BACOLOD CITY—Thousands of Negrenses converged at the Panaad Park and Stadium to kick off the 25th year celebration of the Panaad sa Negros Festival over the weekend.
The opening program was held at the stadium at 4 p.m. with Assistant Secretary Ricojudge Janvier Echiverri of the Department of Interior and Local Government as the guest of honor and speaker.
Echiverri came as representative of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
Echiverri, in his speech, said the Panaad Festival is where the Negrense showcases “their culture, artistry and hospitality.”
He added upon seeing the smiles on the faces of the crowd, the “warmth of the people here is the province’s gem.”
“One thing the Negros must be proud of is how the Negrenses manifest their hospitality, not just to their fellow Negrosanon but also to the tourists,” he told the crowd.
He said the Negrenses exemplify the Filipino’s most regarded character of friendliness, hospitality and genuine concern. “This distinct character of Negrenses are what the people in our world needs,” Echiverri said.
Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. declared the official opening of this year’s festival themed “[email protected]
: The Promise Fulfilled”.
It was preceded by a motorcade at 2 p.m. from the Provincial Capitol grounds that passed along the main streets of Bacolod City to Panaad Park and Stadium in Barangay Mansilingan.
Dubbed the “Festival of all Festivals,” Panaad, which means promise in Hiligaynon, is an annual celebration participated by all 19 towns and 13 cities of Negros Occidental, including its capital Bacolod City.
On Saturday morning, after a thanksgiving mass, Marañon and Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, with Board Members Salvador Escalante and Valentino Miguel Alonso, and Provincial Planning and Development Officer Ma. Lina Sanogal, festival executive director, led the ringing of the bell to signal the start of the nine-day festival.
The top provincial officials then proceeded to the ribbon-cutting ceremonies for various exhibits and fairs, including the Festival Costume Exhibit, Organic Village, Negros First Food Park, Livestock and Dairy Fair, Eco-Garden Show, Trade Fair and Exhibit, and Bamboo Village.
The Livestock and Dairy Fair of the Provincial Veterinary Office featured the annual “Lechonaad,” which showcased roasted pigs and chickens.
Meanwhile, the afternoon program also included the raising of the Panaad and the local government units’ banners led by Sanogal and Board Member Victor Javellana.
The opening program was followed by the Best of Festival Dance Competition and the GMA Kapuso Night, which featured Kapuso stars Mike Tan, Martin del Rosario, Kate Valdez, and Enrico Cuenca
More than 1,098 policemen, soldiers, other law enforcers and volunteers have been deployed to secure the festival, including 828 policemen and 244 personnel from the Philippine Army, Bureau of Fire Protection, Bacolod Traffic Authority Office, rescue units, and civilian volunteer groups.