Panaad Sa Negros Festival Reports Reduced Sales Amid Economic Concerns

BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental — The Panaad Sa Negros Festival, known as the "festival of all festivals" in Negros Occidental, concluded on Sunday with total sales amounting to PHP19.25 million, reflecting a decrease from the previous year. The week-long event, which featured 32 local government unit (LGU) pavilions along with agriculture and veterinary exhibits, trade fairs, food alleys, and garden shows, took place from April 15 to 21 at the Panaad Park and Stadium.

According to Philippines News Agency, this year's festival sales were down by 18.65 percent, equivalent to a PHP4.413 million drop from last year's PHP23.663 million. Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson cited a reduction in the purchasing power of the Negrense middle class as a key factor behind the lower sales figures. He noted that while attendance was high, spending did not match the levels seen in previous years.

Governor Lacson observed significant attendance at key events such as the Best of Festival Dances Competition, Pop Dance Competition, and the Lin-ay Sang Negros coronation night, with venues filled to capacity. However, he pointed out that the young demographic present at the festival tended not to spend as much.

The 2023 edition marked the first full-scale return of the Panaad Sa Negros Festival since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic three years ago. In his closing remarks, Governor Lacson praised the collaborative efforts of the LGUs with the provincial government, which he said exceeded constituents' expectations for this year's event. He encouraged attendees to cherish the memories and connections made during the festival as they look forward to a hopeful future for Negros Occidental.