Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia yesterday said the Bacolaodiat Festival, like the MassKara Festival, will become one of the icons of Bacolod City.
Leonardia said the Bacolaodiat Festival startedin 2006 in the Year of the Dog and has already reached full circle this year, based on the Chinese calendar.
“This is very significant when you think in terms of the integration of the Chinese culture with us in Bacolod. We just want to show and prove in Bacolod that the integration is complete, and that it is a celebration of Bacolod,” he said.
This is the creation that has somehow erased the division among the different Chinese groups in Bacolod City, he added.
Leonardia said he believes that this concept of having honorary mayors coming from the business sector is one of the best things that had ever happened to Bacolaodiat, because this has a long-lasting effect and could somehow influence their business decisions.
“When Filipino Chinese business magnate John Gokongwei and others were in Bacolod, l thanked them because they were the first to come in and the rest followed. And now, almost 10 years, after, some of their executives, when they meet me, would quote me on that, which simply tells us that is how some of these sweet nothings could reap harvest for us,” he said.
Hopefully, this year, they will be able to increase their speed. Because what they want is not just growth, but rapid growth in the economy of Bacolod, he added.
Leonardia said he believes that with the entry of big businesses in Bacolod and making it their playing field, it is always the consumers who will benefit when there is competition.And that is what is happening here.
“So let us take advantage of this and let us encourage growth and development among our big and smaller players because everybody is a contributor to the economy. So we will promise them a climate conducive for business, not just to grow, but to rapidly grow,” he said.
Leonardia said he hopes people will remember his administration as the one that had bounded and created, nurtured and developed the Bacolaodiat Festival.
Like the government center, he considers the festival another of his babies, he said.
Leonardiabrought the idea to the Chinese community way back in 2005 after inquiring from then Iloilo Mayor Jerry Treñas how they were doing their Chinese New Year celebration.
He recalled that when they got the Filipino Chinese community to be involved, the response was overwhelming.
“This festival has already become an institution and I am sure this is going to be here on a permanent basis. And just like the MassKara Festival, this will become one of our icons,” he said.
Leonardia is inviting everyone to come and celebrate the Bacolaodiat Festival.
Bacolaodiat Festival chairman Jennifer Gochangco-Ong said this year's theme is “Legacy of Loyalty and Family.”
Ong said a dog is known for being loyal and traditional. So they are trying to highlight the family and their events are targeted towards the family.
Their main event today is the DJ night, while there will be a CARE Pooch Walk where dogs will parade in their costumes at 3:30 p.m., she said.
The parade of mascots and Imperial Cloud Walkers and Imperial Guards will start at 3 p.m. at the South Capitol Road, while there will be fireworks display every night.
Ong said the Lantern Dance Competition will be the main event starting 6 p.m. Saturday.
She said a ringing of the bell at the Yuan Thong Temple in Burgos Street in Brgy. Villamonte was held last night. This is a tradition in China where the bell is being rang108 times in the temple.
They will also hold the last prayer of the year and people can pray for good luck for the following year, she added.
Meanwhile, Ong said that since the Year of the Dog is associated with loyalty, legacy and family, they believe that in business, this is not the year to be experimental.
“It is a year to continue what you have been doing which had been successful in the past, and to focus on your loyal customers, friends and existing clientele. Whatever programs you do that will focus on your existing clients will surely “click” because loyalty will resonate in the Year of the Dog,” she said.*CGS
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