Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco of the Department of Tourism (DOT) has expressed support in promoting tourism development in Negros Occidental province as she lauded the return of the Panaad sa Negros Festival after a three-year hiatus on Monday afternoon.
“I’m very grateful to the provincial government for inviting me to witness the story of the Negrense through the Panaad sa Negros Festival. I expect that this will highlight the heritage, the culture, the talent and the life and times of this beautiful province,” Frasco told reporters on the sidelines of the festival’s opening at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Barangay Mansilingan here.
Frasco was welcomed by local officials led by Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez at the start of the week-long event dubbed the “festival of all festivals” participated in by the 32 cities and municipalities in the province.
The festival’s name, “Panaad”, is the Hiligaynon word for “vow” or “promise.”
The Tourism chief said her presence shows the full support of the DOT to the efforts of Negros Occidental for tourism development in Western Visayas region.
“We are very excited to highlight the richness of the culture and heritage of this province, the deliciousness of the food, the talent and artistry of its local artisans and makers as well as the beauty of your nature-based destinations,” she added.
Other special guests during the opening ceremony include Senators Francis Tolentino and Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go.
In his message, Lacson said this year’s festival, themed “The Promise Renewed”, presents a deeper meaning after what the Negrenses went through the past three years, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic and the destruction caused by Typhoon Odette.
“After the manifold crises we went through, our promise to the Negrenses and the province must necessarily be renewed as circumstances continue to change and evolve,” he added.
Lacson pointed out that 30 years since its inception, the Panaad sa Negros “continues to be the embodiment of unity among Negrenses and our 32 local government units. (LGUs).”
“(It) is the only one of its kind in the country. Yes, there are other festivals that are being participated by different provinces, towns, and cities, but it is only our Panaad that boasts of a permanent venue, with permanent structures showcasing the best of each and every LGU of the province,” the governor said.
Aside from the displays of the LGU pavilions, this year’s festivity also features the “Best of Negros Products” Trade Fair, Food Alley, Livelihood Village (Organic Village), Bamboo Negrense, Aton Ini! (Bamboo Village), and Provincial Veterinary Office Exhibit.
The much-anticipated Festival Dance Competition will be held on April 18 while the Lin-ay sang Negros pageant night, on April 21. (PNA)