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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Family Bonding at Masskara Festival, Bacolod City

Name of Trip: The Negros Island Navigation 2009
Date: October 18-21, 2009
Destination: Bacolod/Talisay/Silay cities & Murcia, Negros Occidental and Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental
Travel via: Air (Philippine Airlines), Land (van, tricycle and Ceres Liner bus)

Welcome to the City of Smiles!

Welcome to Bacolod City, the city of Smiles! We arrived at Rositas Pension House to drop our things and checked our rooms. Bacolod City was indeed a great city and it's been 2 years since my sister and I went here.

Bacolod City. Source: Wikipedia

We did not stayed the pension house a little longer since we were hungry that time. We started our trip in Bacolod City by having a breakfast.

First Stop: Cafe Felice - Sylvia Manor Hotel

Some of my friends that this cafe has one of the best breakfast served in Bacolod. We went there which was nearer to the downtown area (along San Juan St,). We arrived at the Cafe Felice and one of the crew greeted us and assisted to the table. He offered us affordable meals since there was a promo during that time: PHP150 which includes a breakfast meal, coffee/juice and dessert. Not bad since the hotel looked amazing. While we waited for our meal. we roamed around the lobby and took some photos:

Hotel logo

me at the front desk

wide space

me again

masskara on the wall

masskara at sides

Cafe Felice

right beside the hotel

waiting for our breakfast

breakfast time


picture again!

one more time!

back to van

picture inside the van

Next Stop: San Sebastian Cathedral

This was situated along the downtown area in Bacolod and just cross the Bacolod Public Plaza where the celebrated Masskara Festival took place. City's patron saint was San Sebastian. The church was one of the oldest in the province. We heard mass since it was Sunday. Good thing that the mass was in English.

church made of bricks and stones

another one

many church goers

inside the cathedral

nice ceilings

the other one in different colors

Next Stop: Negros Occidental Provincial Capitol

After we heard mass, we went to the northern part of the city and we visited the Provincial Capitol. Bacolod City was the capital of the province. But Bacolod already become a highly urbanized city so the city was governed independently from the province. It has huge park and we rested for a while and to take some photos.

that's the capitol


me and cousin Evy

me and my mother

Next Stop: ANP Showroom

Just cross Lacson Street from the capitol where we found the ANP Showroom. It was a souvenir shop or a one stop pasalubong shop. ANP means Association of Negros Producers. In this area, we found several products from different cities and towns in Negros Occidental that were truly made by Negrenses (the people in Negros Island). From t-shirts to handicrafts, to jewelry to key chains, to piyaya to muscovado sugar, everything we saw was made from this province.

Masskara galore!

uniquely designed masks

big mask greeted you at the door

me and the mask

they are behind those masks

the ANP showroon.

Next Stop: Bacolod City Government Center

This was situated on the other side of Bacolod. It was a city hall that has a touch of modern and neo-classical designs. Long before, the city hall was just located in the city proper with a smaller venue but this time it was times three size from their previous hall. As we went there, we saw a track of Masskara that were used during Electric Masskara the other night. Sadly, we weren't able to take part of that activity.

nice government center


masskara used for Electric Masskara the other night


it will be great during night

me and the government center

Next Stop: Masskara Showroom - Robinsons Place Bacolod

We went to the mall and since it's a festival, there was a showroom sponsored by ABS-CBN Bacolod about the different designs of Masskara. We were amazed about the creativity of masks. Take time to pick which one is the best because I myself had a difficult to choose because they were all nice! :)

Next Stop: Manokan Country - Lunch at Aida's

Since we were hungry and the best thing to eat authentic Negrense's cuisine was at Bacolod's Manokan Country. This was located infront of SM City Bacolod. It is one of the most crowded for both locals and tourist who were also craving like us the chicken inasal. The likes of Mang Inasal, Andoks, and the rest were already commercialized so we try something authentic. At this place, there were several stall but we chose the middle which is the famous Aida's. One of the best tasting chicken inasal. Prices range from PHP45 to PHP60. Waiting time was 20 minutes but the food served was extremely delicious. Kaon ta! (Let's eat!) :)

the name says it all



waiting for our inasal

hungry and waiting!

Trivia: They do not use spoon and fork here. There is a washing area complete with soap and water. So all you have to do is to wash your hands, then let it dry and start eating. That is the simplest way to eat inasal. Take note, all walks of life, whether you are rich or food, eat at this place with their bare hands. :)

Next Stop: The much awaited - MASSKARA FESTIVAL!!

After our sumptuous meal, we hurriedly went to Araneta Street to watch the street dancing competition of different barangays (districts) of Bacolod. Mang Jhun offered us to stay at the second floor to watch the full view of the parade. I agreed on that especially my mother and my nephew were also there and to prevent any commotion during the parade. We stayed at the second but my sister and cousin Aris went down and use their camera to take photos during the parade.

It was a busy time since the culminating of the festival and all were very happy to saw the festival on their own eyes. I myself was also ecstatic to see once again the festival but this time with my family. My cousin Evy asked if we could went down and see the parade up close. I agreed and I told my mother to stay there including my nephew. So we went down and saw the colorful masks and danced after danced after danced!! It's just like a carnival/mardi gras parade. Here are the photos and once again no caption since those pictures said it all! :)

Pictures overload!! But it was indeed more fun seeing it live!! :) Masskara Festival is one of my favorite festivals of the country. Very colorful and vibrant especially the people from the city of smiles really makes this festival lively! :)

Next Stop: Bacolod Public Plaza

The parade and street dancing competition lasted for 3-4 hours due to numerous districts competing each other for the top prize. We walked to the Public Plaza which was a short distance to see the final competition. While we walked, there were several souvenir shops that sells masskara memorabilia.  So we took some photos while walking:

It was also the time we saw some of the performers from different barangays or districts. I also hold their mask which I thought it was lighter but it's not. I think it weighed 3 kilos and it worn by the performers during the parade and the actual dance competition. Here are some of the pictures:

Final Stop: Pala-Pala

It was already night then and we were tired and hungry so we headed to Pala-Pala.  It is an Old Pala-Pala that everyone knew that place. It was located just behind the capitol building we went earlier. Cousin Evy also met her friend and former officemate who was a resident here in Bacolod. She joined us on our dinner. The place was like SuTuKil in Cebu and Dampa in Metro Manila. But the different was the goods are sold at very low price. We bought a kilo of squid for only 90 pesos that we asked to cooked for adobo and calamares. We also bought shrimp for 180 per kilo that we asked to cook for buttered shrimp and sinigang (tamarind soup), we also bought fish for inihaw (grilled). It was fun and we really enjoyed it! :)

Our day in Bacolod was so much fun. Fireworks everywhere since the festival was indeed successful and it had good weather all day. It was tiring but we really enjoyed the hospitality and smiles of Bacolod people. It was one of my memorable experiences here. We were hoping to be part of this festival soon! 

Kari na sa Bacolod! Kari na sa Masskara! (Come in Bacolod! Come in Masskara Festival!) :)

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