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The 13th Pandan Festival in Luisiana, Laguna was held last April 3-7, 2010. The five-day long celebration of the pandan crop and its products conincides with the Independence Day of Luisiana (from Majayjay town) on April 3. To spice up the Pandan Festival, various activities are sponsored by the municipality such as inter-barangay activities, parade contest with street dancing, night dancing, and beauty pageant. Click here to view the coronation night of Ms. Luisiana.
But I think the most interesting activity is the "Gayakang Bayan" where local households in Luisiana decorate their homes with various pandan products such as bags, hats, mats and even windmills! The most creative decorations and designs are awarded with cash prizes (consolation prize is worth PhP 2000). The "Gayakang Bayan" is very similar to the Pahiyas Festival of Lucban, Quezon where the houses are decorated with "kiping" made from rice flour (it can be eaten after grilling or frying it).
We went to Luisiana last April 5 to witness the Pandan Festival and we were excited to buy different pandan products such as mats, native bags, and many more. We expected that many stores would sell Pandan products, similar to those footwear stores in Liliw or woodcraft stores in Paete, but we were extremely disappointed and frustrated to find out that only the One Town One Product (OTOP) Center/Showroom at the town plaza sells pandan products. There was only one other house that actually sells pandan products, "Inang Soling's House of Pandan," pictured below:
The residents of that house are really creative because they are able to make unique products from pandan such as wine holder (PhP 200), lantern case, mailbox, windmill, hen and goose, etc. However, we were looking for pandan mat but it was not available at the House of Pandan. There was a mat for sale at the OTOP Center but it was too expensive - PhP 450 for a double-sized mat. So we did not buy it. The only items we bought at the OTOP Center was a native hat for PhP 50, native fan (PhP 20) and a cowboy hat for my son (PhP 150).
I felt the trip to Luisiana for the Pandan Festival will not be complete if I don't buy a pandan mat. So to satisfy my "craving" for a mat, I stopped by one of the decorated houses and I politely asked the owner if I could purchase a pandan mat from her. Although her pandan handicrafts are not really for sale, she willingly obliged and sold me a mat for PhP 40! What a bargain. And then to my pleasant surprise, she offered me her other pandan handicrafts so I grabbed at the chance and bought a native bag or bayong (PhP 15), a native lunch box "(PhP 45) and another pandan hand bag (PhP 100). My purchases were much cheaper than the ones sold at the Showroom at Luisiana town center.
Tip: I recommend that you should buy pandan products at the ANILAG Festival, the Ani ng Laguna Festival, usually held in the month of March at the Laguna Provincial Capitol in Santa Cruz, Laguna. There are more choices and available pandan products at the ANILAG Festival and you don't have to travel far to Luisiana if your only goal is to buy pandan products. Click here to view photos of the pandan products at the ANILAG Festival.
Some photos during the Pandan Festival:
Native costumes made from pandan
Houses decorated with pandan crafts and products:
Other unique pandan handicrafts: