2020 marked the 130th year of the Province of Negros Occidental and the 40th anniversary of the MassKara Festival. It was envisioned to be the fitting climax for significant Negrense milestones that started in 2018 with the City of Bacolod’s 80th charter day commemoration and the 120th anniversary of the Republic of Negros.|

But 2020 was not meant to be a double celebration year for Negrenses. The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on humanity and inflicted the worst economic crisis since World War II. Both the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2020 World Expo Dubai had to be postponed to 2021, while many events and projects were cancelled across the globe.

This coffee table book project suffered delays in its production schedule. Producing the book in the middle of the pandemic posed challenges to the project team. The timeline was adversely affected by our inability to meet face-to-face amidst the world’s longest lockdown.

Through the magic of 21st century technologies, we hurdled most obstacles to complete this heirloom collectible for our fellow Negrenses.

Sugar and Smiles: The Negrense Legacy Beyond 2020 is a compilation of colorful stories on various facets of life in one of the Philippines’ premier provinces. It is by no means a sweeping history of Negros Occidental, although it includes chapters written by award-winning authors about events that have shaped the province over the past two centuries.

Illustrious Negrenses are featured throughout the pages of this resource book for present and future generations of Filipinos.