Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bacolod - Masskara Festival 2011

I was probably four when I first went to Bacolod. I vaguely remember having tasted sugarcane, and manually shifting the gears of a pick-up truck while my cousin drove.

Cut to 2011. I was back in Bacolod--this time for the Masskara festival.

From what I learned, the Masskara festival is a month-long celebration but my office mates and I chose to be there from Oct. 14-16 since there were lots of parades and competitions happening that weekend. 

Because it was too hot, we watched the parades at night!


Day 1 – Friday, Oct 14

-Arrive in Bacolod (hire FX from Bacolod-Silay airport to hotel)
-Check-in @ Business Inn
-Lunch at Manokan Country for authentic chicken inasal
-Desserts at Calea - must try their cakes!
-More desserts at Roli’s in Lopue's Mandalagan (Napoleones!)
-See The Ruins in Talisay City (via cab, 15 mins. away from Bacolod City)
-Visit Balay Negrense, an ancestral home, in Silay (via cab, 25 mins. from Bacolod City) 
-Watch electric masskara parade at night
-Dinner at Aboy’s for Pinoy sinugba. Their squid fat is also to die for.
-Street party at night 'til sawa 

Jeeps look like armor trucks!
(There's our hotel! Nearby ATMs nearby, too!)

What was left of the five cakes that we ordered in Calea

Traffic! Roads were starting to be closed in preparation for the parades and night activities.

The Ruins.
 Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson built this mansion in loving memory of his deceased wife Maria Braga after her death in 1911. The mansion was torched by the guerrilla fighters during WWII in 1942 and was burning for 3 days.

Debutante pictorial at Balay Negrense. I felt so embarrassed for her.

One of the electric masskara floats

Day 2 – Saturday, Oct 15 
-Brunch at Cafe Bob’s for pizza and pasta
-Tour Negros Museum near the lagoon and have merienda at the Museum Cafe
-Watch electric masskara parade at night
-Dinner at 21 for batchoy
-Street party at night ‘til sawa 

Artsy fartsy at the Museum Cafe.
The ginger-lime drink goes well with beer!

Sugar cane rum! Ask for a taste in the Museum Cafe.
Beware, it's so strong! Gumuguhit!

VERY crowded street party. There was a concert on every corner!
We couldn't go to Mushu anymore because it was too crowded.

Dance like no one's watching.
The Koreans seemed to be having the most fun at the street party.

Day 3 – Sunday, Oct 16
-Brunch at Pepe’s for salpicao and pesto chicken (in Sorrento)
-Mass in Ilonggo at San Sebastian Cathedral -- for experience
-Buy souvenirs and merienda at SM because it was just too hot to watch the street dance competition
-Take cab to airport
-Depart for Manila

View of San Sebastian Cathedral from the plaza

Inside the cathedral

Big masks being sold on the street. P300-P400

One of these is P70. Bought one for myself!

Tips and lessons learned:
  1. Buy plane ticket in advanced. It’s cheaper. We booked our flight in January. Tickets were P2,618 round trip without seat sale via Cebu Pacific. Chances are bleak to get plane tickets on seat sale in time for Masskara.
  2. Be prepared to sweat. Bring lots of panyo, your pamaypay or umbrella.
  3. Nap at night. This will energize you 'til the wee hours of the morning.
  4. Wear shoes for the street party. You don't want your toes stepped on.
  5. Be prepared to walk. Roads will be closed after lunch in preparation for the parades and street parties. Heavy vehicular and human traffic!
I suggest preparing P7.5k - P8k for the entire trip. Roundtrip airfare is around P2.5k (suppose you buy way in advance). While in Bacolod, I spent a total of 5k. This includes airport fees, costs for meals and transportation, accommodation and pasalubong. Of course, it helped that we traveled in a group.

Photo Bomb!
The stranger who took our photo thought the lady on top was part of our group!

Had a super fun and colorful weekend. I'm still full from everything we ate!

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