The very first coconut festival in San Pablo City was held in 1996 and the main event of the weeklong festivities during that time, and even today is the “mardi gras” or the street dancing competition.
The first mardi gras was held on January 12, 1996 and it was a grandslam for MSC.
MSC was OVERALL CHAMPION in the tertiary (College) level. MSC also won Best Costume and Best Choreography in the same level.
As if getting most of the major awards in the mardi gras was not enough, MSC also won in the Floats Competition!
Unlike the street dancing competition, where contestants are limited to schools in the city, the floats competition is open to all institutions and groups. MSC bested all groups with its “bunot” (coconut husk) covered float designed and constructed with the help of each staff and student.
Here’s a short trivia about the first cocofestival of San Pablo…
The San Pablo City cocofestival, mardi gras-style was conceived by Robert M. Non of San Miguel Group of Companies based in Laguna. He shared his idea to then Secretary to the Mayor Adolfo “Rudy” J. Vergara, and Project Development Officer Ruben E. Taningco.
Mayor Vicente Amante and the Sangguniang Panglunsod, then headed by Vice Mayor Danton Q. Bueser approved the proposal and an ad hoc committee was formed. The committee was chaired by City Administrator Hizon A. Arago, assisted by former councilor Vergel Cosico and businessman Arthur T. Reyes. Among those involved were Rolando A. Inciong and wife Sylvia, Pablito J. Merin, Celso “Seseng” Oblena, and Willy Tan and wife Racquel. Physical Education teachers Luz Ges. Aguilar and Meng Lajara also assisted in coordinating some of the activitiesand Ms. Melinda P. Bondad) headed the committee’s secretariat that prepared the reports submitted to the Office of the President, the Department of Tourism, and the National Historical Institute (NHI).
Incidentally, the First Coconut Festival, Mardi Gras Style, held on January 12, 1996, was on time with the commemoration of the 400th Anniversary or Fourth Centennial of the founding of the Parish of Saint Paul, The First Hermit, which was organized by the Augustinian Fathers in 1596.
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