Negros Occidental

38th Negros Trade Fair to feature products of former rebel stronghold communities

Reymund Titong

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38th Negros Trade Fair to feature products of former rebel stronghold communities

LAUNCHING. Mary Ann Colmenares, 38th Negros Trade Fair co-chairperson, talks about this year's trade fair, to be held from September 17 to 22 in Makati.

Provincial Government of Negros Occidental Facebook page

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, Philippines – Highlighting polarized communities to display their locally-produced products is not just a powerful way to provide them with sustainable livelihoods. It also plays a crucial role in promoting peace.

Peace in the hinterlands of Negros has been a decade-long aspiration for nearly every sector of the community. However, the government’s failure to address various societal issues has led to social unrest, making the province vulnerable to rebel recruitment.

But with the unfolding of the 38th Negros Trade Fair (NTF), to be held from September 17 to 22 at the Glorietta 2 Palm Drive Activity Center in Makati City, five associations under the province’s Balik-Salig program will showcase their locally-woven products, converting their communities to haven of peace. 

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The associations include Camingawan Diversified Workers Association (CADIWA) in Kabankalan City, the Madaha Hand Weavers Association (MAHAWA) of Himamaylan City, the Sitio Maatop Community of Hinobaan town, the Barangay Riverside Upland Famers Association (BRUFA) of Isabela town, and the Kapatiran Community of Don Salvador Benedicto town.

38th NTF co-chairperson Mary Ann Colmenares said that this year’s trade fair theme is “Halad,” which means offering in Hiligaynon. The event will feature an impressive array of 105 booths showcasing exquisite Negros-made food products, crafts, clothes, and home-style items, among others.

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She also presented that the NTF earned a total of P40 million in sales last year, which was significantly higher than the P39 million it made in sales in 2022.

The NTF is considered to be the longest-running provincial trade fair in the country, a collaborative endeavor between the Association of Negros Producers (ANP) and the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental.

Its aims to showcase the abundance of the province and fortify the small and medium enterprises of Negros, fostering lasting peace, economic growth, and prosperity for the province.

The Philippine News Agency quoted Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Lacson’s message, which was read by Charina Tan during the announcement of the trade fair’s launch date on Thursday, June 6, at the Capital Social Hall in Bacolod.

He said, “The story of the NTF is one of resilience, ingenuity, hope, and courage of the Negrense spirit. For me, the initiative of our Negrense women can be akin to a ‘halad,’ with them offering the fruits of their labor as an alternative source of income.”

Colmenares said the logo of this year’s NTF features an illustration of the Paphiopedilum hennisianum, also known as the slipper orchid, set against a rich green background.

“The slipper orchid, which is endemic in Negros Island and Central Philippines is known for its unique and captivating beauty, symbolizes the very spirit of Halad. Its delicate yet resilient nature reflects the best the Negros Island has to offer – its rich culture, vibrant art, exceptional talents, and pristine environment,” she said.

Colmenares added, “the orchid reminds us of our collective responsibility to offer and preserve the best of our island, fostering a sustainable future for all. This is our ‘Halad’ – our enduring promise and heartfelt offering.” –

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  1. ET

    “Congratulations to the five associations participating in the 38th NTF under the province’s ‘Balik-Salig’ program. I hope this program will lead to significantly increased and sustained incomes and employment for the members of these associations. If not, the CPP-NPA-NDF in their area may recruit them again under its ‘Balik-Bukid’ program.”

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