebration, which is held every third Sunday of January. The Halad Festival is celebrated in honor of the town’s patron saint Señor Sto. Niño.
Groups from various towns in Cotabato Province as well as neighboring towns of the Maguindanao Province troop annually to Midsayap to participate in the much celebrated contest, which is recognized by the Department of Tourism as a major festival.
This widely popular event started in 1988 through the efforts of REACT Philippines Midsayap Chapter in coordination with the Sto. Niño Parish Pastoral Council and was so successful that it became a yearly event until today.
The festival first gained national recognition when the 1997 Halad champions, Eramis Clan, flew to Manila to compete in the National Finals and bested champions of other major festivals such as the Sinulog Festival of Cebu and the Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo.
The Halad festival re-established its status as a major festival when the 2003 Halad champions, the Dado Alamada National High School, represented Region XII in the national street dancing competition and won the P1 million grand prize in the Aliwan Fiesta held in May 2003 in Manila. Inspired by their back-to-back wins, the group participated again in the Pamaskong Aliwan Festival in December of that same year and also won the grand prize. Both festivals were part of the Visit Philippines 2003 program of the Department of Tourism.