A Trip to Bacolod City: The City of Smiles

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Bacolod, Mindanao, festival of masks,

Known by tourists as the City of Smiles, Bacolod City should be part of your itinerary if you plan to visit the Philippines. The highly urbanized city offers a low cost of living which allows visitors to splurge on accommodation, and of course, local delicacies.

Bacolod is known for its hospitality and the famous Masskara Festival, which is a tourist bonanza every October. A trip to Bacolod would be incomplete if you don’t indulge in the many food delicacies. The small metropolis is well-loved for its homegrown dishes and delectable deserts. Bacolod City is a haven for picturesque landscapes and beautiful art museums that tourists flock to see.

Budget Friendly Accommodation

Bacolod is not only a highly urbanized city, but it is also one of the most budget friendly accommodations. Hotel prices range from $3.50 to $100, and most offer a free scrumptious breakfast every morning.

Backpacker hostels located in the heart of the city are very inexpensive and offer comfortable lodging as well as easy access to transportation.

One of the newest hotels, named the White Hotel, is actually a museum. Owned by one of the most prominent families in the city, the White House was previously known as the Dizon-Ramos museum and it featured the family’s antique furniture.

Kari Na Sa Masskara

The Masskara Festival is celebrated every second week of October but the festivities usually last the entire month. The much-awaited street dance usually begins on Lacson Street, which is one of the prime locations of the city. The parade ends inside the Bacolod Plaza.

Aside from the street dance completion, the street party along Lacson is filled by tourists and locals dancing, drinking and eating.

The Masskara Festival may be a happy feast, but it is however a celebration after a depressing downfall. It started 25 years ago, where Negrenses experienced a tragic downfall. It is a reminder of the time when a huge ship known as the Don Juan sank. The ship carried Negrenses, including those who belong to the prominent family.

In order to recover from tough times, artists from Bacolod and the local government decided to work together and turn the frown into a smile. The festival was eventually put up to celebrate the Bacoloenos’ strength and triumph amidst the tough times.

“The word “MassKara” was coined by the late AAB president Ely Santiago from the two words “mass” which means “many or a multitude of the people” and the Spanish “kara” meaning “face”. The masks worn by the participants during the parade are always smiling. MassKara thus means a multitude of smiling faces,” as explained by the Bacolod City Government.

 Bacolod Eats

Aside from cheap accommodation and the iconic festival, Bacolod is best known for its “chicken inasal.” The grilled chicken is marinated with spices, soy sauce, calamansi and sometimes, chili. It is one of the best Bacolod dishes as tourist would even order it in bulk for them to take it home.

Bacolod chicken inasal is found almost everywhere! A famous inasal trip, the Manokan Country offers different barbecue dishes including chicken intestines, heart, wings and other chicken parts.

Now that you’ve gotten a glimpse of the famous Bacolod Inasal, it’s time to introduce one of Bacolod’s famous deserts, which is called “Napoleones.”

The sweet puffy pastry is filled with custard cream which is then glazed by the sugar on top. Its main ingredients are sugar, egg, flour, milk and butter.

Piaya is also another confectionery that originated in Bacolod. The pastry which is consists of unleavened flatbread filled with muscovado sugar.

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 Written by Abbie Uychiat

Abbie Uychiat studied BS Psychology and is an aspiring independent film director based in the Philippines. She is a dreamer and is juggling the joys of single motherhood, her career as a recruitment specialist and a freelance writer. Part of her mission is to provide a better and cleaner Philippines for the future generation.

 The photos are from the following websites:

 https://www.facebook.com/themasskarafestival/photos/a.1049802048377998.1073741967.135307866494092/1049808325044037/?type=3&theater

https://www.facebook.com/hometownhotelbacolod/

http://www.bacolodcity.gov.ph/story_behind.htm

http://dessertcomesfirst.com/jt-is-for-good-chicken/

http://dessertcomesfirst.com/jt-is-for-good-chicken/

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