As fireworks lit the sky on that beautiful clear night, I thought to myself, the Naga X launch was a fitting celebration for the recent milestones in our married life – a way to celebrate one year since we started our travel business and two years since we moved to Naga City. The fireworks capped an evening of kinalas, hilot sessions and an amazing cultural presentation depicting the devotion to Our Lady of Penafrancia (our first time to see Naga College Foundation’s show and hopefully, not our last).
“Naga eXcursions” or “Naga X” is an initiative of the public and private sectors in the area to put Metro Naga (the city and the municipalities around it) out there as the tourism hub for Bicol and the best place to go for eco-adventures, pilgrimages and food trips for friends and families. A consortium made up of local entrepreneurs from the different hotels, restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops, the transport sector and other hospitality-related industries have banded together to make a unique and memorable trip for visitors that come to experience the excursions we have to offer.
The plaza was alive with each of our senses tickled by something uniquely ours. The people strolling around came from all walks of life but they shared a common heritage that is often overlooked. That evening was meant to celebrate this heritage and spark the interest of the heirs of everything we are offering to our guests.
Nikko’s Ark by Jellato had pasta and pizza ready for the spectators at the plaza. There was kinalas and kalesa rides around centro. There was an amazing flair bartending exhibition and an open bar by Open Bar. The Oragon Photography Club had a photo booth up and the Naga City Art Gallery had their pieces on display – both capturing Naga’s smiles in photos and in sketches.
That evening, the Metro Naga Development Council (MNDC), the Metro Naga Association of Travel Tour Operators (MENATTO) together with the Arts, Culture Tourism Office of the city also launched the tour packages that we will share with the world. There is so much for people to do in three days and two nights here – from appreciating the history and architecture of our churches to ziplining, swimming and trekking in Panicuason and Malabsay Falls. In fact, three days and two nights aren’t enough to do everything you’d want to do (or eat everything you want to eat).
Hiding J underneath one of the tents, I watched the people in the plaza stare at the heavens. People gathered in Plaza Rizal for the launching of Naga X – the cause for the celebration, the fanfare and the fire in the sky. A father and his little girl on a bicycle drove through the crowd, absent-mindedly pedaling, distracted by the event. Naga X is actually about him, his daughter, and everyone there.
X marks the spot. The real treasure of Metro Naga is the people who will benefit from the tours, the jobs that are created and the pride of place that will be strengthened. The launch was done in the plaza for all to see, appreciate and enjoy. Naga X is for them, for us, for J.
The more our little Nagueno sees and knows of his home, the more he will love it and appreciate the collective history he shares with the people who surrounded him that night. Those who love deeply, share more passionately. And that is what we look forward to – that J grow up, aware of his heritage, proud of his roots and one with his people. That this next generation, our own generation X, grow more knowledgeable of the treasure they have and aware of the treasure that they are.