The colors of tourism

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By Ver F. Pacete

As I See It

Saturday, September 22, 2012


THE Negros Occidental Multi-Purpose Center (NOMPAC) was brewing hot, really hot. The hotness could have been created by tourism officers, stakeholders and friends who purposely went there for the opening of the Tourism Month celebration. The sweltering Monday started the jaunt anchored on the theme, “Tourism and Sustainable Energy: Powering Sustainable Development.” Everyone at the odeum was really hot.

Gustatory delights took center stage as Gov. Freddie Marañon Jr. officially opened the Negros Cuisine Festival with his constant NEGROS FIRST agenda. Oliver Dondonay, the festival provocator, ordered for the parade of participants coming from the 13 cities and 19 municipalities of Occidental Negros. Mouth-watering comestibles, traditionally cooked or prepared with foreign influence, were laid down on the long tables for everybody to admire and eat—fried calamansi, seafood quesadillas, shrimp balls, chili crabs, danguit frito, beef caldereta, kare-kare, morcon, swordfish kebabs, la putanesca, et cetera.

As always, the Silay ubod lumpia and piaya were the best sellers. They evaporated ahead. The NOMPAC hot air drained a portion of my small intestine. I preferred to harvest rambutan, marang, santol and crisp guavas from the Talisay City table. My friend, Renea Ferrer, was simply amused at the sudden change in my appetite.

The afternoon delight was a tour guiding competition from the 3S’s – Sagay, Sipalay and Silay. The participants were the tourist policemen. They displayed their talents in speaking, acting, informing and proper enunciation. After all, tour guiding is all about those. PO3 Joemarie Lachica from Silay PNP Intel was the champion. Bang! This guy is a multi-awarded sharp shooter. His tour guiding coach is his wife.

The Tuesday sortie was on tourism quiz for college and secondary school students. The venue was the auditorium of my Alma Mater, Colegio de San Agustin. Thanks for the help of Dean Mary Rose De Los Reyes and Ms. Belenda Berbenzana.

The Wednesday TQ for elementary pupils was hosted by West Negros College. Everybody was comfortable because Dean George Zulueta, my buddy, was there to facilitate everything.

The tourism essay writing contest was hosted by the University Negros Occidental–Recoletos. The room was cool and the contestants got the intellectual stimulation. My idol, Ms. Jeanne Contrevida (tourism adviser), invited me three days ago not to miss the event being concocted. That was the International Food Expo.

She gave us a free ticket to Japan, France, Italy, USA, Korea and China. The ticket was a meal ticket; so that was eating again. Each table was attended by good-looking students representing different nationalities.

The Japanese ladies seduced my appetite to try their Okinawa fritters. The Korean peeress wanted me to taste her pancake and that was extremely good. The Chinese sweetie tempted me to partake of her congee and fried wonton skin dipped in sweet and sour sauce. The Italian damsels were really aggressive. They made a push for their penne pasta. It was heavenly! I enjoyed—more than enjoyed—the cheddar cheese sauce. In short, I tasted all and ended them with a shot of lemonade from America!

My idol introduced me to the wonder preceptors of UNO-R: Helen Jill Mattus, international cuisine expert; April Marie Gonzalez, Asian cuisine expert; Janice Lim, head of Hospitality Management and Tourism; Carlo Coloso, adviser on Event Management; John Emerson Sanchez, in-charge of bartending; and Dara Soriano, another expert on Asian cuisine.

Congratulations! Our tourism partners thrive because there is fun there. Negros tourism is more fun because we don’t ask what our province can do for us. We do what we don’t ask.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on September 22, 2012.

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