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Photos courtesy of Art Mercado’s Facebook page


The city of San Pedro, Laguna, recently revived the Sampaguita Festival, just in time as the World Health
Organization (WHO) declared the end of COVID-19 as a global health emergency. Last May 1, the festival launched with a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by Laguna Governor Ramil Hernandez, Vice Governor Karen Agapay, San Pedro City Mayor Joseph Francis “Art” Mercado, and his wife, Mika.

Also present during the festival launch were Laguna 1st District Board Member Bong Bejasa, Councilors Bernadeth Olivares, Nina Almoro, Michael Casacop, Jude Solidum, Aldrin Gerrold Mercado, and Leslie Lu; and the City’s Police Chief Police Lieutenant Colonel (PLTCOL) Rolly Liegen.

“Ever since I was elected as mayor, along with my wife Mika, one of the main objectives of our administration has been to revive and strengthen the sampaguita industry in San Pedro City. With the help of several key persons, like Chief Farmer Engineer King Layola, we will surely accomplish this revival bit
by bit,” Mercado said in Tagalog, adding that the flower is what put their town on the map and is one of their town’s cultural heritage that they should celebrate.

As part of the festivities, Mercado launched the Sampaguita Nursery Farm in Rosario Complex in partnership with the Rosario Complex Homeowners Association. Aside from this, the six-day festival also included the opening of the Barangay Trade Fair, which featured local products; a kiteflying competition in front of the San Pedro City Hall; the Sampaguita Festival Fashion Show Gala Night, showcasing local fashion designers; and an entrepreneur showcase competition called “Shark Tank San Pedro” or the Sampaguita Product Business Proposal Competition at the Takara Hotel & Events Place.

The local government also unveiled a sampaguita monument in Barangay Nueva to commemorate
the town as the “Sampaguita Capital of the Philippines.” The plaque reads in Filipino, “The sampaguita (Jasminum Sambac) is a flower that grows in the Philippines. It is commonly used in our country as an offering to saints and honorable guests. It is also believed to symbolize purity, honesty, and hope.”
The Agos ng Musika (Waves of Music) music festival was held on the last night of the week-long event at Robinsons Galleria South. Rico Blanco headlined the concert along with other local acts, such as I Belong to the Zoo, G22, DJ CMart, and Lem David. Hosted by comedian Macoy Dubs and radio DJ Eva Ronda, the free concert was the highlight of Sampaguita Festival 2023.

In his Facebook post, Mayor Mercado shared that the goal of the concert was to feature talents and artists that were from or grew up in their town of San Pedro. Blanco said during the program, “In my entire career as an artist, this is the first time I was invited by the local government of San Pedro to hold a concert here.”

Mercado adds, “When we conceptualized the concert, our goal was really to get Rico Blanco as the main act because aside from the fact that he was a Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officer in this town, he has made a mark in our country’s music industry.”

The mayor also revealed that they aim to make the concert an annual event, which would feature more homegrown artists and will be open to other musical genres.

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