Travel With Ysabel: Bacolod’s Masskara Festival

2014 is about taking that extra leap. This year, I’m happy to say that I have done so much now that I am no longer in the minor bracket. It feels liberating, but you take hold of much more responsibilities. One of them is flying far away from my family for a couple of days (hey, that’s a start for me). This year, I flew with my best friend Angela to Bacolod City to celebrate the Masskara Festival.

IMG_3162

IMG_3286IMG_3114IMG_3054IMG_0041IMG_3105IMG_3074

IMG_3113IMG_3112

FIRST DAY: We arrived Bacolod at around 8:30 pm. Angela and I headed straight to Lacson St. where food bazaars await hungry travellers. Angela and I ate sumptuous grilled dinner by Grill Guru. We tried the sautéd chicken barbecue, chicken teriyaki and the same kind too in pork. We could not tell the difference between which, it was THAT good! Sulit meals with high quality taste! Angela and I ended up eating 4-6 six barbecue sticks (2 sticks/meal). Even as early as Friday, loud music blasted from the speakers. Masskara has officially begun!

SECOND DAY: Angela and I barely had sleep this week due to our busy week (we even came straight to the airport from school.) We slept the whole afternoon to hype ourselves up for Love Dance that night. We went to The District for diner at Uncle Bobs and went to Lacson Street to explore more food stalls and of course, purchase our own masks. We then headed off to Love Dance in which we danced the night away in muddy puddles and feet!

IMG_3139 IMG_0095 IMG_3146 IMG_0098 IMG_0102 IMG_0104 IMG_0108

Best friends think alike, don’t you? We have almost similar masks. Mine got a lot of compliments that night! 😛

IMG_0115 IMG_0124 IMG_0127 IMG_0245 IMG_0246

THIRD DAY: It would probably be the most memorable day I had in Bacolod. Tita Helen, the owner of the house we slept in, took us to the Manokan Country in which Bacolod takes pride for its famous chicken inasal. If there was one thing I did not mind eating for days, or weeks, it would be the Inasal! No other inasal cooked in other areas of this country compares to the ones of Bacolod. I ended up eating 2 pa-a‘s (thigh) and 2 pak-paks (wings), woops! I also met up with LLS friends (see more about that herebased in Bacolod Nate and Thely who brought us to see colorful and vibrant Masskara parade.

IMG_3163

Oh my gosh, I cannot agree more.

IMG_3164


IMG_0150 IMG_3166 IMG_3170 IMG_0153

The best way to eat inasal? The Filipino way – using our hands!

IMG_0157

Thank you so much to Tito Manuel and Tita Helen for taking us here and for taking care of us during our stay in Bacolod!
IMG_3171

IMG_3172 IMG_3177 IMG_3187 IMG_3190 IMG_3195 IMG_0164 IMG_3211 IMG_3219 IMG_3227 IMG_3233 IMG_3238

The parade would be the most colorful event I have ever seen in my life. The huge mascots are made by fine arts students of Bacolod and are judged based on creativity, resources, etc. They showcase these around the city. The parade, on the other hand, lasts for about an hour or two. These dancers are residents from each barangay (village) in Negros. They prepare the costumes and dances as early as March and they have sponsors. They get paid, but they moreover look at the joy and fun of showcasing talent and give justice to what makes Masskara a spectacular event. Masks are heavy but beautifully crafted. Check out those bell bottoms and funky OOTD’s! The word ‘Masskara’ was actually coined from the words “mass” (many/multitude of the people) and the Spanish term “kara” (face). Now I see why Bacolod City is called the City of Smiles.

IMG_3243 IMG_3250 IMG_3251 IMG_0178 IMG_3262
IMG_3271 IMG_0183 IMG_3276 IMG_3282 IMG_3291 IMG_3299IMG_3259 IMG_3285

After the parade, we got hungry (AGAIN) and headed off to Calea, another pride of Bacolod. Known for its cakes, Calea will be sure to satisfy every sweet tooth and make you crave for more.

IMG_3306 IMG_3308 IMG_3315 IMG_3316 IMG_3317 IMG_3318 IMG_3321 IMG_3322

IMG_3323

And to conclude the trip, Masskara’s Invasion! It was at Lacson Corner, near the main road in which I’d like to call Masskara’s food street. Invasion featured the country’s sickest DJ’s, including DJ Ace Ramos. Party never stopped even if it started to rain! Invasion was  one of the perfect weekenders for me before we departed the following day (we were no longer able to catch the Electric Masskara parade).

IMG_0211 IMG_0212 IMG_0213 IMG_0223 IMG_0226 IMG_0237 IMG_0238 IMG_0241 IMG_0247

IMG_0249

TIPS FOR MASSKARA/TRAVELLING TO BACOLOD CITY:

1) Pack light. There’s not much to do in Bacolod but to mostly go on food trips! For a 3 night 4 day stay, six outfits would do you fine. I recommend bringing a small bag too. Partying with a big bag would be a hassle. Not unless money would be the only thing you’d bring, you should be good. For my case, I had my rubbing alcohol, powder and powerbank with me.

2) Purchase/wear a mask. Be the extra color in the rainbows of Bacolod.

3) Choose to dine in the authentic chicken inasal houses.  Instead of restaurants, choose to taste Bacolod’s best in the manokan country (karinderia style restaurants). Street food is good too.

4) Bring a powerbank / small camera. DSLRs would be your best bet for the parades and digicams/phones would be ideal for capturing moments of night life.

5) Pasalubong buys. Skip the typical touristy items! I would recommend food – be napoleones, piayas, barquillos and sansrivals and the like.

6) Visit the Ruins when the sun sets. If you want great pictures, the sun set is a great time to see it. It’s about 15-20 minutes away from the city. Mother Weather wasn’t on our side when we dropped by.

7) EAT, EAT AND EAT. Worry not about counting calories because Bacolod is worth every bit of what goes inside your stomach. 😉 (See number 3)

This is the first of many festivals in the Philippines. I love how diverse this country’s culture is. The Philippines is truly beautiful. I can’t wait for the next trip.

Special Thanks:

Grill Guru (Tita Helen Yang – Magadia)

Alex Soledad

Nate Abogada

Thelly Guellogue