Sunday, October 1, 2017

#NTF32: Showcasing The Best of Negros at the 32nd Negros Trade Fair

Blessed by an abundance of natural resources and a robust agrarian-based economy, Negros remains the nation's prime producer and exporter of sugar. The fourth largest island in the country with its own unique cultural and culinary heritage, there's more to Negros than vast sugar cane fields, much more. Experience the art, colors, and flavors of Negros without leaving the the 32nd Negros Trade Fair.

Since 1985, the Negros Trade Fair has showcased the very best of Negros becoming the longest-running provincial trade fair held annually in Metro Manila for the past 32 years. With its aim of providing small and medium scale enterprises from Negros a venue and platform to exhibit their individual creativity and ingenuity to a larger audience and possible export trade, each edition seems to just get better and better. Read on and discover the uniquely Negrense spirit at the recently concluded 32nd Negros Trade Festival, and have your fill of regional favorites like piaya, kansi and inasal too...

Bringing the richness of its culture, arts, and culinary heritage to the metro, the 32nd Negros Trade Fair  allowed visitors to savor each element on the colorful tapestry in the Negrense experience with this year's theme, Food for Thought, at the Glorietta Activity Center in Makati last September 27 to October 1, 2017.

This year's edition of the Negros Trade Fair featured various booths where guests can explore, discover, and experience the famed island region's traditions and flavors, from natural and organic food, garments, fashion accessories, furniture, decor, house ware, agriculture, and tourism.

And when you visit the different booths at the 32nd Negros Trade Fair, you'll need the right bag for all your shopping...

...and you can find it at Domesticity,  a social enterprise founded by Mariel San Agustin (R) offering local handicraft products made from indigenous materials like pandan and sabutan.  From house ware to gift items, storage boxes and tabletop accessories, bags and office accessories, you can find it all here at Domesticity.

And here's a cooler deal. A portion of Domesticity's sales profits go to Gawad Kalinga's housing projects to support local families and communities (for more on Domesticity, visit their FB Page at With a cool bag from Domesticity, you're ready to shop at the 32nd Negros Trade Festival...

At the Silay Export Booth, one can find creative home accessories made with cogon grass, natural leaves and resin. Silay Export's founder, Reena Gamboa Pena, draws inspiration from a poem, to "make the ordinary come alive," and this can be  seen in each of her ornate designs (more at

Over at the Hacienda Crafts Booth,  visitors can admire old world weaving traditions and artisan craftsmanship using sustainable natural materials. From baskets to place mats  and ceramic bowls, each one exuding that rustic "hacienda" charm (more on their FB Page at 

For Precy Perez of Yssa's Crafts (more on their FB Page Slumped Bottles), it all started when a customer approached her with a photo of a flattened bottle and asked if she can make something like it. And the rest, as they say, is history. From chimes to trays and cheeseboards, who knew such beauty can come from old bottles?

Multi-awarded architectural and interior design consultants, furniture and furnishings manufacturer Art Energy transforms an ordinary cheese slicer into a functional art piece with its homey and rustic form, another must-visit booth at the 32nd Negros Trade Fair.

Let Catherine Hagad (L) of Art Energy show you around their extensive selection of handcrafted furniture and wooden home furnishings with modern designs, blending both old world and the new in a seamless blend. Form and function in one elegant piece, and a nice addition to any home (more on their FB Page at Art Energy).

At the recent 32nd Negros Trade Fair, one can't help but be amazed with the diverse  and wide array of products and the quality of craftsmanship  with each and every piece. It's a tribute to the creativity of the Negrenses, and a celebration of their rich cultural heritage. 

Evelyn S. Bautista (R) of Mamabel's Home Garden brings the flavors and natural healing powers from her garden in a variety of innovative products made from all-natural and organic herbs and medicinal plants (more on their FB Page at 

At Mamabel's Home Garden, you'll find unique products like the Mamabel's Panaceia, an all-natural antiseptic, germicide, anti-bacterial and germicide made with tea tree essential oils in handy containers... 

...a travel essential for your next trip. An all-natural germ-buster in your pocket, now how cool is that?

Other innovative products at Mamabel's Home Garden include this all-natural Tea-Tree Exfoliating Soap with Goat's Milk, just one of the many surprising finds at the 32nd Negros Trade Fair.

No Negrense experience is complete without some tasty bites, including some artisan cheeses from Casa Del Formaggio (L) with its wide range of Italian cheese (more on their FB Page at Casa Del Formaggio) and of course, the region's iconic Piaya (R), the muscovado-filled unleavened flatbread.

Not to be missed are the popular varieties of pork sausages from Ereneta-Manaloto Chorizo de BacolodCatherine Ereneta-Manaloto (L) proudly showcases her family's signature Recado, Hamonado, Bilog, and Pudpod Chorizo (R), each one made from cherished family recipes.

Perfectly seasoned, the savory richness of the chorizo delivers all the comforting flavors you love. Recado or Hamonado, Ereneta-Manaloto Chorizo de Bacolod is traditional breakfast fare in Negros, and you really can't go wrong with  it, so grab a pack or two. The Pudpod is a skinless chorizo variant that's great for topping on pasta, crisp crostini or simply garlic fried rice and egg. And it's good. Really good. Had a satisfying and hearty breakfast with this (more on their FB Page at

...and I can have this any time of day.

"The best quality organically grown foods from our farms to your homes," it's both a promise and a commitment from Fresh Start Organic & Natural. Ramon and Francine Uy (R) also support local farmers as well as eco-friendly and sustainable agricultural practices resulting in cleaner, richer and wholesome flavors with depth.

At the Fresh Start Organic & Natural booth, they make their artisan piayas the traditional and old-fashioned way, hand-rolling each piece using the freshest and all-natural organic ingredients. The classic Muscovado Piaya delivers a deep and rich sweetness with every bite, rounded out by the chewy dough for that familiar taste of Negros.  Here's an insider tip. Try their Chocnut Piaya too...

Other all-natural and organic products at Fresh Start Organic & Natural include wild rice, wild honey, coco sugar, muscovado, organic single-origin coffee and many more, just what you need for your very own fresh start (for more on Fresh Start Organic & Natural, visit their FB Page at

Feast your eyes on the colors of Negros with this elegant piece from Rubyline Ladies Fashion...

There's just something for everyone at the 32nd Negros Trade Fair. Eva Pauline Si Coruna of Chievs Stones & Crystals and Ruby Gealon of Rubyline Ladies Fashion (L) have all the goods to dress up your wife or girlfriend to the nines, from exquisitely designed pieces to fashion accessories.

Don't forget to bring home a special gift, and you'll find a number of interesting options at the 32nd Negros Trade Fair. 

Bacolod in a bottle, that's what you can find at Casa Carmela, another proudly homegrown company redefining heritage recipes. These bottled delicacies include Smoked Bangus in Chili Oil, Bangus Belly ala Pobre, Spicy Tuyo, Sinamak, Chicken Inasal Marinade and more, including innovative products like the Lechon Sisig Pate. Casa Carmela infuses traditional flavors with fresh, modern and inventive spins, making their products both exciting and flavorful. 

Can it get any sexier than this? Casa Carmela's Hot and Naked Sexy Squid is another popular product making waves at the recent 32nd Negros Trade Fair. Traditional flavors have never been this exciting. Or sexy.

Grab a pack of tasty nibbles from Casa Carmela, like their sweet and mildly spicy Crispy Dilis Chips, perfect with an ice-cold beer (more on Casa Carmela on their FB Page at

April Lacson-Justiniani (L) shares her family's love for food with Ading's Gourmet Tuyo, dried shredded herring with olives, capers, and garlic vinegar in olive oil, perfect with pasta, salad, toasted crostini, or garlic rice, it's a hearty meal in a jar. Ading's offers a range of gourmet tuyo and chorizo packed in jars.

The spicy variant will make you go for some extra garlic fried rice, and why not. The heat lingers without overpowering your palate, capped by the distinct salty notes of the dried fish. Just perfect. It's a taste of heritage, prepared by an Ilonggo chef from a family that loves food. And the love is bottled in each and every jar (for more on Ading's Gourmet Tuyo, check out their FB Page at

How about some piaya with a flavorful twist? Sir Jess takes the traditional piaya to flavorful new heights with their inventive Oregano and Basil Pesto variants. And it works.

Wash it all down with their sweet and citrusy Calamansi Premium Juice Drink or the Sara-Sara Organic Red Rice Brew with Lemon Grass for that perfect finish (more on Sir Jess on their FB Page at Like many successful businesses, Sir Jess started small, joining local trade fairs and expos. It's grown since then, adding to the diversity of rich flavors of Negros.

The classic brioche bun baked with butter and topped with cheese and sugar, the ensaymada, has always been a favorite. And in Bacolod, there's one name that resounds and comes top-of-mind when it comes to ensaymadas. And that's Felicia's with their signature moist, fluffy and buttery ensaymada.

Soft to the bite, a buttery richness bursts and coats the palate, followed by the distinct notes of the cheese and capped by a whisper of sweetness for delicately balanced flavors. Brng home a dozen for a whole lot of love (for more on Felicia's, visit their FB Page at

All that shopping can build up a serious appetite despite the many tasty bites along the way at the 32nd Negros Trade Fair. No worries. Aida's Chicken is the perfect final stop for a hearty meal of traditional Negrense flavors.

The signature Chicken Inasal (above), with its glistening annatto-infused oil glaze is tender and juicy, with its charred outer layer adding bold smoky notes. Pair it with a comforting bowl of their Kansi (L), a refreshingly tart soup with bone marrow and tender beef shanks, tamarind, annatto, and lemon grass that hits the spot with every sip. 

It's the end of another successful edition of the Negros Trade Fair, and fond memories linger on the rich diversity of sights and flavors of one of the country's famed regions. Thirty-two years and still going strong, I can't wait for next year's 33rd edition...

For more on the recently concluded 32nd Negros Trade Fair, check out their FB Page at and website at

Dude for Food is now on Facebook and Instagram, check out the FB Page and IG Feed for regular updates on good eats. Better yet, click "Like" and "Follow" and enjoy the ride...just look for the FB and IG widgets on the right sidebar. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Got something to share? I'd love to hear from you...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...