Showcasing the best of Negros Occidental

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By Ver F. Pacete

As I See It

Saturday, March 29, 2014

IN THE Philippine society, a fiesta is a thanksgiving event. We say “Thank you God” for the blessings. This is also an opportunity to display the colors of our cultural heritage. For many, this is a reunion of family members and friends. For the businessmen, this is a moment to rake in money. For the politicians, this is a favorable time to fish for voters.

Panaad sa Negros Festival 2014 is the fiesta of all fiestas for the Negrosanons. Our celebration is anchored on the theme, “Organik na Negros: Rising to the Challenge of Globalization in 2015.” The world will not come to an end in that year. Negrosanons are simply preparing for the possible alignments among countries when it comes to economics, education, agriculture, scientific invention and politics.

All the events will be held at Panaad Park and Stadium in Mansilingan, Bacolod City. Action will start on March 31 and will end on April 6. The 13 cities and the 19 municipalities will have tourism product display and agri-trade fair in their LGU pavilions. Being there is just like having a tour of Negros Occidental. You will see and buy what is in Negros tourism, trade, commerce and industry. You are there to see and be seen. Meeting people will convince you that you want to live longer.


Organic agriculture takes center stage with focus on flora and fauna. The agri food fair is convincing you that if you want to live longer and look beautiful, you have to become a patron of organic diet. If you are single, you will end up falling in love with a chef, with a gardener, or even with Gov. Freddie Marañon Jr., the number one advocate of this trend.

The festival dances bring us to our cultural roots. The choreographer would want to believe that our ancestors were merry-makers. We have exotic music and fantastic chants that drive the spirits in the dancers to shake, rattle and roll. The colorful costumes could be fantastic or simply a mélange from the organic thoughts of the choreographer. Anyway, if you are there in front of the arena just convince yourself that you have just arrived from the future.

The old time favorites, “rondalla and composo,” are made to blend with hip hop challengers but not in the same arena. Philippine folk dances remind us that they exist when girls were not wearing short shorts, and gentlemen were in the fad of wearing “camisa de Chino.” The most awaited event is “Lin-ay sang Negros” pageant. You see beautiful ladies in their hour glass figure, in their organic tribal attire, and later in their evening gown. Women made us realize that they only exist in planet earth. That could be the reason why we have to take good care of our planet.

To crown the week-long celebration, we find time to award the outstanding farmers, the fisherfolk, and the livestock raisers. These people support the backbone of our economy. Negros is not just sugar. The drumbeaters from towns and cities will thrill us with their drum drills and terrific sounds. They give surprises to their parents and grandparents. Teacher advisers gain certificates of merit for accompanying the children who would want dirty ice cream after the show.

Panaad festival is a dream, a promise and a reality. In Panaad grounds you will meet policemen, soldiers, celebrities, politicians, students, and professionals. All of them are eager to buy the dried fish of Cadiz, the pineapple from Salvador Benedicto, the peanuts of San Carlos, the lumpia of Silay, the “kuakoy” of Bago and most of them will eat at the seafood restaurants of the LGUs from south of Negros. (I could not mention all. Just go around.)

The competition is not just socio-cultural. There is also the battle of media giants. Rivalry of TV networks would be resolved on who are the celebrities (movie-TV idols) who would sing (or recite) and dance at Panaad stage. Just be careful with your children, many children have lost their parents during the celebrity nights. Panaad celebration is also a beer-soda war. Thousands of bottled drinks have been emptied in the name of friendship.

Lovers always find their way feeding each other. Their gustatory needs are filled in as they romantically enjoy the fireworks. The explosions and the sky show made them closer to each other. A long night walk to a final destination from Panaad grounds would be something to remember.
“Panaad” is a promise, a vow to be fulfilled. One Panaad celebration will reunite you to the next Panaad festivity. There is more fun in Panaad. We do it here in Negros Occidental, Western Visayas. Come and enjoy the fun. (You may find something funny also.)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 29, 2014.


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