Bacolod’s 1st Rum Festival kicks off

Mayor Evelio Leonardia delivers a speech during the opening of Bacolod City’s first ever Rum Festival Saturday (Text and Photo by Bacolod City PIO)

BACOLOD City’s first ever Rum Festival kicked off at the Bacolod City Government Center grounds on Aug. 17, 2019.

In his speech, Mayor Evelio Leonardia said Bacolod is a “natural habitat of festivals” – the reason why the Rum Festival must be rightfully celebrated in the city.

Present during the opening was former councilor Em Ang, who authored the ordinance declaring the third week of August as Rum Festival celebration.

City Administrator John Orola, meanwhile, led the opening ceremony.

The celebration – which will run until Aug. 24 – was staged by the city government in partnership with Tanduay Distillers, Inc.

Rum is a distilled alcoholic drink made from sugarcane by-products, such as molasses, or directly from sugarcane juice. It is made through fermentation and distillation. Its distillate, a clear liquid, is usually aged in oak barrels.

The Rum Festival aims to highlight the local cuisine that goes great with rum as well as to honor the sugar industry and further promote Bacolod’s tourism.

“It is just fitting that the Bacolod City Government institute a festival to commemorate the contribution of rum in the sugar industry especially to the people of the city,” Ang told reporters in an earlier interview.

Competitions were held during the opening day.

The winners for each category were:


Culinaria Competition (appetizer and main dish category):

  • 1st – Dan Altarejos and Christian dela Cruz
  • 2nd – Benedict del Rosario and Jolito Pandac
  • 3rd – Raymond Jan Ledesma and Matthew Arthem Gelvoleo


Culinaria Competition (dessert category):

  • 1st – John Fred Olvido and Niel John Cortez
  • 2nd – Reviel Villapana and John Gerard Grey Jr.
  • 3rd – Jesus Samuel Solinap and John Alre Dales


Barrel Art Painting Competition:

  • 1st – Julius Añasca
  • 2nd – Rommel Cadigal
  • 3rd – Wen Treyes Quilisadio


Mixology Competition:

  • 1st – Laurence Emmanuel Conlu
  • 2nd – Harry Servancia
  • 3rd – Kate Jaraiza Tecso


The winners of the culinary and mixology contests received P25,000 for the champions; P15,000 for the first runners-up; and P10,000 for the 2nd runners-up.

The board of judges was composed of Sammy Nuarbe, president of Great Harvest Academy of Technical Skills, Inc.; Ricky Paiva, mixology guru from Singapore; Victoria Beckley, Sales and Marketing director of Peter Knapp Holdings Pte. Ltd. and director of World Gourmet Summit; Benedict John Uy of Planta Centro Bacolod Hotel, Daily Skillet and East Bites Restaurant; Don Colmenares, owner/chef of Berbeza Bistro; and Chef Nico Millanes of Terrasse Bistro, Portiko Café & Lounge, and Catch of the Day.

Aside from the culinary and mixology contests, this year’s Rum Festival also features street-dancing, and a 5K Run.

Meanwhile, the Rum Festival Food Bazaar is ongoing at the BCGC grounds until August 24.

Capping off the event is a float parade and a concert featuring Sandwich; Idol Philippines’ Dan Ombao and Miguel Ordon; rapper Mike Swift; and Bacolod’s Project Juan, Barbie na Doll, and Cali Island. (PIO)