And we’re off! Negros Season of Culture takes you on a tour. This March, www.negrosseasonofculture.com launches a series of virtual tours spread throughout 2022. We begin with food. In Bacolod Coffee & Sweets, food and travel vlogger Debbie Oca stops at seven pastry and coffee shops in the city. This enterprise, run mostly by millennials (and elder millennials), requires innovation and daring-do, qualities needed to rebuild communities post-lockdown.
We sifted through candidate shops using meaningful criteria. First off, we limited our picks to local brands. And not just local, but relatively new in the scene. In fact, our final choices were opened either just before the lockdown or during the lockdown. This way, the story narrates a continuum of experiences, from struggle to success, to sustainability. Finally, each pastry and coffee shop must bring a uniqueness to the table, and indeed, there’s nothing similar between any two of the seven. No enterprise with foresight can remain generic. It must be differentiated.
The vlog accomplishes a second goal. It also begins a robust and extensive coverage of food that followers of NSC enjoyed in 2021 and will continue to delight in in 2022.
The “merienda culture” of Filipinos pervades all social classes and eras. And in Negros where sugar is everyone’s middle name, merienda fare can easily become a feast. And so, the piaya is just icing on the cake. The breadth and depth of Negrense delicacies, both sweet and savory, parallels the Negrense’s imagination to create new ones and tweak the old.
In March we feature the manuglibod, the traditional itinerant vendor of heritage snacks. In time, her fashion has evolved, from wearing a patadyong and kimona, and balancing a round native tray on her head, to today’s jeans and white cotton shirt, and toting updated bayongs. Because the time calls for it, our modern manuglibod now wears a face mask, too. From morning till the last native snack, she moves about, knocking door-to-door, showing up at the appointed hour, almost without fail.
Finally, what’s a buffet without a take-home? What’s a food edition without a video instructional to try out? Here’s your takeaway for March. This classic, even nostalgic Negrense candy is a top seller. The sweet delight takes baby-boomers back to fun school days with sticky fingers, sticky lips, and sticky school uniform sleeves. Negros Season of Culture dares all, let’s get cooking with Butong-Butong.