NSC, meant to be

When lockdowns surprised the world in 2020, Negros Season of Culture was quickly reworked into a virtual global messaging platform. No choice. But perhaps, it was meant to be. Even before the pandemic, the intention of NSC was to bring Negrense heritage to a global consciousness. A website was the right vehicle after all.

And so, www.negrosseasonofculture.com was born a quarantine baby. Nursed out of zoom meetings, group chats, and leaps of faith, the NSC team pushed the website to breach engagement benchmarks of key social media applications, just on its maiden year. Award-winning Negrense actor, Joel Torre, believed in the work and eagerly hopped on the project as brand ambassador. And just as quickly, the Department of Tourism, Region 6, gave its endorsement. |

Homes of the Generals who led the Negros Revolution in 1898 were featured in celebration of Cinco de Noviembre.

On the ground, creative minds provided the rudder, the dogged desire to deliver stories of innovation month after month. The editors and writers sought new stories. Heritage churches, never before mentioned in relation to Negros Occidental, were studied. The series became one of NSC’s hottest in 2021. If the story was timeworn, like age-old “Cinco de Noviembre”, a new angle was found. The video documentaries on the homes of the two generals that led the Negros Revolution in 1898 offered fresh perspective to the annual commemoration.

Laswa, a classic homegrown soup in Negros featured in Warmth in a Bowl series.

Out of that resolve to wow an audience every time, all the time, the NSC realized that Negros Occidental, till recently known mostly for its desserts, is as much a repository of heritage soups that hark back to childhoods and reconnect Negrenses to home. Relatedly, the passion of three young and imaginative chefs featured on the website may have started a parade of new culinary masters from Negros Occidental.

Young Negrense chefs like Chef Don Colmenares shared their unique twists on classic Negrense dishes on Food Beyond Borders.

NSC is ready to carry the thrill over into the new year. January’s theme, “Wow 2022”, promises that. The curtain rises and the bar is raised, the iconic piaya, now a bonbon. The project on carnivorous flora, and the revelation that endemic pitcher plant species abound in Negros forests, confirm the intention of the line-up to amaze audiences.

Artistic expression permeates Negrense homes, and NSC has chosen stalwarts to honor. Leading the A-list is Toto Sicangco, a world-renowned theater and costume designer. It is to him that NSC’s 2022 edition is dedicated.  At least five young food masters are on the menu, each bringing a unique passion to the table. Four virtual guided tours, each one subject-specific and appealing to niche audiences, are on the pipeline. As of this writing, NSC field editors are on a mission, the search for quaint chapels is afoot to regale devotees when Easter rolls around.

World-renowned theater and costume designer Toto Sicangco.

“Rooted. Taking on the world.” So, the NSC slogan goes. While the attraction of things new cannot be denied, Negrense heritage remains center in NSC’s radar. The colonial houses of Silay City, clearly the country’s most expansive heritage destination, will take the lead in 2022. And when was the last time anyone sat through Hiligaynon folk songs and dances? NSC will find ways to bring them back. A story on the itinerant “manuglibod”, the original representation of street food vendors, will tell why the trade survives against fast food and “kwek-kwek”.

This month we learn how Pastry Chef Kaye Belo of Kalamay turns the iconic piaya into a bonbon.

The NSC will, in 2022, go where it hasn’t been to, even to sports, even to fashion, certainly to distant corners of Negrense hearts where there is a pining for home. For the joy that achieving this goal evokes, NSC is already meant to be.

Savory local delicacies of Negros.

Text by: Alan S. Gensoli

Design and Architecture

Cultural Experience

Art and Craft