Saturday, September 30, 2017

Taiwan in Six Cities and Six Days, Travel Note 1: Totally Taiwan

A part of the beautiful, sprawling metropolis that is Taipei
It is a small nation, a little island really. But its name has reverberated throughout my childhood and until today. Taiwan floats like a fallen fruit on China Sea in East Asia, gigantic China to its west and to its south numerous islands grouped as the Philippines. The nation is a giant in several ways—in manufacturing and in industrial economy—but it is more than that as I discovered in a few visits, learning its culture bit by bit and even most deliciously through its panoply of dishes, and contemplating on its beautiful landscapes.
            Taiwan is very Chinese, mostly Han, as much as it is also other cultures—Western and indigenous. It is very cosmopolitan as well as very rustic. It is very modern but also steeped in traditions.
            Many travelers enter Taiwan through its international airport in Taoyuan City in the northernmost part and travel about forty kilometres east to the capital Taipei. I love Taipei. As I approached the city on bus, I saw it from afar a sprawling cluster of gleaming buildings. I also saw its fringes and fingers crawling into the mountainsides and forests, not menacingly but almost tenderly as if to clasp them. At many points, the city meets and melds beautifully with forests and mountains. A clear river rushes into the city, silver like the glass buildings. In the city, I love the wide sidewalks and the tree-lined streets, and the food, both inventive and traditional, that makes the streets redolent. At night and in the markets, food is more attractive and beguiling than the shiniest toys or gadgets.
            From Taipei, we would go south to Kaohsiung City. Going around Taiwan is very convenient. We went on the Taiwan High Speed Rail that runs about 350 kilometers, traversing the running central region, from north to south. From Taipei, it takes only about an hour to go to Kaohsiung. There are views of fields and forests, and in between there are stations like airport terminals.
            From Kaohsiung, we made our way back to Taipei, stopping at major cities—Tainan, Taichung, New Taipei, Taoyuan—and visiting temples old and new, the night markets with its riot of colors and aromas, the restaurants that revealed to be gastronomic wonderlands, lakes as well as malls, and meeting friendly and interesting people. Every street had its story. The body ached but the spirit nourished. It will take a lifetime or two to know Taiwan, but we took in as much as we can, and the experiences we collected always bloom brightly in the gardens of our memories. 

NB: Taiwan Expo 2017 is being held from September 29 to October 1, 2017, at SMX Convention Center Manila, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City, organized by the Taiwan Association in the Philippines, a social and civic group of Taiwanese businessmen in the Philippines led by its president Allan Lin and honorary president Seimo Huang, and Taiwan External Trade Development Council. 
Trips to Taiwan can be arranged by Jeron Travel and Tours (www.jerontravel.com) with office at 727 VM Tower, Roxas Boulevard corner Airport Road, Pasay City. Call (+63 2) 854-1813. 

A floating garden on Sun Moon Lake
Delightful seafood at the Liuhe Night Market in Sinsing, Kaohsiung
Fields along the route of the high-speed rail
Qiming Court in Zuoying, Kaohsiung
The iconic Taipei 101 tower in Taipei, once the tallest structure in the world
The Tawain High Speed Rail arrives in Zuoying, Kaohsiung
Vibrant Xi Men Ding area in Taipei City

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Green Technology, Internet of Things and More from Taiwan

A view of Taipei City, Taiwan
Rapid industrialization and increase in human population in recent years have negatively impacted the environment. But with the advancement of technology, the campaign for environmental protection and conservation has also intensified, leading to an increased awareness. More and more businesses are committing to “greener” practices, leading to the emergence of “green” technology and industry, bringing about inventions and technological enhancements aim at minimizing harmful effects on the environment.
Taiwan, the East Asian country, has been known for many advances in technology, but the island nation has managed to retain much of its natural environment. Unknown to many, Taiwan has a robust green industry. Taiwan has made big strides in the development and use of “green” technology. Taiwanese companies have been devising systems and technologies on renewable energy, energy storage, energy savings, environmental protection, recycling, low-carbon transportation, wood-based biomass, green building, etc. Currently, Taiwan is a leading exporter of PV cells, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and bicycles.
Nine of these Taiwanese companies are Neo Solar Power, Eterbright, Biomax Technology, Asia Pacific Fuel Cell Technologies, Everlight Electronics, Chang Hong Energy Technology, Spring Pool Glass, Multiply Energy and UWin Nanotech.
They were showcased by the Green Trade Project Office (GTPO), the international trade promotions arm of the Taiwan Ministry of Economic Affairs, in its Green Industry Company Visits from July 18 to 20 in Taipei to show how the country can provide environmental solutions.

Green Companies
Neo Solar Power (NSP) is one of Taiwan’s and the world’s leading solar cell and module manufacturer. The company is aiming to expand globally to become a vertically-integrated full service solar company. NSP currently makes solar cells, bifacial cells, mono-crystalline cells and multi-crystalline cells.
Eterbright Solar Corp. specializes in research, development and manufacturing of copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) thin-film PV modules, and its products are widely used in roof-type solar energy systems and large-scale power plants. While its solar panels, which are touted to be durable and cadmium-free, are installed on roofs for home uses, Eterbright also presents innovative ideas such as a solar panel that doubles as a picnic table with an outlet for things such as an electric stove.
Biomax Technology is into agricultural products and services. It also produces biomass, a source of green energy which can be used in industrial boilers and household stoves.
Asia Pacific Fuel Cell Technologies is dedicated to the research and development of proton exchange membrane fuel cells and low pressure hydrogen storage systems, which can used for light vehicles such as scooters and golf carts.
Everlight Electronics manufactures LEDs and LED products such as lamps, lighting components, lighting modules, digital displays, opto-couplers and infrared components for various applications.
Chang Hong Energy Technology is a manufacturer of lithium iron phosphate oxide (LFPO) cell, the key component in power supply and energy storage system.
Spring Pool Glass Industrial Co. is Taiwan’s leading glass collecting and recycling company. Some of the glass they collected they make into green building materials such as the lightweight, fireproof and even soundproof blocks.
Multiply Energy Co. is dedicated to recycling used diapers as well as low-cost water filters.
UWin Nanotech is into reel-to-reel gold plating process design, nano-materials, eco-tech metal stripper, eco-tech equipment, electroplating additives, specialty chemicals, plating apparatuses and precious metal analysis.

Taiwan Expo 2017
These are some of the Taiwanese companies featured at the Green Technology Pavilion, organized by GTPO, at the Taiwan Expo 2017, from September 29 to October 1, 2017, at SMX Convention Center Manila, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City.
Spearheaded by the Taiwan Association in the Philippines, a social and civic group of Taiwanese businessmen in the Philippines led by its president Allan Lin and honorary president Seimo Huang, Taiwan Expo 2017 brings together well-known Taiwanese companies to introduce their latest products for the first time in the Philippines.
Organized by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (Taitra), a non-profit trade promotion organization in Taiwan, the Taiwan Expo will have eight themed pavilions covering education, agriculture, tourism, culture, technology and green energy.
The Study in Taiwan Pavilion will showcase Taiwan’s top universities and their offerings, while Culture and Tourism aims to attract visitors with travel packages and tourism products. Health and Lifestyle will feature medical services, food and other lifestyle products, while Inno-Tech will include green technology. Agriculture Tech features the country’s advances in agriculture and fisheries, while City Marketing showcases Taiwan’s six metropolitan areas—Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung. General Support will have banks and insurance companies to entice potential investors in Taiwan, while the Taiwan Association Philippines will display Taiwanese investments in the Philippines.
Aside from the pavilions, there will be two forums—one on fishery and food packaging and another on the Internet of Things (IoT) solutions for everyday living.

The Internet of Things Forum
The Taiwan Internet of Things (IoT) Solutions for Smart Living Forum, on September 30, will be of great interest to many Filipinos. IoT is a huge network of things connected through the Internet, said to revolutionize businesses, governments, and consumers. Representatives from some of Taiwan’s tech brands will be speaking about their cutting-edge IoT solutions.
For example, Vivotek will showcase its latest stereo network camera, the SC8131, which generates data by tracking numbers of people and their flow paths. Business owners can leverage this information for operational decisions such as improving store layouts and product promotions. Another application refining smart retail is the Acer Being Signage. This aids retailers in the entire digital marketing process, from consultation to operation. It also provides software that uses a cloud-based video analytics solution for creating, delivering and monitoring digital campaigns.
Using mixed reality technology and calculation camera image positioning technology, Main Orthop aedic Biotechnology Co. Ltd. has created precursory medical glasses that enhance accuracy and shorten surgery time for the medical industry. They will talk about their hi-tech wearable glasses designed to enhance surgeons’ performance and simplify orthopedic procedures. This technology will become a key tool for significant advances in surgery.
The Ropali-Teco Corp. will highlight advances that provide access to electronic vehicles, and enhance user experience by customizing local tricycles and jeepneys with their safety, efficiency, and ecological features. The electronic vehicles utilize a 2.3 kilowatt electric motor and have a 20 percent  climbing capacity for sloping paths. This is a good start for public vehicles to decrease fuel consumption and create safer travel for passengers.

Trade Partners
Taiwan and the Philippines have been engaged in economic relationship for many years. The Philippines is Taiwan’s tenth biggest trade partner and the eighth biggest export market in 2016.
“We look forward to enhancing awareness and importance of the expo by carrying out a series of side activities including industry cooperation meetings, forums, cultural performances, etc. It is expected that the expo will be a significant platform to promote mutual beneficial partnerships,” Taitra stated.

The Taiwan Expo is one of the efforts of Taiwan’s current administration’s New Southbound Policy, aimed at building and strengthening bilateral ties with nations south of Taiwan, including the Philippines.

Spring Pool Glass Industrial Company's construction blocks made from recycled glass
Asia Pacific Fuel Cell Technologies' hydrogen generator
Chang Hong's portable solar power storage case
Eterbright Solar Corporation's solar panels that double as a table
Multiply Energy Company 's recycled diapers
Neo Solar Power's solar cells
UWin Nanotech's metal stripper
Acer will showcase its innovative solutions

Musical for Millennials: PETA’s 'A Game of Trolls' Sings About the Dark Truth About Martial Law


During the campaign of long-time mayor of Davao City Rodrigo Duterte to become president of Philippines in 2016, perhaps the most powerful tool employed by his supporters was social media. Rumor has it that an army of online trolls were employed to extol Duterte, as well as attack his critics. When he became president, social media became a promotional machine and a weapon, targeting dissenting voices and praising his controversial policies and pronouncements, often in the most vicious ways including the fabrication of fake news. One of Duterte’s most controversial actions is his support for the family of and his admiration for the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, shrugging off the horrendous human rights violations committed during martial law. He also did not keep secret his inclination towards martial rule. This led to the secretive burial of the former president at the Libingan ng mga Bayani with full military honors on November 18, 2016, despite protests, as well as a blatant disregard for the truth and a flippant attitude towards martial law atrocities, promoted by online trolls and echoed and believed by supporters, many of them millennials, who pooh-poohed the abuses on human rights and see this episode, though comparatively a recent one, as a dusty and negligible piece of history, if they weren’t totally ignorant of it. The online trolls also went as far to further the mission of rehabilitating the image of Marcos. 
Many Filipinos were alarmed by this turn of events, among them artists who protest this atrocious revision of history through art. One of the notable works to come out recently is the stage musical A Game of Trolls by the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA), which is currently celebrating its 50th year and was recently honored with a Ramon Magsaysay Award.
A Game of Trolls is affirmation of the artist-teacher group’s continuous commitment of using theater for social change and justice. PETA has been known for advancing progressive theater, as well as a breeding ground of many of the country’s respected theater and film artists. It has struggled for freedom of expression and has led in many cultural protests during the Marcos dictatorship.
In her message, current PETA executive director Beng Santos-Cabangon said, “Why tell the story of martial law? As artists, we in PETA remain steadfast in our mission to use the arts to reflect peoples’ stories and examine our history, so we can find meaning in chaos, make sense of our realities and have vision amidst doubt and cynicism. Why the need to remember? Because it is in remembering that we understand. With understanding, we care. And when we care, we stand firm, we march and shout, ‘Never again!’” 
She further said, “This play is PETA’s humble contribution to the ongoing effort of sharing and forging a dialog and understanding about our country’s martial law history. It is also a call to action — to make our young people learn and understand that the freedom they enjoy today was fought with the blood and tears of their elders.” 
In this endeavor, PETA is supported by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, ensuring the accuracy of historical details, as well as advocacy groups Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation, Dakila and Active Vista.
Leni Velasco, Active Vista’s executive director, explained, “By co-presenting A Game of Trolls and initiating various creative endeavors as artist-activists and cultural educators, we hope that the present generation may be encouraged to seek the truth amidst the varying narratives circulated that are meant to deceive and misinform our people; sow disunity in our country; and mislead our nation towards the path to genuine change.” 
On the other hand, Dakila executive director Micheline Rama commented, “The most effective antidote against historical revisionism, false heroes, fake news, apathy and misinformation has always been education through the arts—real compelling stories of the human struggles presented through creative forms—film, music, visuals and theater.” 
A Game of Trolls, written by Liza Magtoto and directed by PETA artistic director Maribel Legarda with music by Vincent de Jesus, revolves around Hector (Myke Solomon), a young man who works as an online troll defending and spreading fake news in support of martial law, showing total indifference and ignorance about that era’s ugly truths. He is also indifferent to his own mother, harboring a grudge because of her past absences and ignorant of her past as an activist and a victim of torture during martial law. Heck has a group of friends, members of a band led by activist-leaning Cons (Gold Villar-Lim), who becomes Heck’s love interest. 
Heck is visited by “ghosts” of real martial law victims including doctor Bobby de la Paz, writer Emannuel Lacaba, student-activist Ed Jopson, Kalinga leader Macli-ing Dulag, and nun Sister Mariani Dimaranan, all telling him their stories during the martial law period. The stories are told seriously, as well as in popular entertainment formats to attract the play’s main target, the millennials. The play also incorporates rap and hip-hop, as well as digital graphics projected on the backdrop to be more appealing for the younger audience. The images of the play also include very recent images, such as extrajudicial killings, the burying of the truth, and strongman tendencies, drawing frightening parallels. 
But with careful research, A Game of Trolls remains factual, resisting the tendency to sugar-coat the horrors perpetrated by the Marcos regime, and the story serves as the emotional core, enabling the presentation of a vital history lesson in an engaging manner as well as of a cautionary tale that tells us that condonement and even tolerance of or silence on something as evil as this will affect us all.
       

A Game of Trolls is onstage the whole month of September at the PETA Theater Center, No. 5 Eymard Drive, New Manila, Quezon City. For tickets, contact TicketWorld at telephone number (632) 891-9999, log on to Ticketworld.com.ph, or visit www.petatheater.com/agameoftrolls.














Monday, September 18, 2017

Connections, Crossroads and Convergence: Festival Celebrates Cultures of the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia

Sining Kandidilimudan Ensemble of MSU Maguindanao performs an excerpt of Maharadia Lawana
The ikat dyeing technique for hand-woven textiles is practiced by several ethnic groups not only in the Philippines, but also in some countries in Southeast Asia. Also, there are similar stories that are being retold within the region, such as the different versions of the epic Ramayana, an influence from India. The commonality in traditional culture and heritage is more evident in an area in Southeast Asia that includes the countries the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia.  
These shared heritage and traditions, as well as the diversity of cultures, will be highlighted by the very first Budayaw: The BIMP-EAGA Festival of Culture and the Arts, which will be held from September 20 to 24, 2017, in General Santos City. The festival will include different activities and events such as lectures, workshops, performances, exhibits, tours and others. 
“Budayaw, as festival of cultures, showcases the links of our diverse cultures within the equator surrounded by or attached to the Sulu and Sulawesi Seas, a very ruch area of natural resources, but at the same time very blessed with diversity of cultures, which historically have been linked together since the eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth century,” explained Nestor Horfilla, a theater veteran and cultural worker, who serves as the festival director.
Before the current political boundaries, the peoples of what are now the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia have been in contact with each other since the olden times. Although the main purpose was trade, they were also influencing each other’s cultures.
Aside from geographical proximity, the during links among the four nations became the basis of the establishment of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), a cooperation to bolster socio-economic developemnt in the region with a shared strategy, about 20 years ago.
The BIMP-EAGA originally focuses on areas of tourism, environment, connectivity and transportation, and food production. In November 2015, the socio-cultural aspect and education pillar was officially added as an area of focus. 
“Twenty years of economic cooperation in the BIMP-EAGA led to the realization that culture, indeed, is a vital element in sustainable development of the four countries in the equator,” said Horfilla.
The Budayaw Festival is the first major cultural project of the BIMP-EAGA.
The Philippines was chosen to host the first festival, whose name was coined from two words—budaya, Malay for “culture,” and dayaw, a word in several Philippine languages that means “bounty” or “praise”—and which will be held every two years among the four countries. 
As the official Philippine representative in the BIMP-EAGA Socio-Cultural Development Working Group, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) spearheads the holding of the festival, providing about P10 million in funding, in collaboration with different agencies and institutions including the Mindanao Development Authority, Department of Tourism Region XII, the city government of General Santos, the provincial government of Sarangani, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and the Philippine Information Agency.
The Budayaw Festival is a chance to showcase the cultural richness of Mindanao and Palawan, the islands that are part of BIMP-EAGA. It will feature traditional arts, crafts and practices.
One notable event is the exhibit on ikat-dyeing technique, which has been used by many Mindanao groups such as the T’boli and the Blaan on their hand weaving. A specially designed pavilion will serve as a shared domain of invited master weavers, who will conduct a demonstration on the age-old practice.
Another traditional art to be highlighted in the festival is indigenous music with performances using native musical instruments such as gongs, bamboo instruments and string instruments. These instruments are also shared heritage of the four countries.
Performances of traditional dances, such as the pangalay of the Tausug, kab-apir-apir of the Meranaw and T’boli dances from the Philippines, are also included. 
Contemporary artistic creations will share the spotlight with traditional heritage. The BIMP-EAGA artists, for example, will display their works at the “Under One Sky” exhibit. Choral groups will be invited to perform. There will be performances of contemporary dances.
Notable is a grand theatrical production of six Mindanao theater groups. The Sining Kambayoka Ensemble of Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi City; Sining Kandidilimudan Ensemble of MSU in Maguindanao; Kabpapagariya Ensemble of MSU in General Santos City; Kaliwat Performing Artists Collective of Davao City; Kagay-an Performing Arts Troupe of Cagayan de Oro City; and Tambuli Cultural Troupe of Tawi-Tawi will converge for a collaborative dramatic adaptation of Maharadia Lawana. Each group were given to an episode of the Meranaw prose folk narrative version of the Ramayana to be adapted for the stage.
To make the Budayaw experience more immersive, there will be special tour packages for the visiting guests and tourists to explore the richness of Mindanao culture, as well as its touristic destinations.
A series of colloquiums will tackle cultural exchanges and the safeguarding cultural diversity. According to Horfilla, they will try to gather experiences and proposals to craft strategies to enhance cultural exchanges among the BIMP-EAGA member countries, and these will be submitted to different cultural ministries “so that they will open more windows for cultural exchange for artists.”  
Most of the Budayaw events will be held at the major malls of General Santos City including SM City General Santos, Gaisano Mall, Veranza Mall and KCC Mall, where there will plenty of foot traffic.
“Roots of tradition and routes of development in culture are the key issues that we would like to highlight in the Budayaw Festival,” said Horfilla. “We also want to emphasize the right of people to appreciate different cultures.
While showcasing the diversity of creative expressions of BIMP-EAGA cultural masters and artists, the Budayaw Festival is hoped to raise awareness and foster appreciation for the cultures and arts of the region, thus engendering understanding and solidarity among the peoples of the BIMP-EAGA.

Kabpapagariya Ensemble of MSU General Santos City performs an excerpt of Maharadia Lawana
Traditional attires and weaving are featured at the festival
 Blaan children performing traditional dance

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Coconut Creativity: Spectacles and Festivity at Quezon’s Niyogyugan Festival

The provincial capitol grounds in Lucena City were transformed into a virtual theme park with colorful agri-tourism booths
Groups of dancers paraded and performed on the streets of Lucena City for the annual Niyogyugan Festival of the province of Quezon. While it was rainy in several parts of the country, the capital of the province was sunny, the heat bearing down on the dancers. With colorful costumes, they enlivened the sleepy afternoon but did not match the verve and agility of dancers in the festivals in the Visayas such as in the Sinulog Festival of Cebu and the Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo City. What attracted more attention during the parade were the floats, inventive and sometimes intricate, given the restrictions in the materials to be used.  
            It is noticeable that the penchant of the Tagalog people and region is in ornamentation. During fiestas, Bulacan traditionally puts up singkaban, arches made purely of bamboo, amazing with its curlicues and other details. Baler and San Luis in Aurora also set up decorative arches that instantly foment a festive air. In Quezon, the town of Gumaca is known for its aranya and baluarte, while Lucban is a star during its fiesta with houses abundantly decorated with kiping and farm produce.  
            In the Niyogyugan Festival, the biggest attractions were the fair booths around the provincial capitol grounds and the floats. While the festival is of recent invention, with only five years of mounting, they make their booths and floats as if they have been doing them for ages, showing a native knack for crafts and embellishment.
            The booths actually figured prominently during the birth of the festival. Niyogyugan Festival started as a trade fair to bolster the coconut industry with the aim of reclaiming the status being the number-one producer of coconuts in the country. The province of 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 about 78 million coconut trees. Each of the 203,000 farmers in the province tills an average of nearly two hectares of coconut plantation.
Later on, taking cue from the idea of congresswoman Aleta Suarez, the trade fair was transformed into a contemporary festival in 2012. The name was a portmanteau of the Filipino words niyog (coconut) and yugyugan (dance). The festival was timed to coincide with the commemoration of the birth anniversary of Manuel Luis Quezon, president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines from 1935 to 1944, who was born on August 19, 1878, after which the province was named.
            Like any other festivals in the country, Niyogyugan is a weeks-long agricultural, tourism and cultural event filled with concerts, a beauty contest, sports, socials,  and others, culminating with a parade, street dancing and dance showdown. This year, it has held from August 17 to 27. The coconut remains the center of the celebration with the booths featuring diverse displays of coconut products, as well as other farm produce and marine catches from the province’s upland towns and coastal and island communities.
            The booths themselves were predominantly constructed using coconuts, from trunks and leaves to the husks and fibers, and were designed to represent the culture of the different towns. The capitol grounds would be transformed into a theme park and an outdoor market offering virgin coconut oil, lambanog, skimmed milk, coconut water drink, coconut vinegar, coconut sugar, cheese, yogurt cream, sauces, cooked dishes and others. Aside from food products, there were also furniture, handicrafts, house d├ęcor, fiber and netting used in landscaping, all from coconuts. Booths of the coastal and island towns, some of which took about ten hours of travel to reach Lucena to participate, sold exotic clams and conches and other marine produce. At night they were all lit up to the delight of visitors who came in droves. The past years, about 200,000 visitors came to the festival. This year, visitors reached about half a million, indicating its growing popularity. Exhibitors reportedly earned around P15 million in sales of their products.
            From thirty-eight in 2015 and thirty-nine in 2016, this year all of the Quezon’s thirty-nine towns and two cities were able to put up their own booths. Aside from products, the booths were also educational, each featuring a mini-exhibit of their tourist attractions, local culture and unique features.
            Gumaca was replica of the San Diego Fortress or Kutang Kastilyo, a well-known historical landmark of the town, embellished with a baluarte or decorative arch; while Pagbilao was in the shape of the view deck in the Pagbilao Mangrove Experimental Forest in Ibabang Palsabangon to highlight this new eco-tourism destination.
Known for its ancestral houses, the Sariaya booth was inspired by an art-deco mansion complete with a little rondalla band, which played live music in the late afternoon.
The Tayabas booth was crowned with a giant bottle of lambanog, the iconic alcoholic drink of southern Tagalog region, indispensable in social gatherings. Beside it was the Atimonan booth on which its popular folkloric creature, the mermaid, sat. The town is known to have a mermaid statue on Lamon Bay.
Padre Burgos booth was impressive with giant chickens reminding visitors of its original name, Laguimanok, so named because its coastline is said to be shaped like a chicken’s bill. Giant birds also adorned the Lopez booth, made with multi-colored buri fans or pamaypay, the known product of the town.
The Infanta booth was dome-shaped to represent the coconut, made up of myriad, polished coconut shells, while the Panukulan booth was shaped like sea waves, being a town in the island of Polillo in the Philippine Sea.
            The floats echoed the booth’s motif. There were twenty-two this year, paraded together with dancers, on the August 27, the culmination day.
Lucban fielded a float shaped like a giant carabao to emphasize its being an agricultural town, while Calauag’s float featured a humongous sea turtle, covered with tiles of coconut shells. The Padre Burgos float had a giant chicken while the Quezon float had a big red lionfish. A giant mask fronted the Tagkawayan float, giving tribute to its early settlers, the Aeta, while Sariaya highlighted its local bread, the sweet and fragrant pinagong. The Candelaria float remained simple, decorated with giant candles, but it proved to be the most polished and elegant float.
The Niyogyugan Festival proved to be a fitting tribute to the coconut, widely considered as the “tree of life” for its important role in the province and the lives of its people. The festival has shown its innumerable uses, including as material to showcase how creative Quezonians can get.


The booths at night
The agri-tourism booths were lit up at night, attracting more visitors



The Lucban booth was inspired by Kamay ni Jesus pilgrimage site











The Gumaca booth was a replica of a historic fortress




The folkloric mermaid sat atop the Atimonan booth
The Padre Burgos was formerly known as Laguimanoc, thus its booth featuring chickens


A giant bottle of the iconic lambanog atop the Tayabas booth




 Dancers from Atimonan





 Dancers from Buenavista




 Dancers from Calauag



 Dancers from Dolores
 Dancers from General Nakar



 Dancers from Gumaca

 Dancers from Infanta


 Dancers from Lucena




 Dancers from Mauban



 Dancers from Padre Burgos


 Dancers from Pagbilao


 Dancers from Perez



 Dancers from Plaridel



 Dancers from Pollilo


 Dancers from Quezon






 Dancers from Real

 Dancers from Sariaya




 Dancers from Tagkawayan



 Dancers from Tayabas
 Dancers from Tiaong