The Food Festival That Showcased The Best of Negros' Food - Namit Namit Food Festival


Filipinos are always known throughout the world for their hospitality. However, when it comes to entertaining guests and showcasing culinary ability, one can count on the Negrenses, the gentle people from Negros Island to turn up the hospitality by notches.

That's precisely what happened over the last weekend at the Namit Namit Food Festival at the Hidalgo Drive in Rockwell Center, Makati. Rockwell Center Bacolod and the University of St. La Salle Alumni Association - Manila chapter, blocked off the mall driveway, set up a large tent for cover, and brought in eleven (11) iconic Negrense food brands to showcase the delectable food of the province known as the Sugar Bowl of the Philippines.

Joel Torre and his team from JT's Manukan (Joel Torre photo)

Dubbed as the first ever Namit Namit Food Festival, the culinary happening allowed visitors to taste authentic chicken inasal as brought by Bacolod Chicken Inasal, JT's Manukan (of Joel Torre fame), and Inasalan sa Dalan. Kansi by Pat-Pat's Kansi, and Sate Babi of Bob's Bacolod was there too. Heirloom Negrense recipes were available for the guests to partake of like the hams from Grem's Deli, Paella and Callos from Manolo's of Chef Manny Torrejon, and the to-die-for Morcon of Sir and Ma'am, a half-century roadside eatery in the heritage city of Silay.

Desserts were also feasted upon with Quino's signature pastry, the puffyani, and always out of stock due to so much demand was the original Napoleones, a dessert made of puff pastry layered with pastry cream and glazed on the top, from Roli's.

Overall, the vibe was that of a three day reunion of Negrenses, Ilonggos, and friends. The highlight of the food festival was the Saturday afternoon celebration of the Negros holiday, Cinco de Noviembre, which comemorates the time when the Negrenses revolted against the Spanish and became a short lived republic, even ahead of the Republic of the Philippines.

Former Comelec Commissioner Rowena V. Guanzon with Chef Gaita Fores.

Former Comelec Commissioner Rowena V. Guanzon, Former Miss International Aurora Pijuan, Miss World Philippines 2022 Gwen Fourniol.

On that day, notable Negrenses came to the Namit Namit Food Festival which included Miss World Philippines 2022 Gwen Fourniol, whose mother hails from Kabankalan. Ms. Aurora Pijuan was there, Chef Gaita Fores was there, and the sensation on social media, ex-Comelec Commissioner Rowena V. Guanzon. Not to be missed were those from showbiz who lent their support. Ronnie Lazaro, Jaime Fabregas, Edu Manzano, and not to be missed as he was always around the booth of JT Manukan, was Joel Torre.

DICT Undersecretary Jocelle Batapa-Sigue had an imromptu picnic in the garden with tech startup founders. And, Makati Councilor Ina Sarosa of Makati was beaming with a wide smile as she attended Namit Namit on the first and third day.

Makati City Councilor Ina Sarosa enjoying an "isol" at the Namit Namit Food Festival. (Councilor Ina Sarosa Facebook Page).

There were constant lines to all the food merchants including Bob's Restaurant, which has been a food icon in Bacolod since 1965.

A resounding success for a first time event, we hope to see more of this Namit Namit Food Festival in the future as brought last weekend by Globe One App, San Miguel, and Don Papa Rum.

Joel Torre with Bing Guanzon

Complete list of food outlets in the Namit Namit Food Festival:

1. Manolo’s of Chef Manny Torrejon
2. Bacolod Chicken Inasal
3. Sir & Ma’am
4. Inasalan sa Dalan                              
5. Pat-pat's Kansi
JT’s Manukan  
7. The original Roli's Napoleones
8. Quan
9. Bob's
10. Quino's
11. Grem's Deli

The Titas of Rockwell were the early attendees as the Namit Namit Food Festival opened on Friday morning, November 4, 2022.

The final table which closed out the Namit Namit Food Festival on Sunday evening : USLSAA Alumni Association Manila Chapter President Lloyd Tronco, Joel Torre, 2020 Tatler Dining Chef of the Year Tom Bascon, Chef Manny Torrejon of Manolo's, Marlene Monfort of Marlene Mofort Pastries, an Edu Manzano.

The original Roli's Napoleones

University of St. La Salle Alumni Association Manila Chapter officers, Lloyd Tronco (L) and Rudy Villar Jr. (R) with Joel Torre and Maricel Pangilinan-Arenas.