THE 31st Negros Trade Fair held last September 14-18 at Glorietta Activity Center in Makati City simply proves that the best of Negros could always occupy center stage.
Team Silay was there to share the action, passion, and fashion.
It was Ina Gaston, ANP president, who commissioned Maricar Dabao to visit Mayor Mark Golez in his office to convince the “soltero” mayor of Silay to take a booth for the Negros Trade Fair to promote the cultural heritage of Silay, the hometown delicacies, the investment potentials, and the local “negosyo” based on the mayor’s drive “Asenso sang Silay, Asenso sang Panimalay.”
The “Balay Silay” booth installed at the entrance of Glorietta 3 is a replica of a heritage house crafted by Panoy Corteza that resembles “bahay-na-bato.”
It comes after the welcome “arko” of the Negros Trade Fair. It is the very area where the VIP reception line is, where leis are offered to special guests.
Silay tourism ladies are also there to don our official leis to Vice President Leni Robredo, Senator Loren Legarda, DOT Secretary Wanda Teo, Undersecretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, and former Makati Representative Teodoro Locsin (now UN Ambassador).
Team Silay has been joined in by the First Mom, ma’am Tess Golez.
Ina Gaston said the Silay booth is so inspiring. Silay is the gateway to Negros considering that the airport is there and Silay is the first local government unit (LGU) to greet visitors coming to Negros.
“Next year, we will encourage other LGU participants to construct booths that represent the landmark of a town or city. We would want our entrance area to look like a tourism village where LGU booths are fascinating like the example shown by Silay City this year. I am sure our cooperative mayors will agree with this proposal.”
Other LGUs there include Victorias City, Bacolod City and San Carlos City. Their beautiful booths are the standard compartments provided by the organizer.
Silay’s added feature during the “Arima” (opening program), a symbolic ceremony that replicates the opening of the work in the hacienda at around six o’clock in the morning, is the presentation of the best delicacies of Silay in three “kalalaws” with Silay tourism staff as “manuglibod.”
Silay best actors and actresses (delicacies) to be eaten are lumpia ubod de Silay, pili square, empanada, señorita and panyo-panyo. They all come from the kitchen of Emma Lacson.
Mazapan (carabao’s milk in a bar) is a specialty of Sonia Javier. The cute “lubid-lubid” with a fascinating taste comes from the oven of Mariel’s Bakery. The Silay “piaya” trademark that bears the tourism signature “pasalubong” is the creation of Jessica Go. Other toothsome attractions are “puto lanzon,” “siomai,” “dulce gatas,” and “butong-butong.”
Mayor Mark Golez takes pride in inviting Manila guests and Negrosanons in Manila to partake the best of Silay. The food is enough and all varieties are available for tasting. The delicacy eating paved the way for the “Arima.”
Mayor Mark Golez and Mayor Bing Leonardia were invited to join the VIPs on stage for the ringing of the bell. The emcees, Edu Manzano and Sandra Seifert, welcomed everyone to the “Arima.”
I was also given the opportunity to join the Negros producers to face the Manila media in a long table interview to introduce (endorse) our products. I bought with me the best seller “pili square,” “lumpia ubod” and “panyo-panyo” (banana tart).
Negros Tourism Officer Tintin Mansinares talked about Negros Occidental’s tourism programs, projects, and festivals. Dave Albao expounded on Negros Biodiversity.
The chefs introduced their slow food using Negros ingredients. They talked about their creations while the waiters served slow food canapés, drinks, and spirits. The trade fair arena is like a grand ball for reunion.
People are there to buy the products and the ideas. Friends are meeting friends and making new friends. Late comers flocked to Silay booth to taste whatever was left.
The Negros Trade Fair is a celebration, a thanksgiving, and a gathering of people who understand good taste, quality living, and fashion. The trade fair is an affair to remember. Many could not wait for another next year.