There’s no historical evidence indicating national hero Dr. Jose Rizal ever set foot in Bicol region, tasted the pineapples or attended a Mass there.

But on this propitious day of June 19, 2011—Rizal’s 150th birth anniversary, four vital events seemed to have conspired in Daet to make the national hero’s natal day four times the fun as it celebrated the 16th Pinyasan Festival, the town’s 430th founding day, and the quadrecentennial of the Roman Catholic Diocese.

Daet Pinyasan Festival

Daet Pinyasan Festival kalesa parade

Inspired by the world’s sweetest and smallest pineapple variety, formosa, Pinyasan highlights Daet’s natural charm and its role as trading post of the sought-after tropical fruit. The event’s highlight is the street dance and float parade which featured dancers dressed in colorful pineapple-themed costumes depicting the pineapple-growing agro-industry of Camarines Norte.

Formosa pineapple variety

Formosa, or the “queen” pineapple abounds in Daet and the neighboring towns of San Lorenzo Ruiz, San Vicente, Vinzons, Talisay and Basud because of its rich soil and vegetation, and sold across the country because of its sweet taste.

The coastal town was founded by Spanish explorer Juan de Salcedo when he arrived in Daet on June 15, 1581 and named the village as such because of its friendly people.

In marking Rizal 150, some 1,500 youths and students joined the wreath laying ceremony at the First Rizal Monument, the first memorial marker built in memory of the martyred national hero. Lolo Pepe would surely be delighted if he was alive as the “Hope of the Fatherland” took the lead in the auspicious event.

Construction of the First Rizal Monument commenced on Dec. 30, 1898 in compliance with the 1898 decree of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, President of the Philippine Republic, to observe Dec. 30 as a national holiday in the “Free Philippines.”

The monument was built through the financial contributions of the townsfolk of Daet Camarines Norte, and the Bicol region, with Lt. Colonels Antonio Sanz and Ildefonso Alegre of the Republican Army leading the undertaking.

The town concluded its grand celebrations last June 24 with the observance of the Feast of St. John the Baptist, one of the first three parishes of the Diocese of Daet founded by Franciscan missionaries in 1611 led by Fr. Francisco de Valdemoro.

St John Church of Daet

The parish, along with the Candelaria Church in Paracale and the St. Peter the Apostle in Vinzons, were among the first Catholic missions to be organized by Franciscans and formed core of the Diocese, which was originally envisioned by Spanish authorities as the seat of the Catholic Church in the Bicol region.

The establishment of the Diocese came a century earlier than the religious devotion to the Naga City-based Our Lady of Peñafrancia, Bicol’s regional patroness which only marked its 300th year in 2010.

Mayor Tito Sarion said the series of events is part of the run-up to Visit Daet Year 2012 which will welcome balikbayans from various parts of the country and the world in a grand reunion and trade and tourism fair.

He said that VDY 2012 will showcase the town as an emerging hub of eco- and heritage because of its diverse travel destinations.

Daet is home to Bagasbas Beach, birthplace of surfing in the Philippines; the 1917 Pabico Mansion, the town’s de facto heritage house; the Daet Heritage Center, the municipal museum and dedicated to National Artist Fernando Amorsolo; Museo Bulawan, the provincial museum, and the spic and span Provincial Capitol Complex.

Daet Heritage Center

As the capital town and commercial center of Camarines Norte, it is also the transit point to the province’s tourist attractions.

Getting There:

  1. Board a bus bound for Daet at Philtranco Terminal in Malibay, Pasay City; Superlines and Daet Lines along Edsa cor. New York St. in Cubao, or at the bus terminal bound for the south fronting Ali Mall.
  2. Fly to Naga City via Air Philippines or Cebu Pacific. From the airport, take a taxi or any public utility going to the central van terminal fronting SM City Naga for your van going to Daet.
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