Olsim: Kape shi La Trinidad

“PARA kanino ka bumabangon?” asked one coffee ad. After a good 10-minute walk from home, I reached for the biometrics to register myself that day. The machine beeped “thank you” for the poke as I mechanically followed the flock. The “free” coffee beckons employees and clients alike -- the work day starts with a coffee and a smile.

Although La Trinidad is known for its strawberries, vegetables, and flowers, we cannot deny that coffee will soon give them a serious competition. A couple of years ago, the number of coffee trees in our humble town rose to 94,088, producing about 35,240 metric tons of coffee beans. Such is a promising industry to the 755 coffee farmers of La Trinidad.

The potential is so obvious that Manila-based private companies like "Henry & Sons" took the initiative to partner with La Trinidad in promoting the town’s coffee industry. This is aside from the government’s other investments to support projects such as DTI’s and BSU’s shared facility for coffee post-harvest processing.

Last year, the La Trinidad Coffee Festival ordinance was passed, institutionalizing the celebration of a “La Trinidad Coffee Festival” every February of every year – a huge step in recognizing the contribution of our coffee farmers, not only to the town’s economy, but to every great morning experience by coffee lovers like us.

The Ordinance provided an annual funding of 100,000, and a set of activities which includes a Coffee Summit or Conference, Barista Training, Coffee Cupping, and other activities approved like product discovery and coffee farmer’s forum. The Coffee Festival Executive Committee scheduled the activities on Feb. 27-28, 2018 at the Municipal Gym.

Although we concede to not expecting an explosion of activities, time constraints and funding suggests that we make the Coffee Festival simple but meaningful…for both the coffee players, and lovers.

***

The line, “La Trinidad’s Strawberries Forever…” reaped 14 votes from the officials and department heads of the town, to cement its destiny as 2018’s La Trinidad Strawberry Festival theme. This is a lot of times better than starting with the word "sustaining," "making," "elevating," and "repeating."

The Strawberry Festival Executive Committee approved the activities specifically provided in the 2011 Strawberry Festival Ordinance like: Multi Cultural celebrations, Parades (Street dance, Drum and lyre, and Floats), Agro-fair, Fun Run and Duting tan Dukto, Job fair, Artistic and Musical events, Mr. and Ms. La Trinidad, Biggest and Sweetest Strawberries, Flower Arrangement contest, Barangay night, Sports events, and other Municipal and Community-led events approved by the SFExecomm.

The valley’s Strawberry Festival celebrations evolved from a simple town fiesta in 1981, honoring its patron saint, Saint Joseph. It has undergone innovations throughout the years: changes in name - Panaspulan tan Pansadshahan; expansion of activities; and the enactment of a Strawberry Festival Ordinance in 2011. Although it has undergone changes, the aims of the Festival are essentially the same: to showcase the strawberry as our One-Town-One-Product (OTOP) and to foster and rekindle ties between and among local and foreign folks alike. It is also an avenue to promote the town’s many other products, and celebrates our cultural diversity and richness.
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