Gapo at Palusong Festival in General Nakar, Quezon
Philippines,  Travel Events and News

Gapo at Palusong Festival 2023

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I was very lucky to be invited to one of the most underrated festivals in the Philippines — the Gapo at Palusong Festival. This is an annual festival held every July in the t­own of General Nakar, Quezon. It celebrates the local culture and traditions surrounding harvests.

This year’s festival employed the tagline “Fiesting Nakarin, Ani ng Galinng” and is celebrated along with the 74th founding anniversary of General Nakar.

Gapo at Palusong Festival

Gapo” and “palusong” are local terminologies with deep cultural roots. Gapo refers to the traditional practices done by locals to ensure bountiful harvest. For example, a man performing a ritual by burying his genitalia on the soil of the farmland at the start of the planting season. Meanwhile, palusong refers to “bayanihan,” specifically on how the locals come together during soil tilling, planting, and harvest.

I was in awe when I learned about the traditions in General Nakar. I didn’t know that these unique practices still live on today, and I hope that by sharing my experiences with you, I can help document and memorialize the culture and traditions of the Nakarins.

Aside from learning about the town, other reasons to visit the Gapo at Palusong Festival include witnessing its street parade, culinary competition, and other programs. It’s also a great time to mingle with locals, get to know their everyday life, and explore the tourist attractions in General Nakar.

Group photo at Gapo at Palusong Festival
With Kapampangan Traveller and Just Janny.

My friend Jan Darren of Kapampangan Traveller comments on how the festival itself remains authentic, unlike similar festivals that in the recent years have lost its roots in favor of grand spectacle. Personally, I enjoyed the one week that we have stayed in General Nakar. As a small town, the celebrations were vibrant and fun and it was planned in a way that both locals and tourists can enjoy and partake in.

Here are some of the events at the Gapo at Palusong Festival 2023.

Street Dance Competition

We witnessed the exciting street dance competition, where locals from four dance groups in beautiful costumes showed off their fun dance moves. They carry props such as baskets, coconuts, and other farm items to show off the roots of the festival.

Gapo at Palusong Festival street dance
Gapo at Palusong Festival street dance
Gapo at Palusong Festival street dance
Gapo at Palusong Festival in General Nakar, Quezon

We had a great time following the parade, from the covered court past farm fields and residential houses to the open grounds in the municipal hall. There the groups did another performance for the competition proper.

Here is a short clip of the festival:

Coco Cooking Contest

Coconut is one of the products of General Nakar, with about 200,000 harvests annually. Coconut and coconut milk are therefore part of the kitchen staple and are used for various dishes.

Different barangay representatives joined the Coco Cooking Contest, where they had to make their own coconut-based main dish and dessert.

We get to taste every food presented to the judges. I’m already a fan of coconut milk in dishes so there is no need to convince me how great it is, but I was still surprised (and amazed) by the taste and creativity of the dishes prepared by the Nakarins.

Coco Cooking Contest - coconut dish

The winners for this content are the team from Barangay Banglos, presenting baranlosdish (a spicy vegetable and clam dish in coconut milk) and turon kalabuko (fried springroll with kalabasa, langka, and buko).

Enduro-Cross Challenge and KTM Rimba Raid Competition

Did you know that one of the popular activities in General Nakar includes motocross? The town has an endurance track and off-road trails perfect for adventure seekers.

The Enduro-Cross Challenge was held near the municipal hall and featured motorcycle competitors racing across the finish line while getting past obstacles.

Enduro Cross Challenge
Enduro-Cross Challenge.

Meanwhile, the KTM Rimba Raid Competition for Asia Qualifiers was held at the coastal area. Experienced motorcycle riders have to finish the 160-km race from the town proper to Dinigma, passing through different trails including rough roads, muddy tracks, and river crossings.

Other programs

Aside from these competitions, other events where held at the town proper including LGU Night, Sing and Dance Competition, and Champion Variety Show.

Where to stay in General Nakar

Plan your visit to General Nakar to see the annual Gapo at Palusong Festival. Here are the best accommodations in this town:

  • Tropikana Beach Resort. Modern beach resort with pool, featuring a secluded location perfect for comfortable and quiet vacations.
  • Mondy & Goldy’s Beach Resort. High-end beach resort with a pool with jacuzzi, comfortable rooms, and beachfront.
  • MRJ Beach Resort. Located right next to Mondy & Goldy’s, a budget-friendly modest beachfront resort for casual stays.
  • Kubo Hideaway Zone Eco Park. Quaint and homey resort with pool, ideal for nature lovers and budget tourists.

Great thanks to Jan Darren of Kapampangan Traveller and General Nakar Tourism Office for inviting me for the festival!

Have you seen the Gapo at Palusong Festival in General Nakar? Let us know your experience in the comment section below!

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