Caracol is a Spanish term that means snail. The term was adopted for the Makati Festival in Makati City, Philippines since the snail is protected by its shell against the elements making it withstand the toughest whip of nature. It is Makati City’s version of Rio de Janeiro’s Mardi Gras.


The event kicked off in 1989 during the Fiesta Islands Program of the Tourism Department three years after its original conceptualization in 1986. Through the festival everyone, especially the young, will grow in awareness of nature and mother earth, instill respect for nature, and become partners in the protection and conservation of nature.


The festival is usually participated by the barangays, private establishments and the different offices in the city of Makati. It begins with a parade by the participants and the contestants wearing nature-inspired costumes based on a theme. The audience may join the parade and wear nature-inspired costumes, masks and body paints.


The themes for the February 27. 2011 celebration, dubbed as the “Battle of the Champions” are as follows: elementary level, endangered species (except marine life); high school level, flowers and insects; and tertiary level, marine life. Prizes were given for the following categories: best costume, best choreography, and first to third prizes for each level (elementary, secondary and tertiary)


The past Caracol winners that joined the event are:


Elementary Level: Hen. Pio del Pilar Elementary School-Main, Maximo Estrella Elementary School, F. Benitez Elementary School, Nicanor Garcia Elementary School, and Jose Magsaysay Elementary School (representing Makati IV and San Jose Elementary Schools).


Secondary Level: Fort Bonifacio High School, Gen. Pio del Pilar National High School, and Makati High School.


Tertiary Level: University of Makati Colleges of Physical Education Recreation and Dance Center; Center for Performing and Digital Arts; and the College of Arts, Sciences and Education.


Gen. Pio del Pilar National High School, the Champion during the 2010 festival, retains its title as the Overall Champion this year. The school also won the Best Choreography prize.


The city government of Makati, through the Museum and Cultural Affairs Office (MCAO), spearheaded the preparation and rerouting of vehicles. The parade began at Makati Avenue (Gabriela Silang Car Park) corner Ayala Avenue and culminated at the intersection of Ayala Avenue and Paseo de Roxas where a stage was set for the contestants to perform their pieces.


It is jointly sponsored by Ayala Malls, Ayala Land Inc., Manila Bulletin (print media partner) and the Department of Tourism.

Dance contestants for the college category
Credit: Photo courtesy of ABL
Contestants for the secondary level gearing up for the event
Credit: Photo courtesy of ABL
The parade
Credit: Photo courtesy of ABL