Arts & Culture
What You Can Expect at This Year's Negros Trade Fair
This year's Negros Trade Fair theme is one that will be enjoyed by many. “Food for Thought” will highlight the very popular Negrense cuisine.

To launch the 32nd edition of the nation's longest-running regional trade fair, Nena Vargas Tantoco, a proud Negrense and Negros Trade Fair patron invited guests to an afternoon of Negrense food and drink at her Sta. Elena residence, Villa Marina.

Villa Marina at Sta. Elena Golf & Country Estate

Left: Signs bearing spiritual well-wishes are commonplace at Villa Marina; Right: Nena Vargas Tantoco designed the table setting using products from the Negros Trade Fair

Keeping with the theme, the luncheon’s guests were treated to a cooking demonstration by Bacolod native Chef JP Anglo of SARSA fame. The celebrated chef started off by cooking hala-an curried guinamos sa gata which was followed by squid ink tuyo batwan pancit with crispy crablets, both using products from the Negros Trade Fair. Guests then feasted prepared by Katrina Legarde of Chicken Sarap.

Chef JP Anglo starts his cooking demonstration

Nena Vargas Tantoco and Chef JP Anglo with the finished dishes

The annual trade fair puts the spotlight on proudly made Negros products including natural and organic food, garments, fashion accessories, furniture, décor, houseware, agriculture, and tourism. This year, Negros Trade Fair’s “Food for Thought” will highlight Negrense cuisine and food products.

Stephanie Zubiri-Crespi

Patty Laurel

The Negros Trade Fair organizers invited five out of the fair’s 72 exhibitors to share their humble beginnings and many advocacies. KitKat Cusi Lobaton of Kiculo shared how her brand is able to give livelihood to the wives of sugarcane farmers, Mariel San Agustin of Domesticity spoke about her brand’s continuous collaboration with Gawad Kalinga beneficiaries, Mike Claparols of Creative Definitions discussed their employment of Negros Nine weavers from the mountains of Kabankalan City while Doreen Alicia Peña of Silay Export took the time to share how the collapse of the world sugar industry gave birth to their brand.

Association of Negros Producers Members (from left to right): Michael Claparols of Creative Definitions, Mariel San Agustin of Domesticity, Reena Gamboa-Pena (Silay Exports), and Banj Claparols

The Negrense Volunteers for Change (NVC) Foundation’s Josephine G. Ruiz discussed the group’s efforts, focused on nutrition, education, and livelihood. Since its inception, NVC has grown exponentially and has supplied more than 6,018,550 meals of Mingo (an instant blend from rice, mongo, and moringa or malunggay) as well as 1,474 backpacks to impoverished students, 4,913 motorized boats to fishermen, and 571 tools of trade to help uplift the poor.


Left: Daphne Osena-Paez; Right: Pepper Teehankee

Patty Laurel, Cat Juan Ledesma, and Bianca Reinoso

Afterwards, the matriarch led guests to her den, and making use of her experience as a visual merchandiser she presented a curated selection of clothing, shoes, accessories, jewelry, and décor from the upcoming fair. Here are just but a few of the things you can look forward to on the 32nd Negros Trade Fair:

The 32nd Negros Trade Fair runs from September 27 to October 1 at the Glorietta Activity Center, Glorietta 3, Ayala Malls, Makati. For more information, log on to

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Paolo Chua
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