500 cops to secure Bacolaodiat Festival


Some 495 personnel of the Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) will secure the 2024 Bacolaodiat Festival, the city’s celebration of the Chinese New Year, on Feb. 9 to 11.

The festivities, which will usher in the Year of the Wood Dragon, will return to the original festival site at the tourism strip along Lacson Street and the North Capitol Road.

Capt. Joel Portos, deputy chief of the BCPO operations management unit, said the deployment of forces will begin on Feb. 8, which will also signal the activation of the city joint operations center.

DRAGON DANCE. A group of youngsters perform the traditional dragon dance during the 2023 Bacolaodiat Festival in Bacolod City on Jan. 22, 2023. This year’s Chinese New Year celebration will be held on Feb. 9 to 11 at the main festival site in the tourism strip along Lacson Street and the North Capitol Road. | Bacolaodiat Inc. photo

“Everything is in place in terms of the security and safety preparations for the upcoming three-day event. The BCPO has activated its security plan,” Portos said in a press briefing at the Bacolod City Government Center (BCGC) Feb. 1.

He added that at least 300 force multipliers will augment the police forces in securing the festival-goers.

Bacolaodiat Inc. board member Oddette Gomez said that before the festival begins on Feb. 9, pre-festival events will be held, starting with the Chinese New Year kickoff at SM City Bacolod, on Feb. 4.

On Feb. 6 and 7, the Bacolaodiat-Table Tennis Legends Association of Bacolod tournament will be held at the Ayala Malls Capitol Central, while the judging of the Dragon Lantern Making Contest will be staged at Megaworld’s The Upper East on Feb. 8.

The main festivities will start on Feb. 9 with the Bacolaodiat Street Dance Competition at 4:30 p.m., featuring six contingents dancing along 13th to 5th-Lacson streets, followed by the opening of the Chopsticks Alley and the Imperial Village at 5:30 p.m.

On Feb. 10, major events will include the conferment ceremony designating tycoon Lucio Co as the adopted son and honorary mayor of Bacolod at the BCGC, and the Bacolaodiat Lantern Dance Competition in the evening.

On the final day, the winners of the street and lantern dance competition will be announced at 4 p.m. at the North Wing Atrium of SM City Bacolod, and the awarding ceremonies for special events will be held at the North Capitol Road at 6 p.m.

It will be followed by performances from the San Carlos City Chamber Orchestra and Vocal Ensemble at 7 p.m.

Councilor Jason Villarosa, chairperson of the Sangguniang Panlungsod Committee on Tourism, invited both Bacolodnons and Negrenses to take part in this year’s Bacolaodiat Festival.

“This is the only Chinese New Year celebration in Negros Occidental. This is one of the major events in Bacolod, come join us and have fun,” he added.

Now on its 19th year, the festival got its name from the words “Baco” for Bacolod, and “Lao Diat,” a Fookien word for celebration. | PNA