When in Western Visayas: Fiestas, food, and fun

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Monday, May 26, 2014


HOW do tourists experience the best of Western Visayas? Through its colorful fiestas, unique sights and destinations, and best of all, its signature cuisines, pasalubong treats and food products.

This array of tourism attractions were again highlighted in the 12th Fiestas in the City at SM City Iloilo events center last week, from May 19 to 24.

Every year in “Fiestas in the City,” the six provinces of Western Visayas —Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental—and two highly urbanized cities—Bacolod City and Iloilo City—showcase their colorful festivals, delicacies, arts and crafts, tourism attractions, and various cultural performances.

This project, a public-private partnership, was organized by SM City Iloilo, Department of Tourism-Region 6, and the Iloilo Tourism Officers Association.

This year, “Fiestas in the City” highlighted the Department of Tourism-Region 6's tourism campaign, "Experience Western Visayas First."

For a week, mallgoers at SM City Iloilo were treated to a showcase of the best of the six provinces and two cities, especially food specialty and “pasalubong” treats.

Tourism regional director Helen Catalbas noted that Western Visayas is known for its excellent food in terms of preparation, nutrition, and presentation, thus this should be highlighted.

“Each province has its own food specialty and pasalubong treats including Aklan’s ampao, the mango and mango products of Guimaras, the seafood of Capiz, the bandi of Antique, the original piaya of Negros Occidental, and the batchoy of Iloilo,” she said.

Catalbas stressed that food has become an important component of the tourism industry today.

“When host organizations are bidding, one of the items that they are presenting to attract convention participants is the food,” she added.

The weeklong event culminated yesterday with the parade of sagalas or festival queens from all over the region, which filled the mall with cheers and excitement. The parade of beauties was held in time for the Santacruzan, one of the activities of Flores de Mayo (Flowers of May).

The participation of Negros Occidental and Bacolod City was supported by the Association of Tourism Officers of Negros Occidental (ATONO), the City of La Carlota and the Municipality of Manapla. (With PIA report)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on May 26, 2014.

Lifestyle

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