DUBBED as the “festivals of all festivals,” the 24th Panaad sa Negros features the colorful and jubilant festivals of 13 towns and 19 municipalities of one of the biggest provinces of the Philippines.
The annual festivity captures the essence of Negros Occidental as it brings together all the cities and municipalities in a week-long merry-making and trade fairs showcasing their heritage and tradition at the 25-hectare Panaad Park and Stadium in the province's capital, Bacolod City.
Speaking before a crowd of about 4,000 on the opening of the festival Saturday, Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. said that he hopes local and international tourists witnessing the festival this year will experience the brand of Negrense hospitality that would lure them to visit the province again.
Elated by the huge turnout of the revelers at the opening of the festival, the governor said he is thankful to all Negrenses for the support they showed by patronizing Panaad sa Negros every year.
As if nostalgic, the governor said he didn't expect that the annual festival will be successful 24 years after its conception at Provincial Capitol Lagoon in Bacolod.
Like the governor, third district Representative Alfredo Benitez said Panaad sa Negros is indeed a huge success.
Benitez said Panaad is also a showcase of the locally produced products, hence, the participation of all local government units is encouraged.
Among the officials who attended the opening rites were Mayors Evelio Leonardia of Bacolod City, Mark Golez of Silay City, Neil Lizares of Talisay, Isidro Zayco of Kabankalan City, Alfredo Marañon III of Sagay City, Manuel Zamora of Escalante City (acting mayor), Jose Benito Alonso of Pontevedra, Richard Jaojoco of Toboso, Andrew Montelibano of Murcia, Marvin Malacon of E.B. Magalona, Cicero Borromeo of Candoni, John Rey Tabujara of Cauayan, Rhumyla Mangilimutan of La Castellana, Jilson Tubillara of San Enrique, Enrique Miravalles of Valladolid and Joselito Malabor of Isabela.
Also present was Abang-Lingkod Representative Stephen Paduano and other government officials.
Meanwhile, Tourism Undersecretary Silvino Tejada noted that the "atmosphere" at the festival site was different compared to other festivals he had attended, so far.
Tejada said that only Panaad Festival can bring all 13 cities and 19 towns together to feature 32 festivals of Negros Occidental.
He said it is good to know that Negrenses were able to preserve its rich history, culture, trade, agriculture and tourism through the years.
The festival kicked off with the ribbon cutting ceremonies for the Panaad Tourism, Agri-Trade Fair and Exhibits, Organik na Negros Agri-Fest and Agri-Clinic, Livestock and Dairy Fair, Eco-Garden Show, Solid Waste Management Advocacy, Exhibit and Trade Show by the United Architects of the Philippines, Bamboo Innovation Centre, and the Negros Island Photo Exhibit and Festival Costume Display which followed after a mass.
The opening ceremonies was capped with the Festival Dances Competition and fireworks display. (MPE)
Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on April 24, 2017.
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