The San Pablo Coco Festival 2013

Ysa and I recently took a trip to San Pablo City, Laguna last January 13, 2013 Sunday to attend the annual Coconut Festival and enjoy the festivities with fellow Komikeros and close friends Gerry Alanguilan, Johnny Danganan, and Neil Amiel Cervantes.

The Coconut Festival is a week-long celebration in honor of Saint Paul (San Pablo) the Hermit, San Pablo City’s patron saint. The festival started in 1996 and is held every first to second week of January. The festival consists of Street dancing, float parade, street concerts, and nightly programs.

The Festival aims to boost the culture and traditions of San Pablenos.

We left Makati at around 8:00 AM so we'll have time to take a few pictures around San Pablo City and the preparations for the Coco Fest and to compensate for traffic if any (the trip from Makati to San Pablo usually takes 2 hours but could go as along as 3 when the traffic is really bad) before we have to meet Gerry and Johnny for lunch at around 11:00 AM.

The main avenue in San Pablo was closed for the float parade and the street dancing so we had to walk from the outskirts of town to the main square (it's really not that far).

We took a few pictures during the walk, seeking to take advantage and snap a few scenes before the streets get filled with people. San Pablo was all dressed up in colorful and warm banderitas...

we also saw one of the floats being pushed into position...

and was lucky enough to catch a procession featuring the Patron Saint himself (or at least a statue of him).

Here's San Pablo's church located at the center of the city.

After taking our fill of the scenery, we proceeded to the restaurant where we're supposed to meet Gerry and Johnny and have lunch...and boy was it a good lunch (more on that on a separate article)! We all proceeded back to the main avenue at a little after 1:00 PM, just in time to see the parade start led by a very lively drum band.

The Drum Band was followed by the Coco Carnival Queens.

The Coco Carnival Queens is a show stopper during the festival. The event showcases the creativity of San Pablo by making festive gowns and costumes purely made from the coconut tree modelled by the some of the most beautiful men you will ever see.

Each year, the costumes for the Coco Carnival Queen become bigger, bolder, and more impressive.

But of course, the event everyone is waiting for is the Street Dancing Competition! The Coconut Festival Street Dancing is a competition among schools within San Pablo City. The competition is divided in three divisions: Elementary, Secondary, and the College Divisions.

The entire competition lasted from around 1:00 PM to about 5:00 PM and the kids, resplendent in their colorful costumes gave it their all (despite the heat, some rain, and technical difficulties in the public announcement system). Their dance routines were something else ranging from entertaining native dances to heart stopping acrobatics (which is no joke considering that if you miscalculate you land on the pavement).

By this time the group has been on our collective feet for more than 6 hours.

We decided to head off to a nearby restaurant to get some dinner and head on home. I'll be posting more pictures in the coming days as I get them all sorted out and organized so stay tuned!

About the Author

Jonas Diego is a project manager, graphic designer, and comic book creator who spends his time working on various projects and playing games whenever possible.

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