Experience all the festivals of Negros Occidental in one grand festival, Panaad sa Negros!
Known as the "Festivals of All Festivals" of the province, Panaad sa Negros is an annual summer celebration where 32 different cities and municipalities of Negros Occidental take part. It is a weeklong celebration that is held at the Panaad Park and Stadium, Mansilingan, Negros Occidental every month of April.
Every year, a different theme is followed. This is then, showcased by the different booths of the LGUs who participates in the event.
Panaad is a thanksgiving celebration of all Negrenses and an exhibition of the best of Negros Occidental. This is also an attempt by the province to show that it offers "Sugar and MORE!"
Trivia: Negros Occidental is known as the "Sugarbowl of the Philippines". The sugar industry is the lifeblood of Negros Occidental's economy and produces 60% of the country's sugar. Panaad is a Hiligaynon word for "pledge" or "vow".
Panaad sa Negros was conceptualized in 1993 by the provincial government and representatives of the private sector to showcase the festivals of each of the then six (6) cities and 26 municipalities of Negros Occidental. This is also the perfect time and place to showcase their history, cultural heritage, commerce and industry, and tourism potential of their city or municipality.
Panaad is also a time for renewing bonds or initiating friendships of each neighboring municipalities. The festival attracts most of the 2.3++ million Negrenses, their balikbayan relatives and friends.
What to Do:
Amidst the eucalyptus trees lining the 25-hectare Panaad Park and Sports Complex, you could check out the daily activities at the Panaad Tourism and Trade Fair at LGU (local government unit) Pavilions. Each pavilion showcases a town's history, arts and culture, tourism, commerce, trade and industry.
There are also different activities of the festival at the Panaad Stadium. These are Negros' Best Products Display, Organic sa Negros Agri-Fest, Livestock and Dairy Products Fair, Festival Costumes Exhibit and Competition, and Eco-Garden and Wellness Show.
Other events are the Festival Costume Display showcasing the festival costumes of the 32 cities and towns, the Float Competition, Festival Dance, Drum and Bugle, Folk Dance, Latin Dance, Negros Music Festival, Composo and Best Destination Pavilion themed "Kapistahan sa Negros" (Festivals in Negros).
The highlight of the event is during the last day of the festival. One of the highlights of the festival is the Search for the Lin-ay sang Negros (Lady of Negros) Pageant.
You could savor the flavors of Negros by visiting each pavilion at Panaad Park and Stadium. Each pavilion offers and prepares their town's specialties. For snacks, try Manapla's puto and dinugu-an. Grab some seafood at the Sagay or Cadiz booths, Ilog's big oysters and Bacolod's chicken inasal for lunch or dinner and other booths. Beers are also served. Budget for a single meal is around Php150-200.
• Keep in mind that you'll be meeting and encountering different kinds of people. Snatchers or pickpockets might just be around the corner.
• Only bring enough amount of money if you just plan to grab some food or buy pasalubong.
• Always secure your personal belongings especially your wallet and mobile phone. Don't wear flashy jewelry to avoid attracting the wrong kind of attention.
• Wear comfortable shoes. Remember that you'll be walking around a 25-hectare park and some areas may get muddy if it rains. A hat and jacket might come in handy.
• If you'll bring your own private transportation, expect that finding parking space will be challenging. You might be walking a very long distance to the venue.
• And always smile, it's a good way to open
Tip: If you plan to attend any festivals in Negros Occidental, specifically in Bacolod, it is best that you book your hotel a month before the event, as it gets fully booked during festivals.
How to Get There:
From Manila, you can fly to Bacolod (Php2500++, round trip, 45 minutes). From Bacolod-Silay Airport, you can take a shuttle (Php75-100 per head), or a cab (minimum of Php400) and ask to be taken to your hotel or destination in Bacolod City.
You can also go to Bacolod via ferry (estimated cost of Php2700++ with meal, round trip, 20-22 hours) from Manila. From the port you can hail a cab and ask to be dropped off to your destination anywhere in Bacolod City.
Jeepneys (minimum of Php7.50, ask for a discount if you're a senior citizen or a student) are the most common and cheapest means of transportation in the city. They have designated routes to follow, so if you are in rush it is better that you'll get a cab (flagdown in the city area is Php40 and additional Php3.50 for every succeeding 300 meters).
source/reference: Panaad sa Negros 2011 photo by Billy Lopue of Camera Club of Negros (CCN)