A festival and a challenge

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By Danny B. Dangcalan

A Walk in the Park

Monday, March 17, 2014

TWO weeks from now, our province will celebrate the annual Panaad sa Negros Festival.

Panaad (Hiligaynon for “vow and its fulfillment”) is considered the “festival of all festivals” in this side of the country, being a convergence of the different festivals of the 13 cities and 19 municipalities of Negros Occidental.

The week-long Panaad Festival is a thanksgiving celebration for the good life that Negrenses have been blessed with all these years.


Now on its 21st year, Panaad Festival will be held on March 31 to April 6 at the 25-hectare Panaad Park and Stadium in Barangay Mansilingan, Bacolod City.

As always, Panaad is expected to be a grand showcase of pomp and pageantry that Negrenses are known for.

During the opening ceremonies at 4 p.m. of March 31, the different local governments (LGUs) will present their respective festivals in the Festival Dances Competition at the Panaad Stadium.

A major feature of the Panaad Festival is the showcase of 32 pavilions of each city and municipality, designed as either replicas of either their own municipal or city hall, or the famous product it is known for—thus, in visiting the Panaad Park at this time of the year seems like a virtual tour of the whole province in just a few hours.

These pavilions also display their unique crafts and produce, most of which are for sale, as well as their rich heritage, arts and culture, and lifestyles.

Another major event is the Lin-ay sang Negros (Lady of Negros), where festival queens of 32 LGUs compete for the coveted crown of being the province’s fairest. This year, the Lin-ay pageant will be held on April 4, a Friday, 7 p.m. at the Panaad Stadium.

This year’s theme is “Organik na Negros: Rising to the Challenge of Globalization in 2015!” Panaad executive director Ma. Lina Sanogal says the theme focuses on the promotion of organic agriculture in Negros as an answer to the challenges of 2015 and beyond when tariffs for imported products, such as sugar, are lowered because of the implementation of the Asean Free Trade Area (Afta)-Common Effective Preferential Treatment.

For sugar, which is the main product of our province, tariffs on Asean sugar entering the country dropped from 38 percent in 2011, to 28 percent in 2012, 18 percent in 2013, 10 percent in 2014, and will only become 5 percent by 2015.

The province is bent on producing more organic muscovado sugar as this is more in demand in the world market, Sanogal says, thus it wouldn’t suffer as much under the Afta agreement.

The province will also boost its swine and livestock industry. The gamefowl industry is the next important industry in our province, next to sugar. The livestock industry will get a much-needed support from the World Bank—Philippine Rural Development Program. Of the P400 million that the World Bank is giving to Western Visayas, P400 million will go to Negros Occidental and a big portion of this amount will be used for the development of the livestock industry.

Other highlights of the Panaad Festival include GMA Kapuso Night on March 31; Latin Dance Sports, Folk Dances Competition, and ABS-CBN “M.O.R.” Show on April 2; Tesda Livelihood Skills Olympics on April 3; ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Fiesta Caravan on April 5; and Drum and Bugle Competition and Drumbeating Showcase on April 6.

For complete schedule of activities, visit the website of the Negros Occidental provincial government at www.negros-occ.gov.ph.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 17, 2014.


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