Iloilo’s Oktoberfest fails to dampen Masskara
THE SOUTHERN BEAT  - Rolly Espina () - October 16, 2007 - 12:00am

It may not have been deliberately intended to undercut the lure of the Masskara Festival. But  Iloilo City’s Oktoberfest may have lured Ilonggos to stay home, however, the Masskara Festival of Bacolod still attracted the attention of Panay residents, including Iloilo City.

Actually, it was just a low-key affair only every Friday at the ground floor of the Iloilo City Inn, in front of the St. Vicente Ferrer Seminary in Jaro district.

The offer – for every authentic German cuisine, it costs only P350 plus a free glass of iced tea. It tries to replicate locally the Oktoberfest of Germany.

Still, the Masskara Festival started to gather momentum over the weekend with the local dailies and radio stations bombarding Bacolodnon with drumbeat about bargain sales, salacious food and the dishes offered by restaurants and the performance of various singers and bands hailed as the best in delighting customers.

In short, it is a consumerist binge for Bacolodnons with street dancing and a lot of other interesting offerings for Masskara fans.

For example, Gaisano published a one-page supplement in a local daily outlining its scheduled presentations starting with “Lastikman” from Oct. 19 to Shamrock and Pupil on Oct. 20, and RJ Jimenez Band on the 21st. Then there is the Halloween trick or treat on Oct. 28 at the Atrium area at the basement.

Robinsons announced its midnight sale and its three-day October super sale starting Oct. 19. Even PO’s Marketing announced its Sparkling 45 raffle promo starting today.

SM started on Oct. 12 its Garden Show at the South Transport Terminal. The show sponsored by the Negros Occidental Garden Club will last until the 21st. Over at the Northwing Lobby, starting today there will be the Aton Ini Masskara Trade Fair, and at the Southwing Hall way, Ma Wheels Accessories Sale. On Oct. 19 will be the Fashion Forward, then Kapuso Mall Show with Dennis Trillo, Pauleen Luna and Paolo Ballesteros. This will be capped on Oct. 21, with the Kapuso Mall Show featuring Marimar with Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes.

Of course, there will be the Saturday Street Party along Rizal Street with Calla Lilly.

The focus on the festivities sort of brushed under the Our Lady of the Holy Rosary celebration of the Alangilan Parish on Oct. 7 with no less than Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra as the principal guest. Fr. Farley Santillan, however, made sure that the affair was not overlooked with a full page ad in the Visayan Daily STAR.

In short, everything revolves around Masskara. And there’s no earthshaking event that could distract Negrenses from enjoying themselves and doing away with their troubles as this festival was created primarily for them to forget their woes and drown them in gaiety and… well, drinks.

Unsafe bottled water

I am leaving for Iloilo City tomorrow to look into what the city officials are doing with the reported hundred water refilling stations lacking safety seals. Most of these water refilling stations were reported to have failed to pass safety tests, according to Dr. Urminico Baronda.

Tourism official Benito Jimena urged the health department to conduct examination to verify the treatment processes being undertaken by the refilling stations.

“We should not wait for tragedy to happen before agencies concerned look into the matter,” Jimena told the Panay News last week.

Dr. Baronda, on the other hand, advised residents to boil the water first before drinking.

CHO Sanitation Inspector Romeo Lustria said water refilling stations must first secure sanitary permit. This is a yearly requirement, he said.

The City Health Office reportedly had already called the attention of refilling stations to comply with the requirement. This testing he said, is done every six months.

But only a few water refilling stations are complying because of the rigid inspection process being enforced, he added.

Well, that situation poses a danger to water consumers and, especially tourists.

And that’s the reason why I am going to Iloilo tomorrow to see for myself what the city officials have done to ensure the safety of those taking in bottled water. Most of these come from water refilling stations.

I am sure that Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas will act expeditiously on the issue, although that is supposed to be the responsibility of the regional health office.

ADDEMDUM. Incidentally, the board of the Save Our Language through Federalism Sunday paid tribute to the efforts of Antique Gov. Sally Zaldivar-Perez to spur a revival of the Kinaray-a. Dr. Joey Daucadao, SOLFED president whose mother is from Pototan, was impressed by the unprecedented efforts of Gov. Perez to promote respect for Kinaray-a, which has led to a revival of its literature. She is an outstanding local executive, was how he termed her.

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