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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, November 4, 2013
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Diwali fest opens
BY CHRYSEE SAMILLANO

The Diwali or Festival of Lights being celebrated by Filipino-Indian communities in Bacolod City and Negros Occidental, was officially launched in Bacolod City yesterday.

Bacolod Mayor Monico Puentevella, Diwali festival chairman Haresh Chugani and his fellow Indians opened the Festival at the Punjabi Khalsa Diwan, Indian Sikh Temple at Hervias, Bacolod City yesterday.

Puentevella and Councilor Jocelle Batapa-Sigue offered their respects to the Sikh Temple by wearing the paggdi. or turban and dined Indian cuisine served at the Temple lawn together with Hiligaynon speaking Indians.

Inside the temple stood Baba Ji Ranjit Singh and his interpreter, Rawinder Vic Singh, who narrated the story of the Diwali Festival.

Singh said, the celebration dates back to 1595 in Punjab’s largest city – Amritsar City. It is also considered as the spiritual center of the Sikh religion and the birthplace of the Siri Harmandir Sajib, the Sikh’s Golden Temple.

Puentevella said this is one tourism program of the city which he hopes will lure other Indian nationals from other parts of the country and the world to come to Bacolod. They can probablyinvest or retire here which will help contribute to the economy of the city because it is the Indians and the Chinese who are doing well economically.

“Bacolod is blessed and has always been spared from natural calamities and we owe it to God Almighty,” he said.

Indians have big businesses in Singapore and Hong Kong,he said adding that he will make sure Fil-Indians will have a place in Bacolod
and they will give credit to those who have contributed to the growth of the local economy by helping the city provide employment and capital to small entrepreneurs.

Chugani and his fellow Indians had their prayers at the Sikh temple andcooked Indian cuisines to serve to those who came for the Diwali Festival yesterday.

"There are 32 Sikh temples in the Philippines and this is the best temple. We are very religious persons.We also give part of what we earn in the service of the Church and to charity,” he said.*CGS

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