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Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Negrense: A Tourism "Fashionista"

How do we see and feel about “fashionista”? Do we have to wear Prada and Armani products? Clad ourselves with Gucci and Louis Vuitton accessories? Or, marvel at what we have to draw a beautiful map for Negros?

Negros, a sugarlandia, has been famous since time immemorial. It has survived with its rich human and natural resources that have subsist at their sorts. And that M/V Don Juan tragedy was not actually a profound downfall for sugar industry. In fact, it has generated a great spirit for all Negrense to work for a better tomorrow all through the years.

From the infamous sugar industry now comes a business enterprise in a new way: the craftsmanship, arts and culture, and fashion that have enormously caught the attention of a global market, the tourists who have enjoyed the all-good package of fun, people, places, weather, traffic and safety. This is the ultimate personality we all exude. And we must live with it at all cost, at all times.

In Negros, we never build a rift in fashion. We simply innovate it. We create and develop a fashion statement. Like a shawl on one's shoulder, instead of a traditional plain cotton fabric, we just stuff it uniquely with multi-colored paintings, beads and rhymes. Not to mention a native bracelet, a pendant, a ring, earrings, a baller and an anklet. These are minimal, less expensive, authentic pieces, but prides themselves with the Negrense's ingenuity and creativity on craftsmanship, art and fashion.

This we call "an artistic Negrense" earns an inspiring income and humility. This has converted into an economic enterprise that develops a multiplier effect for both the government and the people. These have become a business suit for some, and a holiday routine for others. And we have befallen as peddlers of our own venture. That we have to hop from one place to another in order to introduce our merchandise to the broad markets: Festivals where any form of enterprise are in usual boom.

The Negros province, a home of world-class festivals, illuminates its seal with vibrancy. This is virtually eloquent and superlative as those local and international tourists just throng and enjoy the cheerful moments at town or at city who proffers a festive mood. From San Carlos' "Pinta Flores" down to Cadiz' "Dinagsa" up to Silay's "Kansilayan" and many others, revelers discover a new stage for unlimited fun and merriment.

The La Carlota's "Pasalamat", La Castellana's "Bailes de Luces", and Kabankalan's "Sinulog" literally mirror the true picture of "fashionista": a fizzy dancer wearing a colorful, brilliant costume, accentuated with flourishing light decors. These festival costumes are artistically designed and created with indigenous materials that would depict the real "us", the environment-friendly happy people who have been on the forefront to protect and manage the island's biodiversity condition.

In expression of passion and of obsession, the Negros' array of local festivals illustrates a political charade where no animals and plants are being harmed. Costumes, again, are tailored with recyclable and/ or old materials, a living proof of advocacy. But they are all crafted by skilled hands and creative minds. And that we all hold the all-rounded truth that their habitats are dramatically being enhanced.

A common scene of celebration and a picture of togetherness similarly recur at every festival around the province. This is so because we Negrense always think the same thing big, always create the same thing great, and always reap the same thing sweet. This is a social union, a oneness that never fades away.

That's the Negros way of celebrating festivals, where all areas are turned into business surfaces; where all corners are flowered with make-shift stalls of various locally-dolled up things; where both local and international tourists buy original delicacies, souvenir items, and novelty products; where revelers enjoy and dance all along the streets; where everything about Negros, its people, its tourist destinations, and prides are tied in one spot to define the meaning of "us".

The "us". That's the reason why most tourists wander in the island. It's not how the Cadiz' white-sand Lakawon island offers its pristine water for swimming and scuba diving; it's not why the Bacolod's world-renowned Masskara Festival is smiling; it's not what the Negros' spectacular Panaad Festival brings about or the province's amazing landmarks; it's always the people's behavior and warm welcome that invite a flock of tourists to come incessantly. They all love us for we always embed goodness in our hearts, for we are who we are and what we are: the "fashionista Negrense" in minds, in hearts and in deeds./*

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