Silay City: After the Negros Trade Fair

THE recent Negros Trade Fair (NTF) at Glorietta Activity Center in Makati City held from September 27 to October 1 was a success. It was anchored on the theme “Food for Thought.” It brought forward the best of Negros… food, trade, commerce, industry, tourism, and culture. ANP members went home with light hearts and heavy pockets.

NTF organizers provided Silay City a role as special participant. Mayor Mark Golez provided a stage backdrop featuring the heritage house of Maria Golez (now RCBC) and the steam locomotive (iron dinosaur) of Hawaiian- Philippine Company (HPCo). Silay City Night on September 27 was well attended… national leaders, local officials, investors, tourism industry leaders, bankers, businessmen, and showbusiness personalities.

Mayor Golez thanked and invited them to come to Silay and invest or go there as tourists. The program was well-crafted and the reception area for Cocktail Party was well managed. We would like to thank Asenso Silay Foundation president, Dolly Lopez, for being there with Silay’s “First Mom” Tess Golez, who was at the reception line welcoming the guests.

Silay best food and other delicacies were served to the visitants.

The humble cocktail party was an opportunity for the Silay City officials to meet Metro Manila-based investors and the investors who have already their business in Silay, or about to start business.

National officials were there (see our SunStar Bacolod, September 29 issue) to discover big things happening or about to happen in Silay. NTF organizers were also there to talk on future ventures with Silay City Government as partner.

Mayor Bing Leonardia of Bacolod City has a “lengthy dialog” with Mayor Golez on the possible fusion of activities in the BTS (Bacolod-Talisay-Silay) Tourism District as started by the Local Government Support Program for Local Economic Development (LGSP-LED).

After Silay Night, the members of Silay Team stayed up to the closing night (October 1)… Executive Assistant Andy Javelona (team leader) with Sharon Golez Lim (secretary to the mayor), Achilles Corteza III (recreation and welfare services officer), Gerle Hilado Sulmaca (supervising tourism operations officer), Ma. Milagros Asuncion Malijan Sison (local economic investment promotions officer), and yours truly as consultant on Sociology.

We were given the opportunity to promote Silay hometown delicacies and to give early publicity for Silay’s “Kaon Ta Festival” (on its second year) to be held again at Balay Negrense Museum (Victor Gaston Heritage House) on November 4 and 5. That coincides with the commemoration of Cinco de Noviembre 1898 Revolution. For Negrosanons, this Negros Day is our Independence Day.

The more or less 40 participants in “Kaon Ta Festival” sent some best delicacies to represent our “hometown kalan-unon” at NTF 2017. The best sellers (among others) include piaya, lubid-lubid, ugoy-ugoy, butter cookies, paborita, señorita, caramel tart, mango tart, dulce gatas, masapan de leche, guava jelly, and muscovado bars. We brought with us also the business cards of our entrepreneurs from Silay for easy contact and business connection.

Tim Ticar and Ping Jimenia of the Department of Tourism in Region 6 made their official proposal that businessmen from Iloilo will buy Silay products to be sold during the tourism fair in Iloilo. Some “balikbayans” are interested to bring more “lubid-lubid” to America, and the Silay homemade piaya baked in stone oven is sought after by delicacy connoisseurs. This could be the right time for our Silay economic sector to work hand-in-hand with our delicacy producers.

Maria Arleen Joy Ogan, executive assistant of Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., has encouraged the Provincial Tourism Office and the Public Affairs Division to come up right away with possible tour packages focusing on the food of Silay and other towns and cities. Silay food has been given the priority because the airport is here. We need to promote “breakfast in Silay” for the passengers arriving in early flights.

Our Tourism Office will work this out. The list of restaurants providing early breakfast should be submitted to the Provincial Capitol, including their menus and price for a “food road trip” around Silay. Gina Martin Bautista (former SRA administrator) has already contacted me that she is bringing a group of sisters and teachers for a heritage and food tour in Silay on October 25.

Thank you very much Negros Trade Fair for giving Silay the opportunity to showcase its “Food For Thought.” Silay will always be your partner in “Kaon Ta” events. When you think of heritage food, come to Silay!
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