A trip to Negros Occidental can be summed up in one word: Manamit! It means yummy, flavorful, appetizing, good taste, delicious and so much more. But it does not only refer to its food. It is how life in this part of the country is all about. La Dolce Vita or the sweet life is very appropriate to Negros Occidental, not just because it is the sugarbowl of the Philippines but also due to the ongoing development in the province that presents a promising future for those who yearns to attain a quality of life.
With the overcrowding in megacities like the National Capital Region, where people go through the motions of the fast-paced life, mostly spent on the road, it is high time to go back to the provinces and put our talents in making other cities thrive. Negros Occidental is ripe for the picking because its capital, which is Bacolod City, is being primed as a retirement destination and regarded as one of the best places to live in the Philippines.
The low cost of living, easy-going way of life, as well as the available and increasing amenities like hospitals, educational institutions, hotels, villages, shopping and entertainment venues, and other attractions, draw many to come home or settle in Negros Occidental. The province has so much more to offer, including communities where individuals and families can enjoy good food, celebrate special occasions, cherish the footprints of the past, take pleasure in the simplicity of things, revel the joys of the local society, breathe the fresh air, commune with nature, live in a relaxing environment, and share the sweet life with others.
One specific example of such communities is the Megaworld townships that are being developed in Negros. The Northill Gateway along the Bacolod-Silay Airport Access Road and the Upper East Township near the Bacolod City Government Center are residential areas that include various amenities which can provide its populace with the opportunity to enjoy an active lifestyle, convenient and comfortable living, and relaxed and hassle-free environs. Negros Occidental’s direction to achieve a better life for its people runs parallel to Megaworld’s vision of “uplifting lives, impacting society, and helping shape the nation.”
Let’s list down a few of the thousands-and-one reasons why Negros Occidental is the perfect place to settle and enjoy the sweet life, the life that is truly manamit.
Yummy and healthy eats
Fresh produce, organic products and satisfying food abound everywhere in the province. What’s more, you’ll find several places where you can enjoy good food guilt-free because they are healthy and natural. Farm tourism is now a catchphrase in several Negrense towns and cities. In fact, every November, the province celebrates the Organic Farmers Festival where guests get to taste many yummy organic eats. And, of course, as the main producer of sugar in the country, expect delicious desserts and pastries as well as savory dishes that can surely whet your appetite.
With food as a vibrant industry in the province, it provides a livelihood to many and encourages the proliferation of farming, which has become overshadowed by other professions run by modern and advanced technology. Moreover, food defines the history, present and future of the Negrenses through traditions passed from one generation to another and innovations that are introduced to food preparation and production.
Flavorful festivals and events
If Negrense food is a feast to the mouth, then its buffet of festivals are a pleasure to the eyes and the whole senses. From the colorful MassKara of Bacolod to the Bailes de Luces of La Castellana, the Dinagsa of Cadiz, the Pintaflores of San Carlos, and Pasaway of Sipalay, there are several festivals every month in different parts of the province that you can choose to partake in. The mother of all festivals is the Panaad sa Negros where the best products of every city and town in Negros Occidental are showcased in one huge celebration.
These festivals not only draw tourists to Negros Occidental but they also uplift the spirits of the people, both in triumphant and challenging times. These events bring together individuals from all walks of life, uniting locals and visitors in a lively and fun atmosphere.
Mind-appetizing history and cultural assets
Definitely, Negros Occidental has a very rich history, one that has hailed many heroes, known and unsung alike. It has an abounding art scene and teeming cultural landscape of local artists from generations past to the present. Heritage structures are aplenty from north to south. There are still Negrense customs that are being practised to this day and there are many cultural vanguards that aim to preserve traditions amidst the changing times. Negrense history, art and culture are surely appetizing to the mind as well as to the soul.
A lifestyle with good taste
Many may say that Negrenses have a charm that can captivate a visitor’s heart. It must be the sing-song Hiligaynon accent that sounds like a lullaby to the untrained ear. Or the endearing smiles of the locals that make you smile back. Or the carefree disposition of the people that reminds you to stop and smell the flowers. Others may have the impression that Negrenses love to party. There may be a grain of truth in it, yet it’s a testament that Negrenses love the good life and they celebrate it no matter the occasion. They show it in their impeccable taste on food, fashion, architecture, music, and the arts.
But underneath the cheery and light-hearted demeanor is a strength that shaped what Negros Occidental has achieved now. From the bravery of our ancestors to the resilience of those who endured the sugar crisis, Negrenses stood above the challenges and allowed themselves to thrive in different fields of endeavors. One can learn from these successful individuals that have made a mark in the province, in the country and in the whole world.
Satiating the cravings of the heart
Being surrounded by sunny people and in the bosom of your loved ones are the most satisfying way to spend your life. In Negros, the family bond is strong that even if you are not hailed from here, you can still be a son or daughter of the land because the people will treat you as their own. Here, there’s plenty of time in your hands. There are many opportunities to channel your creative mind. If none, you can always create one that can benefit you and more people. Negros has a way of making you fulfill your heart’s yearnings.
Given this, isn’t it wonderful to retire in Negros Occidental? Or migrate to this province? Or for those who have roots here, to come home and be in the presence of family? You can settle in any of the Megaworld townships and take advantage of what Negros has to offer.
Life is short and we only have a single one to live. So, live it to the fullest. Live life that satisfies your body, mind, heart and soul. Choose a life that is sweet, one that you can share with others, one that can transform you and those around you, one that can contribute to shaping the country. It’s a life in Negros that is truly enjoyable.
This article is an entry to the 2019 Negrense Blog Awards.