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After a three-year respite due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, the Panaad sa Negros, the festival of all festivals in Negros Occidental, will return on April 17 to 23.

Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz II said on Tuesday the provincial government would launch the festival on Feb. 13 at the Capitol Lagoon and Park here.

“The province has set aside the amount of PHP25 million that has already been allocated to major expenditures,” he told reporters.

The provincial government will also provide financial assistance to the local government units, which will be sourced from a separate account under the Governor’s Office, he said.

Aside from the traditional festival dances competition and the Lin-ay Sang Negros beauty pageant as among the major activities, this year’s festival will introduce an event called the “Best of Negros Products.”

“It will feature winners with national, regional and provincial qualifications for food and non-food products. They will be showcased with their awards and products,” Diaz said.

In 2020, the provincial government cancelled the staging of the 27th Panaad sa Negros Festival set on April 20 to 26 amid the threat of Covid-19.

“Despite the initial preparations, the health, safety and well-being of all Negrosanons are still the priority,” Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson then said.

Named after the Hiligaynon word for “vow” or “promise”, the Panaad sa Negros showcases the 32 themed pavilions of each city and municipality of the province, including the capital Bacolod City, designed either as replicas of their own municipal or city hall, or their famous products at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Barangay Mansilingan here.

Negros Occidental was elevated to the Hall of Fame of the Pearl Awards in 2017 after the Panaad sa Negros Festival was hailed Best Tourism Event – Provincial Festival category for three straight years in 2014, 2015 and 2016.(PNA)