IT WAS a serendipitous meeting with Board Member Andrew Montelibano at the Provincial Tourism Office last Monday (July 29). He is excited in his membership in the Tourism Committee headed by Board Member Araceli Somosa. "We need to bring in new concepts and visions in our tourism programs."
BM Montelibano continued with enthusiastic voice, "If our Panaad festival is the best, then we have to gather the best performing cultural artists and form a Negros Occidental Cultural Group under the provincial government. Our best performers will represent the province in the national and international festivals. When I was mayor of Murcia, I wanted to send our performers to 'Aliwan' but we had no money."
Any Negros-based cultural worker will agree with BM Montelibano. We are showcasing and selling our products in Manila for the world every year during the Negros Trade Fair. We have participated in national and international tourism events. We displayed our organic products in the trade centers of the world. Kabataang Silay Rondalla has been to China, Scotland, Singapore and Taiwan. Recently, Masskara Festival dancers performed in San Francisco, California.
As part of our "Abanse Negrense, Abanse Turismo," the idea of BM Montelibano should be nurtured. We can form a Negros Cultural Group to be managed by a qualified artistic director who will utilize the excellent skills of our best choreographers. Our Panaad winners could be utilized as dancers, singers, musicians, and visual artists. What we need is simply put our acts together for best results.
Thank you for that call BM Montelibano. I am sure that Gov. Bong will give you his full support. You need the "yes" of your fellow BMs for a beautiful legislation with a reasonable budget. Negrosanons should be culturally bonded to their province and their communities of origin.
Our future Negros Cultural Group will have exciting performance based on our heritage and history. It is always believed that cultural customs are the landmarks of Negros that should be conserved if we do not want to lose our roots and the foundation of our being Negrosanons.
BM Montelibano simply wants to tell us that we have to redefine our culture by featuring the best Negros performing artists who will give meaning to our historico-cultural aspiration that sometimes we have neglected because of commerce and politics. Negrosanons should be made conscious in preserving and conserving their culture.
Our tourism is already there but we have to understand also the interdependency of culture and tourism. Both have to grow up together with the same nourishment. No one will outlive the other.