And just like that, Negros Season of Culture rounds out another year. This time, three inspiring features tug at the heartstrings of those who long to be home. Each, carefully selected to represent Integrity, Industry, and Innovation, core values that have carried Negrenses through adventures high and low, near or far.

Home furnishing designer Christina Borromeo-Gaston of Hacienda Crafts in Manapla, Negros Occidental, has collaborated with the Carmelite nuns of CM Bamboo Craft Centre based in Iloilo. With over half a century of creative work between them, these two design houses, habitues of Manila FAME shows, are launching a collection of Christmas tree ornaments. The artistic manipulation of bamboo veneers into Filipino-motif vignettes makes this holiday trims unique – what a way to bring the country to cosmopolitan living! Curated into themed collections, 18 hand-crafted ornaments attest to the integrity of the bamboo and the desire to tell the story of Philippine rural life. It is at once sophisticated and artisanal. Lean into nostalgia in “Bamboo Trimmings”.

The persistent lure of Negros to come home finally got this Oxford-bred pastry chef to roost, and perhaps for good. Born in Kabankalan City, Kaye Bello grew up in the UK but always longed to return. This was helped along by regular vacations to Negros. How she eventually became a pastry chef is a whole story on its own, suffice it to say that hard work, or industry served as the backbone of her journey. Chef Kaye apprenticed with the world’s most “Googleable” brands, including Gordon Ramsay and William Curley. Today at only thirtysomething, she runs Kalamay, a patisserie in the heart of Kabankalan serving delectable cakes and pastries, and winsome bonbons. Those and a “cup-a-tea”. Enjoy a hearty serving of Negros pride in “Home Sweet Home”.

Finish the line, “Christmas without music is like…”. Every city in the country has its company of homegrown music talents. Bacolod is no different. Mojo Nova is a band based here, with Tim de la Rama on drums, Joanne Bernal on vocals and percussions, Hans Samson on guitar, and Van Luceñara on keys. This month, Negros Season of Culture collaborates with Mojo Nova.

As survivors of a challenging time, the creative team of NSC wishes to herald the coming year on a note of hope. Enter innovation: The classic Negrense caroling song, “O Senyor Tagbalay”, which portrays Joseph in search of a place for Mary to give birth, is reissued by Mojo Nova with a modern arrangement. Because gratitude and good tidings are ageless. Against this lyrical backdrop, warm felicitations from Negrenses elsewhere in the world join Negros Season of Culture in saying, “thank you” for the year that was. Catch hope on

Malipayon nga Paskwa! Paghidaet sa Bag-ong Tuig. Merry Christmas! Peace in the New Year!

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