Quezon province is gearing to make its annual Niyogyugan fiesta as the next major festival in the country to boost tourist arrivals and generate interest on the humble coconut tree, its primary product which is also considered the “tree of life.”
A portmanteau of the words “niyog” (coconut) and “yugyog” (to dance), the festival, which was originally conceptualized by former Rep. Aleta Suarez, showcases the province’s culture and natural bounty.
This year’s two-week celebration, with the theme “Tara nasa Quezon: Niyogyugan Festival 2016” is expected to have gathered more than 200,000 visitors, with total festival sales projected to reach P12.7 million.
A blood-letting activity kicked off the festivity on August 15, followed by the opening of an agri-tourism exposition at Perez Park in Lucena City. Each of the Niyog-based products of the 39 towns and municipalities and two cities of the province are showcased in individual booths. Revelers also enjoyed local delicacies such as pancit habhab, longganisa and suman.
On August 19, to mark the 138th birthday of the late President Manuel Quezon, the province held its Quezon Medalya ng Karangalan Awards where five outstanding residents were feted for their accomplishments: Msgr. Leandro Castro from Lucena City (spiritual leadership), Nestor Pestelos of Tiaong (public service and community development), Josephine Fabre of Lucena City (music), Milada Valde of Lucban (culinary), and Ricardo Salumbides of Pagbilao (farming).
“Without the late President Quezon, there would be no Quezon Niyogyugan Festival to celebrate. The festival showcases our excellence and creativity,” said Governor David Suarez in his speech during the floral-offering ceremony near the monument of President Quezon.
Other activities includes Bb. Niyogyugan and hands-on training on weaving, lambanog production, and coco sap and virgin coconut oil processing. A grand parade, float competition, and street dance capped the celebrations on August 27.
According to Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez, the province will work with various hotels and travel agencies to include Niyogyugan in their brochures, pamphlets and other promotional materials.
The lawmaker said their festival is unique being the only one to promote the coconut industry as other celebrations across the country are mostly religious and cultural.
The Niyogyugan Festival started in 2012 as a mere trade fair showcasing products derived from the coconut tree produced by local farmers.
Suarez said he expects more tourists to attend in the future with the completion of the South Luzon Expressway Toll Road 4 Project (TR4) that will link Santo Tomas, Batangas and Lucena City, Quezon. The project, to be completed in 2019, will cut travel time between the two towns from four hours to just one hour.
Best Booth Competition Winners:
1st – infanta – P3M
2nd – Tagkawayan – P2M
3rd – Gumaca – P1M
4th Sariaya – P500,000
5th Mauban – P300,000
6th Tayabas – P200,000
7th Pagbialo – P150,000
Lucena – P150,000
1st – Buenavista – P3M
2nd – Padre Burgos – P2M
3rd – Sampaloc – P1M
4th Guinayangan – P500,000
5th SanAntonio – P300,000
6th Macalelon – P200,000
7th Quezon – P150,000
Consolation Prizes: P100,000
* All the prizes are worth of projects