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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, January 17, 2019
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with Jennylind D. Cordero
STARLIFE

Our sweet culture

Ninfa Leonardia

It was in 2013 when the longest running cultural tour in Negros stopped during its 40 th year. The tour was held every weekend of December, considering the festive season, with houses decorated and the happy mood of people.

We would meet at Jara laboratory early in the morning, then fill up the sixty-seater bus, and Ramon Hofilena, in his barong, will tell the Negros Occidental story, be it history, sugar tales, arts and crafts, or trivias. We were entertained and appreciated the heritage houses, homemade delicacies, and a sumptuous lunch at the Victorias Milling Club House with a picturesque view of the golf course. We also visited the St. Joseph Church at VMC, the Chapel of the Cartwheels, and some heritage houses with the art collection of our specialized tour guide Hofilena, who turns 85 this month.

Recently, the Alliance of Tour Guides of Occidental Negros visited the Hofilena Heritage House which has been open to visitors since 1962, and met with Sir Mon who is turning over the cultural tour to the tour guides. Yes, we will revive the tour and work on a new itinerary to include new sites and surprises. Cidni Mapa, ATON president, is spearheading the project. December 2019 will be a very special month when cultural tours will be available by then.

The city and municipal tourism officers met for the updating of projects and programs for 2018 and 2019. We were informed that BacoLaodiat or the celebration of the Chinese New Year will be on February 1-5 at the Bacolod Government Center and activities will also be held at City Mall Goldenfields.

Cadiz will celebrate the Dinagsa Festival next week and the highlight of the street party and tribal dance competition will be on January 27. Pulupandan is also into water safety projects as well as bird-watching and health and fitness through a daily zumba dance; they are now drafting the tourism plan for the town.

Manapla now has a very interesting farm run by children age 9 to 16, promoting inclusive growth. Balulan beach is under a new management and has better facilities, and the famous puto of Manapla still is a favourite pasalubong by tourists and travellers. Talisay will have more farms accredited with the DOT as well as Silay.

Sipalay is into sustainable tourism and an active private sector participation in the tourism council and the cultural arts council as well. Escalante is active as well, Victorias is strengthening its agro-ecotourism program with the tourism code passed and they now have a permanent tourism officer position and is able to avail of TIEZA funds for various tourism projects.

These are a few of the towns and cities in Negros focusing on tourism development. We look forward to a better tourism promotion program in 2019.*

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