All set for Bacolaodiat Festival 2023

(From left) Bacolod City Tourism Officer Maria Teresa Manalili, Councilor Jason Villarosa, Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez, Bacolaodiat Inc board members Jennifer Gochangco-Ong and Emily Go-Villanueva.

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo “Albee’ Benitez hopes that this year’s Bacolaodiat Festival will bring back the confidence of the people to start moving around doing their normal chores because worldwide “we are slowly going back to normal activities.”

Benitez expressed his optimism in a press conference with Bacolaodiat Festival 2023 organizers at the MassKara Hall of the Bacolod City Government Center Friday.

“I hope this will also be the start of better years to come and signal that we are now back to moving around with normal behavior, and hopefully this will bring good luck sa aton tanan.”

With the mayor in the press conference were Bacolaodiat Inc board members Jennifer Gochangco-Ong and Emily Go-Villanueva and Crispin Chua as well as Councilors Jason Villarosa and Councilor Vladi Gonzales and City Tourism Officer Maria Teresa Manalili.

Villanueva said that the city government has extended financial assistance of P3 million for the Chinese New Year Festival which will start on January 20-22, 2023.

There will be four venues for the festival activities – Bacolod City Government Center, Megaworld Upper East, SM City Mall, and the Yuan Thong Temple.

A pre-launch of the festival will also be held at SM Mall on January 15, 2023.

The three-day Bacolaodiat Festival 2023 will highlight the Year of the Rabbit which is believed to offer opportunities for contemplation, rest, and nurturing of body and soul, Go-Villanueva said.

“We are optimistic and it is our aspiration that the comeback of the Bacolaodiat Festival this year will be more vibrant, happier and meaningful to everyone considering that we are easing out of the pandemic,” Bacolaodiat Festival Chairman John Stephen Sy said.

The festivities will officially kick-start on Jan. 20 with a Dazzling Grand Parade from Megaworld’s The Upper East to the Bacolod City Government Center (BCGC).

Tsinoys, city officials and students from Chinese schools are expected to participate in the parade.

Furthermore, the Ceremonial Lighting of Lanterns and Lotus, Cultural Show, and the anticipated Sparkling Symphony of Lights (Fireworks) are to take place after the Cultural Show at the BCGC.

Festival goers and food enthusiasts are expected to troop to The Upper East at 4:00 pm on Jan. 20 for the opening of the Imperial Village and the Chopsticks Alley, which will feature Chinese cuisines and Filipino street food favorites.

The Lantern Street Dance competition is scheduled on Jan. 21 and winners will be awarded on Jan. 22 at SM City Bacolod, another festival site.

The Dharma Prayer at the Yuan Thong Temple will happen at 10:30 pm on Jan. 21, the eve of the Chinese New Year.

Other activities lined up that are expected to gather crowds include the Lunar Music Festival, Mascot Parade and Falcor Marketing Corporation’s Dog Fashion Show at the BCGC.

The Bacolaodiat Festival will once again showcase its famous Chopsticks Alley which will be strategically located at the Bacolod City Government Center (BCGC) and Megaworld’s The Upper East during the City’s celebration of the Chinese New Year from Jan. 19-22.

This is the first time that the festival will have two venues for its famous food walk and night market which typically features Chinese culinary delights and Filipino street food favorites.

“Among the many things we are delighted about is our partnership with Megaworld and the Bacolod City Government for the Chopsticks Alley which we expect will be patronized and visited by the general public in January,” Bacolaodiat Inc. Chairman John Stephen Sy said.

Bacolaodiat, the biggest citywide celebration of the Lunar New Year outside of Chinatown Manila, will also feature the return of the Lantern Street Dance Competition, the Imperial Village, and the Chopsticks Alley among others.

The celebration in January will be the 18th edition of the festival since its inception in 2006.

The Bacolaodiat Festival aims not only to bring the Chinoy community and Bacolodnons together but also to introduce Lunar new year practices to the general public.