Yes, I am bitter over the fact that Masskara Festival just happened there in Bacolod and I was here (in Manila), stuck behind my laptop, finishing my deliverables and strolling through my feeds seeing people enjoying the festival. As much as I would like to be there and celebrate my favorite festival, I cannot do anything but reminisce some good ‘ol memories from the City of Smiles.
I didn’t really know what is in Bacolod until I was lucky enough to be asked by my sister to come with her last October 2013. It was on time for the Masskara festival and after our 1 week stay in the province of Negros, I was more than glad to return anytime soon. So if you find yourself booking a ticket down the South, try to put Bacolod in your to-go list, too.
Here are some of the things you could do to maximize your stay in Bacolod:
1. Celebrate the Masskara Festival.
Masskara Festival is celebrated every 3rd week of October to remember the crisis they went through back in the 1980’s. The festival started, amidst the crisis that they were under, to show that despite tough times, Bacolod can survive and triumph in the end.
There are a lot of activities lined up during Masskara festival. Usually, it starts at the beginning of October, but the highlight of the entire festival happens during the 3rd Friday – Sunday of the month. It is best to check Twitter or Facebook for the schedule of activities. Or once you get to Bacolod you could see posters and banners around for the schedule of different parties.
I regret not joining the street party. It seems hella fun! We were going to a roof deck party that night, so I skipped the whole paint party. (Listing this in my to-do list when I get back for MassKara festival next year).
The MassKara parade happens on the 3rd Sunday of October. I suggest, go to the streets as early as 10am, to secure a spot. The streets get crowded immediately. There is a rope separating the parade from the people but there are times that you are allowed to get inside to take a photo of the dancers. I think I got an advantage having an SLR with me (akala nila photographer ako) so they let me in at times. Other times, you have to fight through the crowd.
2. Indulge in Bacolod food
Bacolod is also known as the Sugar Capital of the Philippines. So, you can expect a lot of pastry shops, cake shops, cafe and restaurants around. Lacson St is a food heaven. Don’t know where to eat? Just stroll along Lacson St. You’ll see something you like there. To name some of my favorites: 21 Restaurant and Calea.
Bacolod is also famous for their Inasal. Head over to the Manokan Country, there are lot of eateries to choose from. I highly suggest Aida’s! Also, don’t forget to grab your desserts from Calea!
I’ve made a list here for my other favorite restaurants in Bacolod.
3. Get in touch with history.
Know the history of Negros by visiting the Negros Museum. You only pay P100 for the entrance and you get a free tour guide of the museum. You can also opt to tour alone if you want.
To appreciate more the City of Bacolod, I suggest drop by the Negros Museum. You will learn more about their culture, lifestyle and how they started as a Sugar Capital of the Philippines. You can also see the replica of various materials from history.
The Negros Museum is located at Old Agricultural Building, Gatuslao Street, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines.
Operating Hours: Monday – Saturday, 9:00AM – 6:00PM.
4. Explore the Ruins
The Ruins is probably the most famous tourist attraction in Bacolod. It is an old mansion that retained its beauty despite it being abandoned for a couple of years. I could just imagine how it looks like when it was not ruined yet.
The Ruins is also a good site for your photography skills. There are a lot of snap-worthy corners and good spots to emote (Pak, ganon.)
From what I remember, they charge P60 for entrance and there is also an entrance fee for your vehicle. We took a cab to the Ruins, and I think we paid P60 for it too. (Price as of October 2013).
5. Visit the Art District
Complete your artsy cravings by going to the Art District. You can cap off the night by having some shots here. You can also roam around and appreciate the murals on the walls.
Or you could also shop around…
6. Hit the waters.
Bacolod may not be known for their beaches just as Cebu or Palawan are. But they have their own fair share of beautiful beaches and falls. The famous one is the Mambukal Falls or the Seven Falls. If you prefer a more virgin beach, you may opt to go to Sipalay Beach.
We decided to visit the nearest beach in Bacolod City which is Lakawon Island. It is one bus and one boat away. It is not yet an established island. There is just one store, where we ordered our lunch. It is a bit expensive (which is understandable since they are the only store around). No rooms. We just stayed in the cottage the entire time.
Here’s what we had for lunch…
We left just in time for the sunset…
That’s it! I hope you enjoy your visit to Bacolod too, just like how we enjoy it every time. See you next MassKara Festival!