Yesterday, VIPs and members of the media in Bacolod had their first dibs on a variety of merchandise at the newly-opened Landers Superstore in The Upper East by Megaworld.
Beauty queen and actress Ruffa Gutierrez cheerily mingled and chatted with guests, local officials, shoppers and the media while going through every shelf of the premium membership store. Ruffa said she has been shopping in Landers because it is a one-stop- shop. Being a single mom, it is important to her that when she reaches the store, she can conveniently grab what her family needs, pay for it and head straight to work.
“Lahat talaga ng kailangan mo nasa isang lugar na (Everything you need is in one place). For someone like me that’s very busy, I’m a single mom, importante para sa akin na pagpunta mo, kuha ka lang ng kuha (it’s important for me to just get what I need),” she said.
Among her favorite sections of the store are where fruits and vegetables are sold and stuff for the house. She also shared “tipid tips” to mothers and homemakers like her.
“Siguro, pumunta kayo pag sale. Pag 8-8, 5-5 and 6-6 sale,” she added.
Greg Davis, chief executive officer and president of Landers, celebrity couple Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Guidicelli, Kevin Tan, chief executive officer, Alliance Global Group, Inc., the parent company of Megaworld, Atty. Lowell Yu, Landers chairman and Mayor Albee Benitez cut the ribbon that signaled the official opening of the premium membership shopping store in the city. Actor Jericho Rosales also graced the opening of the superstore.
The store building is situated near two condominiums and will also be connected to the soon-to-rise Upper East Mall through a bridgeway. According to Harold Brian Geronimo, Megaworld Vice President, these promising developments will further cement Megaworld’s The Upper East as a top destination in Negros Island.
“This is a milestone Landers because this is the biggest in the Philippines, the first in Region 6 and the second outside of Luzon. This is something that we can all be proud of. This will not only change the foot traffic but the way we see shopping. It’s a different kind of shopping. This is a superstore and this is the first ever superstore in the entire Negros Island,” said Geronimo.
Graham Coates, head of Megaworld Lifestyle Malls pointed out that one of the best features of the superstore its merchandise mix, particularly on non-food and fresh food. Coates added that what Landers prides itself on is bringing merchandise that is not available currently in Bacolod. However, aside from selling products that are sourced internationally, the premium membership shopping store also help local producers and entrepreneurs in the city.
“How proud are we to say that this is the largest in the Philippines. Really, I think, it shows the pent-up demand that has really been here in Bacolod,” he added.
The opening of Landers is stage 1 of the development said Coates and next year, they will be breaking ground on the shopping mall which will complement the superstore.
“If you have been to other townships, in Uptown Bonifacio, in Iloilo, you can see that when we develop a township, we will have a unique offering of stalls, national brands and restaurants. We just announced in North Hill that we are opening 5 international bistro concepts. So this is a flavor of what we will be doing in the future,” he added.
With these investments being brought to Bacolod, undeniably the city is a destination but a premiere destination that is a catalyst of progress in this part of the region.
A CELEBRATION OF THE ARTS, FOOD AND MUSIC
This year’s Rum Festival is bringing all creative talents of the people of Bacolod and nearby cities through different activities and competitions lined up from August 12 to 20. The yearly crowd favorite – flairtending and mixology contest is now a bigger event because the competition has been opened to contestants from different cities in the country.
Councilor Em Ang said the mixology competition will be nationwide and the grand winner will be competing in Singapore, representing the country. Ang said there will be competitions in selected local government units like Davao and Manila, among others.
Although it is still in its infancy, the Councilor said, the festival is gaining popularity among local governments.
“The festival is now being replicated by other LGUs. In fact, there are already LGUs that are in the process of creating a similar festival that they will call Rum Festival. From what I gather, I think Davao, Iloilo they’re interested to hold a similar festival. So, if that is not an indication that it has become more popular, I think that is a form of validation,” she said.
A culinaria competition on the other hand, will feature rum-infused food which will be exhibited at the BCGC Food Park. Meanwhile, the Barrel Art Competition will spotlight the artistic prowess of artists in Bacolod and its nearby cities in painting an old Tanduay barrel. All finished creations will be displayed in Ayala Malls Capitol Central, the contest venue.
Tanduay is partnering with the City of Bacolod in staging the annual festival. The City Tourism Development Office initiated a business-to-business component in festivals held in the city like the Rum Festival. Teresa Manalili, Chief Tourism Operations Officer, explained the B2B component enables event organizers and their partners to help the LGU promote the city as a destination.
“We initiated a business to business component in this festival, anchoring on promoting Bacolod City as a destination and also anchoring on the Rum Festival to entice people to come to the city. “The B2B component wherein our major partners are of course, our major partners are of course, the event organizer and Philippine Airlines as the official airline of this event, they will bring travel agents from Luzon, from Metro Manila Sales, from Visayas and Mindanao. They are top agents of PAL who will sell the city as a destination, and later on, formulate packages for Bacolod,” said Manansala.
Garry Homer Ong, National Marketing Manager of Tanduay Distillers expressed gratitude to the city government for helping make the festival one of the most anticipated events in the region.
“The Rum Festival is already popular, and the City of Smiles is the best place in the Philippines to hold it. Tanduay is grateful for Bacolod and the rest of Negros Occidental not just for the Rum Festival, but for providing us the quality sugarcane for our award-winning rums as well,” he said.
During the press conference at the Bacolod City Government Center on August 2, Mayor Albee Benitez said the LGU would like to make known that the home of the World’s No. 1 Rum is in the City of Smiles.
“This is a huge impact in terms of awareness of the City of Bacolod. Every time somebody drinks Tanduay Rum in another part of the country, they should be thinking of Bacolod,” said Benitez.
According to Charmaine Pahate, managing director of Eggshell Worldwide, Inc., said the nine-day celebration will be graced by celebrities like Derek Ramsay, Kylie Verzosa and Ely Buendia. Buendia will be having a concert with his band, singing Eraserheads songs.
The festival opening will be held at the BCGC on August 12.*