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Expat Tips: Surviving the Feast of San Juan – June 24th


Every year in the 24th of June, the City of San Juan in Metro Manila celebrates a special holiday called the Feast of San Juan (Spanish for “Saint John the Baptist”). This is a happy religious celebration where people splash water onto each other in public. Often, it can get really wet and wild. So if ever you will pass by the city, be prepared, keep dry or keep your cool…



Water is life. Be blessed with water. The Feast of San Juan is a commemoration of the Baptism of Jesus Christ by his cousin, John the Baptist. For that reason, splashing water on everyone became the practice during the celebration. #GoodVibes


Write the author.


The June 24th festival was labelled “Wattah Wattah” (from “water water”) by former mayor and now Senator JV Ejercito. This year it falls on a Saturday, so commuters and shoppers be warned! The festival features the wetting or “basaan” of anyone in range, echoing the famous Thai “Songran” festival which happens 10 days before.


As with Songran, local authorities have tried to reduce the inconvenience, rerouting traffic and requesting a cessation of “basaan” before noon.



“Basaan or “wetting” of passing jeepneys is a common thing every 24 June.


Residents of San Juan and a few other cities splash water onto each other and passers by. Consequently, it’s best to be aware, especially if in San Juan, and take some precautionary measures.


So keep yourself and your belongings covered up, and use transport with full windows. Jeepneys and bicycles are not recommended, and gadgets and maybe spare clothing could be put in waterproof bags. If you are carrying paper documents in your bag, use plastic envelopes or waterproof filing system to keep your papers dry, just for double precaution. One good life hack to survive the occasion is to put money, small gadgets, passports, tickets, business cards, etc. in a Ziploc.



Although the Feast of San Juan is a fun day for most kids, it might not be a good idea to go outdoors with a baby or a toddler during this day. #BeSafe


Whilst commuters, students and the smartly dressed are largely respected and avoided, it’s possible to be splashed. Of course, getting angry is never a good idea in Asian society, so if you are caught, treat being “baptised” in this way with good humour!




Author: Expatch Editorial Team


Photo source:

Smiling girl and father with baby  –

Commuters get splashed with water –






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