Going nuts for coconuts

The city in Laguna, just a 2-hour drive from Manila, is known for its wide array of coconut products. Aside from the usual bunot (coconut husk used to clean the floor) and coconut oil, San Pablo boasts of coco-based delicacies such as leche flan con macapuno, halo-halo with pure coconut milk, and, of course, the ubiquitous pasalubong -- buko pie.

There's also San Pablo's coconut-infused dishes like adobo sa gata, pancit buko and tinola con buko.

Fashion finds are also abundant in the city -- from purses and ornaments to clothes. Chico Estiva, a famous local designer, has even come up with a "coconut gown" for special occasions and gatherings.

It was because of its thriving coconut industry that San Pablo was officially declared as a city, according to city tourism coordinator Donnalyn Brinas Eseo.

To pay tribute to the city's main source of income, San Pablo has been holding annual coconut festivals for the past 16 years. The 8-day celebration includes fireworks displays, parades, fairs and contests, among others.

This year's coconut festival commenced last January 8 and is set to end on Saturday, January 15.

Loreto Amante, city administrator and Cocofest overall committee chairman, encouraged the public to take part in this week's festivities to see the many things that San Pablo has to offer.

It may, after all, be the perfect spot to learn more about -- and develop a love for -- coconuts and other Philippine made products. -- Nikki delos Santos, abs-cbnNEWS.com

SOURCE: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/lifestyle/01/11/11/going-nuts-coconuts