Visit Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal, Ka­pam­pan­gans urged

Sun.Star Pampanga - - FRONT PAGE - BY ERIKA MARIEL GINES Sun.Star Staff Writer

CITY — Gover­nor Al­fredo Marañon has urged Ka­pam­pan­gans to visit Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal prov­ince, now that it is eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble via one­hour flight from Clark In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

The Ne­grense chief made the state­ment dur­ing the 25th Panaad sa Ne­gros Festival which kicked off over the week­end.

Marañon high­lighted that with the new con­ve­nient route, lo­cal and foreign vis­i­tors com­ing from Pam­panga and Cen­tral Lu­zon can take ad­van­tage of what the “land of sweet sur­prises” has to of­fer.

“These past months, we’ve seen that the num­ber of tourists com­ing from Lu­zon sig­nif­i­cantly grew and we con­sider the Clark to Ba­colod flights as a big fac­tor. With the two prov­inces now closer than ever, we can ac­tively pro­mote Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal as a travel des­ti­na­tion to Cen­tral Lu­zon res­i­dents,” he said.

Marañon shared that the prov­ince is home to an in­ter­est­ing ar­ray of his­tor­i­cal places as well as is­lands with pris­tine white beaches, di­verse marine bio­di­ver­sity, and sus­tain­able tourism prac­tices.

More­over, he added that Ne­grense cui­sine and warm hos­pi­tal­ity are also one of the top rea­sons to visit the prov­ince.

“Just like Pam­panga, we also have a rich his­tory and fas­ci­nat­ing tourist spots wait­ing to be ex­plored. I be­lieve these are the rea­sons why Pam­panga and Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal is def­i­nitely a match, given that aside from our sugar in­dus­try, we also share the same cul­ture and way of life,” he noted.

Marañon fur­thered that he is con­fi­dent that with the ex­ist­ing sis­ter­hood pact be­tween Pam­panga and Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal, the two prov­inces will con­tinue their fa­vor­able part­ner­ship and co­op­er­a­tion that would also trans­late to both coun­ter­parts’tourism gains.

Last De­cem­ber, the pro­vin­cial head and Pam­panga Gover­nor Lilia Pineda led the sign­ing of me­moran­dum of agree­ment which so­lid­i­fied the two prov­inces’sis­ter­hood.

The agree­ment eyes the pro­mo­tion and ex­pan­sion of each party’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties in tourism, as well as arts and cul­ture, liveli­hood and em­ploy­ment, eco­nomic en­ter­prise, ed­u­ca­tion, en­vi­ron­ment pro­tec­tion, and disaster re­sponse, among oth­ers.

Aside from mu­tual in­ter­ests, the sis­ter­hood agree­ment was also fu­elled by the open­ing of ClarkBa­colod flights by Philip­pine Air­lines launched late last year. The flag car­rier, which flies four times a week from Clark to Ba­colod, de­parts ev­ery Tues­day, Wed­nes­day, Thurs­day, and Satur­day at 7:00 am, ar­riv­ing at the “City of Smiles” at 8:15 am. Re­turn flight leaves at 8:55 am and touch down at Clark at 10:10 am.

Panaad sa Ne­gros Festival @ 25

Over 15,000 Ne­grenses on Satur­day con­vened at the Panaad Park and Sta­dium to com­mence the 25th year cel­e­bra­tion of the Panaad sa Ne­gros Festival, touted as the “Festival of all Fes­ti­vals” in Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal. Panaad, which means prom­ise in Hili­gaynon, is an an­nual cel­e­bra­tion par­tic­i­pated by all 19 towns and 13 cities of the prov­ince, in­clud­ing its cap­i­tal Ba­colod City.

The nine-day festival’s open­ing pro­gram was high­lighted by wel­come re­marks from De­part­ment of In­te­rior and Lo­cal Govern­ment As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary Ri­co­judge Jan­vier Echiverri who came as rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte.

Echiverri said that the he sees the Panaad as a way to gather the peo­ple of Ne­gros as one, as he re­layed that “When we unite, we be­come pow­er­ful as a so­ci­ety.”

Other high­lights of the first day of the event in­cluded the Festival Dances Com­pe­ti­tion, GMA Ka­puso Fi­esta, and RMN’s Panaad Hip Hop Chal­lenge 2018.

Marañon, for his part, noted that he is de­lighted with the out­come of the Panaad sa Ne­gros Festival af­ter more than two decades.

“It re­ally has ex­ceeded our ex­pec­ta­tions. As you’ve seen ear­lier, punong puno ang at­ing sta­dium. This goes to show that this af­fair is now be­ing ac­cepted by the whole prov­ince and tourists com­ing from all over the coun­try and abroad,” he shared.

“This is a very dis­tinct cel­e­bra­tion for us and we re­ally pre­pared for this gath­er­ing which sets us apart from other fes­ti­vals, be­cause we made sure that each of our lo­cal govern­ment units have their per­ma­nent home here at our Panaad Com­plex,” he added.

The Panaad sa Ne­gros Festival which car­ries this year’s theme “Panaad @ 25: The Prom­ise Ful­filled” fea­tures a to­tal of 32 unique themed pavil­ions where Ne­grenses show­case each of their mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s del­i­ca­cies, fresh pro­duce, and hand­crafted prod­ucts. The festival will run un­til April 22.

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