La Carlota City in the southwestern part of central Negros Island lies at the foot of sacred Mt. Kanla-on, the highest peak in Central Visayas. Home to one of the oldest and most prominent sugar mills in the province, producer of the fierce fighting cocks, a dreamland for nature lovers and a birthplace of the three world boxing champions.

     The rich cultural heritage of La Carlota is manifested through the celebration of the Pasalamat Festival, which falls every last week of April nearest to Labor Day.

     Pasalamat Festival is based on the tradition of giving thanks to gods of elements after a bountiful harvest by the ancient of Buglas. The city takes on a festive atmosphere during the weeklong celebration, which culminates with a Mardi Gras like parade of floats and caricatures. Dancers flirtatiously move to the rhythm created by the drumbeaters using carabao leather drums and percussion instruments made out of indigenous materials.

     The festival was first staged on May 1, 1980, after a series of calamities fall in Negros Occidental, particularly in La Carlota. The fire gutted the commercial district of the city, the Don Juan tragedy, the labor problem that triggered the workers of Central Azucarera de La Carlota to go on strike and eventually paralyzed the sugar company, and some other uncertain conditions prevailing in the early 80's.


    Conceptualized by the late Mayor Luis “Nonoy” Jalandoni Jr ., who himself composed the “Sambita” the original Pasalamat Beat, the festival started in just a simple merry making and street dancing to mark the end of the milling and harvest season to thank the Divine Almighty for His blessings.

     Pasalamat Festival has gone a long way and it is not merely a thanksgiving event but an affirmation of the indomitable spirit of La Carloteños.

    Outside Negros and Iloilo, the group has performed in Davao, Cagayan de Oro and Iligan in Mindanao, and in several hotels and NN sponsored activities in Manila. The group was the featured performer in Florikultura'98.

    The Department of Tourism also brought the Pasalamat Drumbeaters as part of the Philippine Delegation to the opening of the world exposition 2005 last April 25-30, 2005 in Aichi, Japan.


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