Metro Manilans who missed the recent Negros Trade Fair in Makati City or the ongoing MassKara Festival in Bacolod City will have another opportunity to experience the Negrense lifestyle at the First Namit Namit Food Festival (NNFF) on November 4 to 6 in Rockwell Center Makati.
“Namit” is the Hiligaynon word for delicious and if there’s one thing that Negros Island is known for apart from its vast sugarcane plantations and its being the Sugarlandia of the Philippines, it has to be the delicious cuisine that comes from the abundance of produce from its farmlands and the sea around it. Negrense food is undoubtedly one of the country’s best in terms of novelty and richness in flavor.
For the first time ever, the annual Negros holiday known as Cinco de Noviembre will be brought to the National Capital Region through this celebration of Negrense delicacies taking place at the heart of Makati’s Poblacion heritage and entertainment district. Eleven iconic food brands from Bacolod will be showcased at the NNFF right in front of Rockwell’s Power Plant Mall along Hidalgo Drive corner Plaza Drive.
Cinco de Noviembre commemorates the establishment of the short-lived Republic of Negros on November 5, 1898 following a bloodless revolution against the Spanish colonial regime. It is a special non-working holiday in the province of Negros Occidental by virtue of Republic Act No. 6709 signed by President Corazon Aquino on February 10, 1989.
NNFF will grant its visitors a culinary experience of Negros Island’s exhilarating flavors. Three brands serving Bacolod’s signature “inasal” dish will be featured, namely: JT’s Manukan, Bacolod Chicken Inasal, and Inasalan sa Dalan. Also being offered are Café Bob’s sate babi and fruit punch; the original napoleones pastry of Roli’s Bakeshop; the Ilonggo version of bulalo from Pat-pat’s Kansi; paella from Negrense-Spanish restaurant Manolo’s by Chef Manny Torrejon; all-time favorites from Silay City’s Sir & Ma’am; native delights of Quan; honey-cured hams from Grem’s Deli; and the novel puffyanis of Quino’s.
The Power Plant Mall driveway will be closed for three days on the first weekend of November in order to accommodate the diners and food establishments of NNFF. Through this trailblazing festival, Rockwell Center Bacolod and the Manila Chapter of the University of St. La Salle Alumni Association (USLSAA) have partnered to bring the best of Negrense cuisine to Metro Manila.
Rockwell Center Bacolod is the newest mixed-used development of Rockwell Land Corp. with residential, retail, and office space components. The 30-hectare, master-planned community is rising along GM Cordova Avenue at Mandalagan near the Bacolod Airport Access Road.
USLSAA Manila Chapter President Lloyd Ramos Tronco said the NNFF hopes to draw in everyone who loves Negrense food as well as those who missed the cuisine of the country’s “Sugar Bowl” during the pandemic.
Over at the “City of Smiles,” Bacolod is currently staging the last few days of its globally renowned MassKara Festival after a pandemic-induced hiatus in 2020 and 2021. The MassKara’s first post-Covid edition has the theme of “Balik Yuhum” that translates to “bring back the smile.”
Tonight is the coronation night of the Miss Bacolod MassKara 2022 at the USLS Coliseum while the MassKarade Ball will be held this weekend at the SMX Bacolod Convention Center. For music lovers, there will be the MassKara Music Festival tomorrow at the Bacolod City Government Center and the First MassKara 80s Festival at Megaworld’s Upper East estate on October 21.
Negros Occidental’s major industries – sugar production, gamefowl breeding, business process outsourcing, tourism, and aquaculture – are showcased in the First Panaad sa MassKara Trade Exhibition at the Panaad Stadium and the Tatak Bacolod Food Festival at the Provincial Capitol grounds.
“Elemental Majica” is this year’s art offering for the 43rd MassKara Festival from the Orange Project artist community led by Charlie Co and Bong Lopue. This in-depth collaboration of 60 artists aims to transport art lovers to a magical world through music, paintings, sculptures, dance, and an interactive AI installation from foreign artists. The exhibit will run up to October 25 at the Art District beside Lopue’s Mandalagan.
2022 MassKara Festival Director Pinky Mirano-Ocampo believes the three-week event will be the grandest in the City of Smiles as it emerges from more than two years of isolation brought about by pandemic lockdowns.
Image credits: Herbert Kikoy via Wikimedia Commons CC-BY-SA-4.0