Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Colors and Flavors of Bacolod

We arrived in Bacolod at 3PM. Except for the air turbulence, it was an uneventful trip. Not that I am wishing for delays or disasters. The weather was good and everyone was in high spirits. After gathering our bags, we all headed down to Bacolod Pavilion Hotel, registered and took a rest before hitting the town for some sight seeing. The itinerary was The Ruins, dinner and a walk back to the hotel.

The Rizal Library librarians, Karryl Sagun and Shielski Montenegro, efficiently attended to our needs and joined us for a late afternoon trip to The Ruins.

I have read and heard good things about the The Ruins in Bacolod so, it was in my To See list. Well, indeed, it was what I expected it to be, a haunting beauty. After a series of picture taking at the The Ruins, we headed to Aida's for dinner. The chicken inasal was divine! We ate using our hands for there were no silver ware set on the table. The experience of eating chicken inasal sans fork, knife and spoon was satisfying! Fresh oysters were served on the side.

This maskara is one of the many decorations at Aida's. The Masskara Festival is celebrated every October in Bacolod. The colorful accessories, beads and blings, as well as the maskara itself, are intriguing elements I plan to use for a future storytelling gig.

This maskara has become a cultural icon of Bacolod.

In the 1980s, Negros was affected by the depletion of the sugar industry and a tragic sea accident, the sinking of the ship Don Juan, that killed nearly 700 Negrenses and Bacolodnons. As a strategy to cope and pull through tough times, the local government unit took the opportunity to use the city's monicker, City of Smiles, into an art form that depict smiling faces on masks.  Thus, the MassKara Festival was born. Since then, it has become a tourism strategy that uniquely identifies Bacolod from the rest of the Visayan islands.

Mass means multitude. Kara is Spanish for face. A multitude of smiling faces. That's Bacolod! That's the Philippines!


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