National Coconut Week is a celebration of coconut, a crop that is called the tree of life, in the Philippines from August 24 to 30 every year.
The Philippines is one of the world’s major producers of coconut and its derived products, coming in at second place next to Indonesia. It sent 70% of its output overseas, providing about 3.6% gross-value added to agriculture of the country. Coconut is also regarded part of the list of important crops that included banana, corn, and rice according to FFTC in 2019.
Its export generates over a billion dollars in revenue annually according to Philippine Coconut Authority in 2019 and the industry employed 3.5 million farmers. A quarter of the agricultural land in the country is dedicated to its cultivation. The top producing areas are the Davao region, Zamboanga peninsula, and Northern Mindanao.
Coconut industry in the Philippines
Farming of coconut (cocos nucifera) began in the basins of the Pacific (Indonesia and Malaysia) and the Indian ocean (Sri Lanka and Maldives). The Pacific variety was thought to have been brought along with the migration of Austronesians thousands of years ago.
In the age of exploration, the Portuguese brought the crop from the Indian basin to the Africa’s west coast while the Spaniards did the same for the Pacific variety to Mexico in the Manila-Alcapulco trading route.
During Spanish colonial era, each chieftain was required to plant two hundred coconut trees by the orders of Governor Sebastian Huradto de Corcuera in 1642. The tree thus was not only found in areas along the coastlines but spread towards the interior lands as a result. The edict was passed down to keep hunger at bay that might fuel uprisings and as precious cargo in trading galleons where its water and meat provide nourishment for sailors. Parts of the tree and its fruit were also used to make fiber ropes and as ships’ caulking materials.
In 1668, Jesuit priest Francisco Ignacio Alzina wrote one of the earliest accounts of coconut cultivation in the country while he was assigned in the Visayas region for over three decades. He noted fruits with water contents of about two liters, one that is commonplace in the present day but could be inferred to have been scarce in his time. Likewise, he wrote about small islands with coconut trees that grew so plentifully they inhibited the growth of other plants.
By the 18th century, the Spanish colonial government expanded the policy requiring the cultivation of other crops such as cacao and abaca that were products shipped in the galleon trade. Towards the end of the Spanish rule, the country exported coconut to Europe for the production of soap and margarine, and its exports continued into the years of American occupation when the country supplied the US demand for desiccated coconut.
Post-war years saw the industry expanded to address demand for copra (dried coconut meat) and oil. The government also established agencies for the coconut industry, National Coconut Corporation (through Commonwealth Act No. 518 approved on May 7, 1940) to Philippine Coconut Administration (through Republic Act No. 1145 approved on June 17, 1954). In the 1960s there were multiple government agencies conducting coconut researches.
By the approval of Republic Act No. 4059 on June 18, 1964, Philippine Coconut Research Institute or PHILCORIN was established. In 1971, the Coconut Coordinating Council was established that replaced PHILCORIN through Executive Order No. 334 signed on August 30, 1971.
Finally, the Philippine Coconut Authority was created by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 232 that was signed on June 30, 1973. It is an arm of the Department of Agriculture and the only government agency that works for the development and promotion of the coconut industry.
History of National Coconut Week
The celebration of National Coconut Week started through Proclamation No. 142 that was signed by Corazon Aguino on . It recognized the importance of the crop to the national economy, acknowledged the contribution of agricultural workers in the industry, and established a means of celebration in the month of August which is the peak season for coconut. This annual event is spearheaded by the Philippine Coconut Authority.
Its activities include trade fair, exhibits, promotion of coconut products, updates of the industry, investment meetings, conferences, and localized activities. In 2020 to 2022, activities were held virtually due to coronavirus pandemic.
Philippine coconut festivals
Below is the list of coconut festivals in the Philippines.
|Coco Festival||San Teodoro, Oriental Mindoro||December 8|
|Coconut Festival||San Pablo, Laguna||Second week of January|
|Cocowayan Festival||Isabela City, Basilan||April 25|
|Hudyaka Sa Lubi Festival||Linamon, Lanao del Norte||January 23|
|Gata Festival||Masalong, Labo, Camarines Norte||August 10 – August 16|
|Kalubihan Festival||Guimaras||Fourth week of August|
|Kanidugan Festival||Odiongan, Romblon||April|
|Kuyamis Festival||Misamis Oriental||Second week of January|
|Lubi Festival||Maria, Siquijor||May|
|Lubi Festival||Gamay, Northern Samar||March 3|
|Lubi Festival||Liberty, Palompon, Leyte||Fourth week of May|
|Lubi Lubi Festival||Calubian, Leyte||August 15|
|Lubi Lubi Festival||Bacuag, Surigao Del Norte||October 8|
|Lubi Lubi Festival||Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte||June 25|
|Lubi-Lubi Festival||Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental||May 22|
|Lubi-Lubi Festival||Glan, Saranggani||October|
|Magayon Festival||Legaspi City, Albay||May|
|Mahaguyog Festival||Sto. Tomas, Batangas||February 27 – March 7|
|Makalanyog Festival||Lipa, Batangas||January 21|
|Niyog Festival||Baganga, Davao Oriental||October 26 to 29|
|Niyog Isdaan Festival||Santa Maria, Romblon||September 1 to 13|
|Niyogan Festival||Magsaysay, Lanao del Norte||May 23|
|Padayog Festival||Sta. Elena, Camarines Norte||June 21|
|Palanyog Festival||Palapas, Ligao City, Albay||Second Saturday of October|
|Puto Latik Festival||Binan, Laguna||First week of February|
|Rahugan Festival||Basud, Camarines Norte||October 18 – 24|
|Saginyogan Festival||Alcantara, Romblon||March 21|
|Saludan Festival||Tigbauan, Iloilo||March / October|
|Sulyog Festival||Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro||March 15|
|Tikanlu Festival||Tagudin, Ilocos Sur||May 1 to 5|
|Tupig Festival||Laoac, Pangasinan||February 26|
- Proclamation No. 142, s. 1987. Official Gazette. Retrieved September 27, 2022
- Castillo, Monica B. and Ani, Princess Alma B. The Philippine Coconut Industry: Status, Policies and Strategic Directions for Development. Food and Fertilizer Technology Center for the Asian and Pacific Region. June 13, 2019. Retrieved September 28, 2022
- Tacio, Henrylito D. Coconut: Major Export Crop of Filipino Farmers. Philippine Coconut Authority. July 18, 2019. Retrieved September 28, 2022
- History of PCA. Philippine Coconut Authority. Retrieved September 28, 2022
- Gruezo, William Sm. and Harries, Hugh C. Self-Sown, Wild-Type Coconuts in the Philippines. Biotropica , Jun., 1984, Vol. 16, No. 2 (Jun., 1984), pp. 140-147. Retrieved September 28, 2022
- Hansel, Louis. The amazing coconut. Business World. April 15, 2021. Retrieved September 28, 2022
- Magat, Severino S. Coconut Agricultural Research in the Philippines Its History, Technolgical Advances and Future Targets. CORD, 8(01), 34. https://doi.org/10.37833/cord.v8i01.254. 1992. Retrieved September 28, 2022
- Republic Act No. 4059. Lawphil. Retrieved September 28, 2022
- Presidential Decree No. 232, s. 1973. Official Gazette. Retrieved September 29, 2022
- PCA kicks off National Coconut Month celebration. Philippine News Agency. August 6, 2020. Retrieved September 29, 2022
- Curdis, Christine. PCA sets virtual trade fair for Nat’l Coco Week. Philippine News Agency. August 2, 2021. Retrieved September 29, 2022
- PCA-10 celebrates 36th coco week, launches coco farmers, industry dev’t plan. Philippine Information Agency. August 18, 2022. Retrieved September 29, 2022
- Executive Order No. 334, s. 1971. Official Gazette. Retrieved September 29, 2022
- An Act to Establish the National Coconut Corporation. The Corpus Juris. Retrieved September 29, 2022
- Republic Act No. 1145. Lawphil. Retrieved September 29, 2022