A glimpse of Quezon's Coconut Festival

By DuNi

It was one sunny morning when I got down from the bus at Sto. Tomas Market in Batangas.  I waited for Mom for about half an hour, as the Bus Stop in Sto. Tomas was decided to be our meeting place as she is coming from our house in Talisay.  She asked to to accompany her to Lucena to meet a friend she hasn’t seen in years.  It was years since my last visit to a Quezon town, so I decided to endure those 6 long hours of travel.  I always liked Quezon, most particularly those grand old house in Sariaya and the town setting of Lucban at the foot of Mount Banahaw.  It was probably the most typical Filipino town setting I could imagine.

I left Pampanga at four o’clock in the morning, and then I transferred bus in Cubao bound for Sto. Tomas, Batangas arriving 3 hours later.  When Mom arrived we immediately boarded a Lucena bound bus.  We bought a box of buko pie for our snack at an ambulatory vendor, as both of us slightly misses the delicacy, myself having been residing in Central Luzon for years, and her just arrived a week earlier in the country for a well deserved vacation.

We arrived in Lucena an hour before noon, just enough for Mom and her friend to exchange pleasantries and a few untold stories of those years apart.  Then Mom’s friend invited us for a lunch at the town proper for a treat at Lucena’s famous Bubbles' Crispy Pata.

After the lunch at Bubbles, we strolled at the nearby Provincial Capitol Grounds which is alive with exhibits from all the town of Quezon as they are celebrating the Niyog-Niyugan or Niyogyugan (coined term for niyog and yugyugan which means "coconut" and "dance to the beat") Festival, showcasing products, delicacies, and souvenirs made from coconut.  Each of the town’s stall was designed and decorated mostly with materials made from the tree of life, from poles to roofs to floorings and even some furniture and decors.

We strolled around the festival grounds, and taking more interest from the town of Tagkawayan, where my mother and her friend proudly hail from.  I personally enjoyed what I have seen at the festival with all kinds of uses of the coconut, but what I liked so much was the suman malagkit stuffed inside with coconut jam much like the one you see inside the pan de coco.  The municipality of Jomalig was interesting with its very unique municipal logo - a logo with a face of probably somebody with  major significance to the town itself.  It was a wonderful display of coconut products though I was a little disappointed since I wasn’t able to get hold of the macapuno which I was longing for.  

Niyog-Niyugan Festival coincides with the celebration of Araw ng Quezon and the birthdate of Manuel L. Quezon, where the province was renamed after changing the name from its ancient name Tayabas.  I am not entirely sure if Festival is held annually but be sure to check out one of the Philippines’ unique festival and you’ll be amazed of the wide range of products the coconut tree can produce.