Category Archives: Events

Hope Shines Brighter in Negros for the 27th Negros Trade Fair


Inset: Official poster of the 27th Negros Trade Fair – Beyond Limits at Rockwell Tent.

Image of men in fashionable clothes, dancing to the latest beats, drinking the most expensive imported wines, these are the Manila based Negrenses taking part in the almost bacchanalian parties of the Kahirup Society. The onset of the sugar crisis in the 1980’s has stopped these parties altogether the Negros Trade Fair has replaced it as the Negrenses’ opportunity for socio-civic interaction now with a purpose, and that is to help their poor kasimanwas back home, reeling from the effects of what was once a mighty industry. Now on its 27th year, the Association of Negros Producers has reflected the desire to go beyond limits for this 5-day event.

Inset: Interior of the Negros Showroom branch in Buendia Avenue, Makati City.

Inset: One of the trendy house lamps available at the Negros Showroom Makati.

Inset: Durable and stylish dinner table at the Negros Showroom Makati available for sale.

Inviting some bloggers for a preview of the upcoming 27th Negros Trade Fair, Negros Showroom Makati Manager Mike Claparols, descendant of the first and only Negros Republic President Aniceto Lacson, entertained guests in the old Negrense way of serving an afternoon coffee treat of Negrense delicacies. This homey showroom reminds guests of the lifestyle back home in Negros where people come in the afternoon to have a small chat over coffee and treats. The Negros Showroom Makati’s space was given by the Department of Trade and Industry for use of the Association of Negros Producers as a showroom until December 31, 2012 this year.

Inset: Piaya and barquillos from Virgie’s served in Nong Mike’s ceramic products.

Inset: Caramel Tarts, also from Virgie’s, one of the Negros Showroom Makati bestsellers.

Inset: Quan’s napoleones served fresh from their commissary in Dian St., Makati City.

The treats served were best seller ones like the signature Piaya and Napoleones from Bacolod. Sweetness from the treats reminds us very well of not just the sugar industry but also the innate sweetness and gentleness of the Negrenses. Nong Mike remembered the days where people would simply go to a relative’s house and how the host would let out a feast of sweet treats for the visitors. Much of the delicacies we see now are innovations by the home cooks who got their ideas from abroad or simply by the needs of the times as people adapt. Abundance of sugar with availability of ingredients and flour has led to innate culinary creativity of the Negrenses.

Inset: Combination of capers, basil and olive oil makes up this delicious vegetarian pate.

Inset: Addicting natural squid rings available at the Negros Showroom Makati.

Inset: Negrense twist to the original Italian puttanesca sauce from Jarvis.

There are quite a lot of people who carelessly classify Negrense cuisine as “Ilonggo cuisine” due to undeniable similiarities in some dishes up to the name but, educated tongues would know that the food culture has gone beyond its original Ilonggo offshoot just a century ago, to a unique body of cuisine. Negrenses are well-traveled people and has so adopted cooking styles from various regions of the Philippines and even foreign influences, mainly Spanish, with some Italian, Mexican and Chinese. Fusion is best seen in the various recipe from other places, but blended well with local ingredients that the taste has now become characteristically Negrense.

Inset: Trendy but durable hand bags made of local materials in Negros by Kiculo

Inset: Export-quality local and organically-made personal care items from Fresh Start Organic.

Inset: Girls’ Accessories available at the Negros Showroom Makati.

Quality and advocacy mixes well for the Association of Negros Producers where products have wonderful stories behind them. The years of experience with Negros Trade Fair and the Negrenses’ creativity has ingrained a sense of quality for each of the products sold by the association, showroom and trade fair. Each has been carefully scrutinized to pass a standard test that most items sold are vailable for export. One of the success stories is Fresh Start Organic that started almost a decade ago and has been leading in the Island push for organic products. Aside from organic produce, they have also personal care items entirely from organic sources.

Inset: PUREZA The Story of Negros Sugar will be showing for the Negros Trade Fair.

Negrense products are merely a reflection of the actual welcoming warmth of Negrenses. Negros Trade Fair and Negros Showroom  Makati are unique chances for Manileños to have a feel of little bit of Negros in the middle of the busy Rockwell Center and Buendia Avenue. PUREZA The Story of Negros Sugar will screen tomorrow, September 25, 9pm at Power Plant Cinema 6 to give us a preview of a crisis that started this all. I recommend the Negros Trade Fair for your early shopping needs or just for your fancy of export quality products for your daily needs. Do set one day between September 26 to 30 to visit the little bit of Negros at the Rockwell Tent.


Bacolod City Hosts Google Map Maker Summit Visayas


View of the Visayas Islands from Google Maps

Everyday, we spend our time moving from once place to another for whatever purposes. For most of us who travel a lot or simply have a lot of client meetings in places other than your office, you may have consulted Google Maps one way or the other. Indeed, Google Maps have replaced conventional maps in finding your way to your destination especially in an increasing mobile culture. Download Google Maps in your Android, Blackberry or iPhone and you have directions in a click. In terms of tourism, Google Maps has helped one find tourist spots one has never heard or seen before. Places like Guiuan, SamarSipalay City and Apo Island in Negros; and Siquijor Island are beginning to be known for tourist thanks to Google Maps.

Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Leyte, part of Panay Islands in Google Maps

In the Visayas, major cities have been accounted for with the latest satellite images. Bacolod City is one of the most updated cities with its numerous constructions happening around the city and its metropolitan component cities of Silay, Talisay and Bago. Even as it is regularly updated, only a few volunteers are doing their part of the editing and is beginning to be a challenge with more building and road constructions. Blind spots or areas without a high-resolution satellite image still exist in Negros Island. While Mambukal has already been accounted for after being in the spot for three years, a big chunk of Sipalay, Candoni and the entire Hinobaan still falls within the blind spot. Daunting since Sipalay and Candoni are home to  nice white-sand beaches with dive spots while Candoni is home to countless unexplored caves in pristine condition.

The Blind Spots of Negros Island in Google Maps: Sipalay City, Candoni and Hinobaan

Not only is Google Maps helpful in tourism, it has proven its worth time  again in dispatching relief in times of disaster. Two disasters have hit the eastern portion of Negros Island in Negros Oriental with the onset of Typhoon Sendong and the Negros Quake in Tayasan, Negros Oriental. Google Maps was used to tag places damaged by the disasters and in need of relief goods with relief centers and relevant facilities. With the increasing importance of Google Maps, there is a need to update and revise some areas of the Google Maps from time to time. Editing is by contributor basis with all of the editing done in a Google Maps support application called Google Map Maker which is a free for all access for geographic and map enthusiasts.

Adding a Perimeter Boundary for Ikthus Bacolod in Google Map Maker

The Philippine Group of Google Map Maker Editors and Enthusiasts are organizing a Google Map Maker Summit in the Visayas at the University of St. La Salle – Bacolod City on April 12, 2012 to promote Map Maker awareness for Visayans, particularly Negrenses. The session from 8:30am to 5:00pm will delve on introduction to Google Map Maker, current work undertaken by Philippine editors with current and potential uses of Google Maps and hands on lessons for first timers or neophytes to Map Maker editing, Panoramio and Sketch Up, a Google Application that makes 3-D models of buildings found on Google Maps and Google Earth. Since it involves computer work, so everyone is requested to bring their own laptop.

Google Maps showing results for a search on Calea at 15th Street, Bacolod City

Worried with what could be the registration fee? No problem since its completely free, an advocacy to help promote disaster relief and tourism efforts especially the recently-launched “Negros Island. Sweet Spot of the Philippines!” tourism campaign. Everyone is welcome but you need to register online with your Map Maker account and niche indicated. Unfortunately not in Bacolod City for that Summit? No problem since they will also be holding summits in Luzon at the University of Baguio on April 14 and in Mindanao at STI College, General Santos City on April 21. Make your summer productive by being part of something that can help you and others in the long run, so log in and join Google Map Maker Summit in the Visayas now.


Personal Story and a Champion’s Tribute: Western Visayas Regional Meet 2012


Opening Ceremonies for the Western Visayas Regional Meet at Panaad Stadium

Two days ago, I received a Facebook message informing me that my cousin Jason Adrian Mayo-Mirabueno won in the swimming competition over at the Western Visayas Regional Meet. Deep inside, I was elated and happy that he is finally achieving his dream. Friends back home in Bacolod City have shared some photos with me of the opening at Panaad Park and Stadium and I was about to blog about it like an Ernie Baron in the web. However, I found a really personal side to the story which I wanted to share somehow, so forgive me if I will border on something deeply personal.

Photo-ops before the competition proper

My eyes were witnesses to how this dearest cousin honed his swimming talent as a child when he first became curious of the learn to swim lessons for the Panaad Swim Team. He grew from being a curious child to a bemedalled athelete that he is now. His swim lessons are of curious interest to me whose passion I saw in his eyes while he follows his older brother James went first with the training. His victories over at amateur competitions and interprovincial meets proved that potential.

My cousin Jason waiting for his turn with competing Western Visayas athletes

My vision for this young cousin of mine seeing the national competitions grew stronger when I was still with my ex-girlfriend who happened to be an all-time champion in this very same Regional Meet and Palarong Pambansa a few years ago. I envisioned my cousin to draw the same swimming champion path as my ex-girlfriend and I even planned for a meet-up between the two achiever swimmers. Eventually, things did not happen as I planned it when my relationship with this ex-girlfriend ended bitterly and in a sour note over something slightly related to swimming and some other reason as well.

Western Visayas swimmers preparing for a relay competition

Though I love my cousin so much, that sour experience almost killed my interest with swimming. A part of me would be happy if my cousin won but another side of me did not want to hear anything about swimming again. This was my hindrance with celebrating my cousins victories through the times but his rise to swimming stardom was simply unstoppable. Somehow, blood is thicker than the waters of past experiences and swimming has found another meaning and redemption in the persona of my cousin Jason. After all, he is my cousin, right? A really talented cousin for that matter. He deserves all the accolades and honors for his years of continuous training and hard good work.

Receiving the gold medal for Negros

Events competitions continues today at Panaad Park and Stadium where Western Visayas Provinces continue to showcase athletic talent. If you are a kasimanwa and in Bacolod City, please take time to watch the games and support Team Negros athletes especially my cousin Jason. As of the latest medal tally, Negros is leading in the gold medal count. The Negros Occidental Swim Team contributed twenty-two gold medals more to the medal tally count. Athletes like my cousin Jason need all our prayers and support for a landslide win for our Negros.

The champ posing with his gold and silver medals

My personal prayer for my cousin is that he will continue down the champion’s path not only carrying the province’s banner but the country’s as well in the future. I would wish to see his talent honed in the top notch universities here in Manila when the time comes for him to enter university studies. This blogger-cousin would always be proud of you and will always be here to support you hundred percent! His four golds and three silvers qualifies him for competing in the Palarong Pambansa this May 6-12, 2012 at Dagupan City, PangasinanKudos Jason for your victories and to God be all the glory!