THE Provincial Government of Negros Occidental started eyeing the Hall of Fame in the Pearl Awards Best Tourism Event of the year as the Panaad sa Negros Festival came to a close Sunday, April 30.
Provincial Planning and Development Coordinator Ma. Lina Sanogal, Panaad executive director, said the province is aiming for a third consecutive award, after winning in 2014 and 2015, to be elevated in the Hall of Fame.
The annual search is organized by the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines and the Department of Tourism. It recognizes exceptional practices, projects, and innovations in the Philippine tourism arena in the past years.
Dubbed as “festival of all festivals,” Panaad featured the festivals of the 13 cities and 19 towns in Negros Occidental from April 22 to 30. It also showcased an array of themed pavilions of the 32 localities that highlights their history, arts, culture, commerce, trade and industry.
Provincial Tourism Officer Cristine Mansinares said the festivals around the country compete every year for the award, and they submit an entry.
The province needs one more recognition to be declared as Hall of Fame awardee, she said.
“If Negros Occidental wins, we will be exempted from the competition,” Mansinares said.
She noted that the only Hall of Famer in the provincial festival category is the La Laguna Festival of Laguna.
Negros Occidental will be the second should it win once more, she added.
The annual Pearl Awards will be held in Iloilo City on the first week of October.
Bigger in 2018
Sanogal, in her speech, said: “As we close our 24th edition, we also open the planning season for our silver edition in 2018,” as she vowed it would be bigger and better next year as the festival celebrates its 25th year.
She said Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. already instructed them “to really prepare early” for next year’s celebration scheduled on April 14 to 22.
Sanogal said there would be an immediate assessment of the festival with the Governor’s Office staff, and there will be an assessment with all the coordinators of all local government units next week.
“And then we will already plan for the silver edition,” she added.
Moreover, Sanogal said the Capitol is planning to invite other provincial festivals next year “to benchmark with us.”
“Maybe we can do an open category for the Festival Dances Competition so we would know if we could be at par with other famous festivals in the country like Sinulog (of Cebu City), Dinagyang (of Iloilo City),” Sanogal added.
She said Negros Occidental is the only province that has a permanent structure for its local government units to showcase their best offerings.
“This festival is a venue for all Negrenses to come together and celebrate the goodness of the Lord,” she said, adding that “we have come very far in terms of development...We continue to enjoy this prestige because of the hardwork of all Negrenses.”