THE nine-day of festivities in the 25th Panaad sang Negros Festival ended Sunday, April 22, with total sales of P23.908 million, surpassing last year's income of P18.434 million.
Festival Director Ma. Lina Sanogal said sales at the local government unit pavilions were pegged at P12.292 million; concessionaires/kiosks with P4.708 million; livestock/dairy fair, P2.915 million; eco-garden show, P 1.958 million; food park, P1.349 million; and organic market, P683,142.
On the first day of the festival, which was on April 14, the total sales for the day were P2.188 million; Day 2, P2.254 million; Day 3, P2.010 million; Day 4, P2.597 million; Day 5, P2.934 million; Day 6, P2.710 million; Day 7, P4.305 million; Day 8, P3.132 million; and last day, P1.773 million.
Sanogal said there were a lot of domestic and foreign tourists who came for the Panaad festival.
“We invited people to come for the festival. There were a lot of foreign tourists who came to join our festival. There were also who came from Davao, Cebu, Iloilo, Pampanga and the biggest of all is our people in the province and even in the Negros Island. Panaad festival has always been coming in of people to the province to renew family ties and friendships and to develop new ones,” she said.
“Basically, as we say, we have fulfilled our promise to come together every year because Panaad was born out of a crisis in the sugar industry in the 1980s. But never again that we put all our eggs in one basket. We vowed that we will diversify and now we can. That we are not just into sugar, we have our organic agriculture wherein we are even the number one or the leader in the country since 2012. We are also the biggest solar power producer as of last year. We also produced biofuels from sugarcane,” she said.
“We have attained that vision of the Regional Development Council of Region 6 for Negros Occidental to be the center of renewable energy. We are into Information Technology (IT) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) as we have been declared as the Center for Excellence,” Villar said.
Villar added that the Provincial Government has even put up a Cyber Centre.
They have a Negros Occidental Language and Information Technology Center where they train their human resources to be able to go into employment with IT-BPO industry. Right now, they have a very diverse source of income or economic activities.
“We also have very strong tourism like the Mambukal Resort and the different local government units have their respective their flagship tourism facilities. We have been declared as the Best Tourism-Oriented Province,” Villar added.
Last year, the Panaad Festival was declared as Hall of Famer in the Pearl Awards for Best Tourism Practices and Best Tourism Festival by the Department of Tourism-Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines.
“It is a fitting tribute to our 25th year. It is a gift that for 25 years, we are recognized nationwide, the reason why a lot of people are coming here. In our eco-garden, there were gardeners from Visayas and Mindanao who came to join us,” Villar said.
"So many other people came here. This festival is for all of us to celebrate what we have attained and to continue to give thanks to God for the blessings that He has given us," she added.
She said: “We have gone very far from our history of poverty and malnutrition. The kind of people who are coming is not just in Negros but in the different part of the country and even abroad because they want to benchmark with us on how we come together as one big festival. When we started, we only have six cities and several towns. Right now, we are 13 cities with Bacolod City as our capital city and 19 municipalities."
The Panaad Festival is a mirror of what is happening in the province, she said.
“We are gaining so much in terms of economic development. You can see it in the festival. From the original nipa and bamboo booths, right now we have two-storey pavilions that showed that we have gone so much in terms of development.”
"What we have here is the microcosm of the LGUs and its kind of governance," she said, adding that this is the festival of all our people.
“We will continue to pray that we will be united despite the diverse pre-occupations we have, we are still celebrating the gains of our socio-economic activities in Negros Occidental,” she said.