BACOLOD CITY – The City of Bacolod continues to showcase the Filipino-Indian culture and tradition through the Diwali Festival that will be held in various venues here on November 8-12.

Diwali, considered as India’s biggest and most important holiday held either in October or November each year, is being celebrated for the fifth year in Bacolod.

This year’s event kicked off Wednesday with a photo exhibit in keeping with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) theme dubbed, “Glimpse of India and the Influence on ASEAN Countries”.

Themed “Unity in Diversity”, the festival’s opening rites held at the SMX Convention Center, was led by Councilors Em Ang and Cindy Rojas, City Tourism Officer Ma. Elma Gerasmo, and Filipino-Indian community leaders Malkit Singh, Prim Signh, Haresh Nandwani, and Mona Buxani.

Ang, chairperson of the City Council Committee on Tourism, said the Diwali Festival continues to gain support and popularity throughout the years.

Bacolod is one of the few cities in the Philippines celebrating the Diwali, she added.

It has been institutionalized in the city and has become a regular annual affair, the councilor said as she thanked the local Indian community for relentlessly seeking the support of the city government in organizing the festival.

In Bacolod, the Filipino-Indian community, composed of more than 100 families, is engaged in various businesses and conducts medical missions and outreach programs.

Festival coordinator Haresh Chugani said the city government provided PHP1.2 million for this year’s Diwali Festival with other activities to be held at the Bacolod public plaza and Robinsons Place Bacolod.

The grand Diwali Festival Ball will be held at the SMX Convention Center on November 10. (PNA)