BACOLOD City Councilor Em Ang, chairperson of committee on tourism, said Wednesday, November 8, the Diwali Festival like the BacoLaodiat Festival is also gaining a lot of support and popularity.
Ang, who declared open this year’s 5th Diwali Festival in rites held at SMX Convention Center, said Bacolod is one of the very few cities in the Philippines that has a Diwali Festival celebrated every year.
This year’s theme is “Unity in Diversity.”
“It is already institutionalized in the city and it is now a regular annual affair and we hope to draw more and attract other visitors outside Bacolod," she said.
Ang noted that the only handicap of the festival is that they do not have a big local Filipino-Indian community unlike the Filipino-Chinese community in Bacolod.
She said they are thankful to the Indian community because they are relentless in asking the support from the local government to celebrate the festival.
“They took an initiative in the past years to come up with an event that has attracted and arouse the curiosity of the non-Indian about Diwali. A lot of people are now more aware of the Indian culture,” she said.
Diwali is a festival of lights and it is the biggest festival in India.
Ang said Diwali Festival helps a lot in terms of creating awareness and promoting tradition of the Filipino-Indian.
She said the local Indian community also contributed on the improvement of the city's economy since most of them were businessmen.
“They have stores in various areas and they are also helping our local community by conducting medical mission, outreach program among others," she added.
Councilor Cindy Rojas said the Diwali symbolizes the victory of life over darkness, good over evil, and hope over despair.
“We are thankful to the local Indian-community for organizing the festival for us to be aware and to be part of this beautiful celebration. The people of Bacolod will get to experience and see the beautiful culture of India,” she said.
Festival coordinator Haresh Chugani said they started the festival in 2013 and there are more than 100 Filipino-Indian families in Bacolod.
He said the City Government allocated P1.2 million for the five-day celebration.
Chugani, along with the Punjabi Khalsa Diwan directors, Councilors Ang and Rojas, City Tourism Officer Ma. Elma Gerasmo, executive assistant Benjamin Torre also led the opening of photo exhibit called Glimpse of India and the Influence on Asean Countries.
He said they will also have activities at the Bacolod public plaza and Robinsons Place Bacolod.
Other events include yoga, ayurveda, and holistic healing sessions on November 9 at the SM City Bacolod.
On November 10, the grand Diwali Festival Ball will be held at the SMX Convention Center, where notable Indian and other personalities in Bacolod will be recognized.
Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on November 09, 2017.
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