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A costumed dancer holds a coconut during a street-dancing event as part of this year’s Niyogyugan Festival.
A costumed dancer holds a coconut during a street-dancing event as part of this year’s Niyogyugan Festival.

Niyogyugan Festival: Philippine agricultural tourism at its best

The familiar holiday spirit made itself felt once more as more than 500,000 people gathered at Lucena City in Quezon province for the recent Niyogyugan Festival, which signaled the coming of the “-ber” months. 

The week-long agricultural-tourism spectacle featured massive displays of diverse coconut items, as well as other farm and sea produce from the province’s two cities and 39 municipalities, turning the Lucena capitol grounds into what was called a “mega-agricultural shopping mall.”

The façade of the Quezon provincial capitol building lit up and decorated during the Niyogyugan Festival.
The façade of the Quezon provincial capitol building lit up and decorated during the Niyogyugan Festival.

Festival exhibitors reportedly earned some P15 million in sales of products derived from coconuts. These included virgin coconut oil, lambanog, skimmed milk, buko water drink, coco vinegar, flour, chips, sugar, cheese, yogurt cream, and sauce.

In addition to the coco food products, there were coco furniture, handicrafts, house décor, fiber and geonet used in landscaping.

Niyogyugan’s holiday spirit was perked up by concerts and a beauty contest. The festival culminated in a cultural parade, street dancing, and a dance showdown on August 27.

Held as part of the month-long commemoration of the late President Manuel L. Quezon’s 139th birth anniversary, the Niyogyugan Festival not only featured the province’s coconut products, but also highlighted the vital role of the coconut industry.

“We applaud the local government units, headed by the office of Gov. David “Jay-Jay” Suarez, for successfully presenting farm tourism at its best,” said Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo of the Department of Tourism (DOT).

She echoed Suarez’s message that Niyogyugan is also a fitting tribute to both the coconut, known as “tree of life,” and to Filipino farmers, not just in Quezon, but throughout the country.

“The annual festival is a celebration of life, and a kaleidoscope of Filipino cultural diversity, our resiliency, and our virtue of hard work,” Suarez said.

Quezon Provincial Tourism Office head Alberto Bay said thousands of visitors came from all over the world, who got the chance to see Quezon’s world-class destinations, like Mount Banahaw, Cagbalete Island, Villa Escudero, Balesin Island, and Putting Buhangin.

“Niyogyugan, which is a brainchild of Rep. Aleta Suarez, is our contribution to our tourism industry and our special way of ushering the Christmas season,” Bay said.

Quezon rivals three Davao provinces as the country’s top coconut producer, with a total coconut plantation of 391,196 hectares, representing 78 percent of its agricultural land, with 78 million coconut trees.

Each of the 203,000 farmers in the province tills an average of nearly two hectares of lands devoted to coconut.

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