THE waves may be calling from where you are seated today, but the tempting colorful fiesta of all fiestas is definitely howling even bigger.
It's Panaad sa Negros season once more, and to the excitement of many, the pavilions are open to delight fiesta goers with food, sights and sounds.
A quick tour in the iconic Panaad grounds will allow visitors to experience the kind of culture we have as Negrenses – laid back but charming, appealing, exciting. We may have seen these markers since its establishment in 1998 but the child in us is still more than elated to check it this time of the year.
Maybe, we are so attached to the "promise" or "vow" that is "Panaad," especially that local tourism has become more vigorous in "selling" experiences rather than food or places, a winning formula that has registered a good increase in local coffers.
More than ever on its 24 years since its humble beginnings at the Capitol Lagoon grounds with nipa huts and improvised tents positioned as destination booths, Panaad has scored to champion the causes of our farmers, the agricultural sector, the artists and the many key players of economic growth.
Today, we have included significant attractions like the Bamboo Village that houses a variety of bamboos and the endless by products stemming out from what is considered as the world’s most "resilient" grass. Along with beer gardens and inasal alleys, we have festival costume exhibits, an area for breeders, fowl growers and a place devoted for accessories and furniture makers.
In the Murcia Pavillon, a fitting caption would summarize what Panaad is all about today: “Where Gold is Green.” Indeed, our treasures are in the form of our crops, an intensified food security program, a strong dedication for grassroots development on culture, arts and entrepreneurship, our ingenious laborers. In this side of Earth, gold has become green.
I am reminded of the cause of Environmental Watchers from a web dialogue in the past: "We live in a rapidly changing world that is transforming before our very eyes. A multitude of deep and pressing concerns such a global inequality, climate change, biodiversity loss, unrestrained urbanization and destructive forms of economic growth are calling for our immediate attention. All of us are called to actively be part of this civilization effort to co-create a healthier and more fulfilling world for all."
We should rally towards a more sustainable environmental protection program that will prolong life. Our trees, verdant mountains and lines of streams are protected more than ever. The diversity of flora and fauna are placed under a kind of protection program that adheres to standards and responsive to the call of humanity.
The new is gold is covered and planted at the bosom of the thick soils. The seeds grow in abundance and the luster that is the morning dew. Gold has turned to green, for as long as our concern is as genuine as the kiss of the sun, the environment shall prosper, keeping the race alive.
Our hearts should be in gratitude to a Master builder that has touched its mountains with his golden hands, thus, turning all corners green and beautiful. This Panaad season, let us remind ourselves to champion the environmental programs of our localities. As one island, we pause to say this prayer about our natural wonders:
"I can cry a river of tears
I can cry for the release of fears.
I can pray a prayer every day
I can pray for the world to change and can be saved.
I can see that we all do care
I can see mountains of trees that are becoming bare.
I can hear about our ponds and lakes going dry
and the oceans heating up with Global Warming despair.
I can hear about the animals and people with diseases and no homes left that's so unfair.
I can feel the sun getting hotter than ever as my brown skin starts to blister and peel.
I can feel our earth rumble with volcanoes, tornados and hurricanes and earthquakes.
I can voice out my concerns and there are so many more things that are at stake.
I can voice out my thoughts as I pray for God to let the Earth begin its healing
For this is our world that we live and make before it's too late."*
Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on April 25, 2017.
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