BACOLOD, PHILIPPINES — Every city has its secrets, even a small and charming one such as Bacolod. As the capital of Negros Occidental, Bacolod is known for its smiling people and the Masskara festival. There is, however, more than meets the eye to this provincial city, and the locals know it full well– especially when it comes to their cuisine. And trust us, it’s more than just chicken inasal.
This is where Eat! Bacolod comes in, a passion project born from the collaboration between Headrush and Grilled Cheese Studios. The former is a production company that brings various celebrations of music and arts to the City of Smiles, such as the Negros Love Dance Festival. Meanwhile, the latter is a group of professional storytellers that create visually engaging and timeless films, for both personal celebrations and brand undertakings.
To discover more about EAT! Bacolod, adobo Magazine sits down with Ryan Saez, founder and Producer of Headrush Bacolod. In this exclusive interview, he talks about their new project, and how, beyond a celebration of food, it is a celebration of our bayanihan culture.
Hi Ryan! Let’s start with the origin story; what is EAT! Bacolod, exactly, and what’s the concept behind it?
Yes, I’d love to talk about this. EAT! Bacolod, in partnership with Globe Telecom and Pepsi, will take you on a virtual food tour through a series of videos, featuring some of the best spots and flavors that remind people of Bacolod. Our lineup is a combination of the most popular restaurants, exciting new concepts, and promising small businesses.
When it comes to our purpose, we wanted to create a platform where we can promote food tourism, and hopefully help some of the local businesses and establishments that were affected by this pandemic.
Food is crucial to the identity of Bacolodnons, and I’m excited to go on this virtual experience. How many volumes do you plan to release?
We’re planning, more or less, 5 volumes– but we’re still trying to cover as much ground as we can in the city’s gastro scene. We plan on releasing them in the coming months of 2021, with the first volume posted on our Facebook page just recently.
Definitely something to look forward to. I’m just curious, is there a reason you wanted to pursue this now, given our current situation because of COVID19?
As mentioned, the pandemic is actually one of the main reasons that we are doing this. It is a small step, but we will do what we can to help the local scene recover, be it in the arts, music, or businesses. After all, these are the same things that sustain us.
We always believe that everyone will prosper if we keep watering our own backyard, and if we keep curating and sustaining our local ecosystem.
Well said, Ryan. Moving forward, can you share some of the interesting things you’ve tasted or discovered through EAT! Bacolod?
Well aside from the seasoned ones and crowd favorites, we also discovered some new concepts with immense potential. Just at the top of my head, I enjoyed the Mexican food from Tacos Ni Toti, the batchoy at Fivestar Batchoy, the all-day breakfast of Pan & Jam, and the Korean bread of Madam’s Bakeshop. These are some, from a list of many, hard-hitters worth mentioning.
Ultimately, what do you want to accomplish with this project?
This is a sentiment that’s been echoed all throughout the pandemic, but we really just want to encourage people to support local. Whether it’s the food scene or any other kind of business, this mindset and this practice would benefit us all.
This is how we can show our solidarity and support for one another, so come on– let’s EAT! Bacolod.