Whenever a barangay or town celebrates a fiesta, guests are welcome in a local's home for food and drinks. Yes, it is part of the Filipino hospitality. In our town (1.5 hours from Bacolod) we celebrate our town fiesta every 5th of April. So if you're traveling to Bacolod and would like to see my hometown, then you are invited to our place. Just let me know if ever. ;)
Every October 19, Bacolod Celebrates its charter day and a Masskara Festival is held. It is a week long celebration wherein the highlight is usually the weekend before the 19th. Be sure to book your flight and hotel months before October since plenty of people are sure to be joining the festivity. There are street parties, bands, organized presentation, etc., and a guaranteed fun for the said event.
Bacolodnons love to eat out and to be "seen". It's just a small city where a friend of a friend knows this and that. We have a variety of local restaurants which we patronize and recommend with Pride... They say, when you visit Bacolod, prepare your tummy for food tripping. ;)
Aside from their sincere and warm hospitality, guess what you’ll immediately notice about the people of Bacolod: their sweet way of talking in an indescribable melodious tone. You’ll also observe that they really love to entertain guests. They are eager to meet friends/relatives of friends and they enjoy conversation over food and/or dessert/drinks.
When crisis hit the sugar industry, many of the workers who were displaced didn’t wallow in self-pity. Rising above their misfortune of losing jobs, many took a chance to work abroad. The overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) now send money to their families, thus improving their standard of living. The wife now shops in malls and works out in the gym; the children eat well, dress up well and go to good schools in cars. Don’t be surprised to see the family of the OFWs riding in expensive cars/SUVs. Banks through which remittances are made by the OFWs allegedly give them car loans without collateral.
Far from the aristocratic types I imagined, the affluent in Bacolod do not dress up to impress. In fact, many wealthy people don’t wear flashy clothes and jewelry in public; they dress up and act simply. Ilonggos enjoy a good life, but the affluent find time for socio-civic and religious projects.
Slow And Easy:
I gathered that there are many migrants from Metro Manila and Luzon who have learned to love living in Bacolod. The City has a lot of job/investment opportunities, and it has the amenities of modern living. The roads are nice without monstrous traffic on the way to work, so the migrants have learned to take their day’s tasks leisurely, albeit slow and easy, and not in a hurried, stressful way.
Breakfast is between 9-10AM, lunch begins at about 1 or 2PM, and dinner is much later because they have siesta or afternoon coffee with friends/relatives. Siesta or afternoon nap is a Spanish influence that most Ilonggos in Bacolod still practice. Many restaurants close between 2-4PM, I wonder if it is because of the siesta habit. Bedtime is about 11PM.
I was told that when Aboy's Restaurant introduced the "Bibingka" and "Puto Bumbong", they became such a big hit to Bacolod diners.
On the streets of Bacolod, you can also have the "bibingka". Cooked on the streets and packed on the streets, the "bibingkas" are bought and eaten by locals who probably can't resist the aroma of burnt banana leaves and cooked rice cakes. I saw a husband and wife team of street "bibingka" vendors as we walked to the Cathedral. The man cooked the mini "bibingkas", took the cooked ones out of the tins and placed them on a table where the woman took care of brushing them with margarine and sold them. I saw a man buy some for his kids. Business was brisk at P0.50 each.
Most clans/families get together on weekends. I had the occasion to witness the get together of the Garcia Clan. After a festive meal, I was happy to see such affluent families discussing not business matters but stories about their family members, their socio-civic involvements, travels, guests, etc. There is also time for joking and "entertainment". That time, we were amused by a cute, smart boy named Sancho. Dressed in a Bishop's costume, he rendered a declamation. He seemed to enjoy the attention of all the adults. But we were in for a big surprise! He passed the hat for his "talent fee". Who could refuse such a cute little boy?
I believe that the best way to learn about the culture of a place is by observing things and people around you; actually talking and mixing with the locals, and joining them in their festivals and fiestas. I did just that, and although the Bacolod residents often spoke their dialect (Ilonggo), I experienced the warmth, sincere friendship and hospitality of the people I met.
I had very happy moments with my cousin and cousin-in-law's relatives and friends who were all so thoughtful, helpful and hospitable. They enjoyed showing us around, they fed us like there was always a feast and they always checked on our needs and schedule. I can vouch that Bacolod residents generally love to entertain guests, and they enjoy introducing them to their circle of friends and relatives.
I also had wonderful moments with locals that I don't really personally know, and they showed me kindness and hospitality in their own way:
the housekeeping staff of Bacolod Business Inn who, when he heard my comment that the pillows were kinda flat, volunteered to change my pillow into a fluffy one, and he even added an extra pillow without me asking for it;
a woman beside me watching the street dancers berated a man in their dialect when she saw him position himself infront of me thus blocking my camera, so after being scolding the guy left, then the woman told me to go on taking pictures and videos;
a school/barangay official who let me in their "cordon sanitaire" so I can have a few moments to take shots of the VT flag held by the street dancers;
the staff of the Association of Negros Producers Showroom who answered all my queries about the ANP and some places in Bacolod, who graciously allowed me to hang the VT flag on their lobby display, and who thoughtfully gave us pointers on security when we go to watch the Masskara Festival;
and the driver of my cousin who tipped us on the best place to take close up shots of the street dancers with lesser difficulty and security risk.
When you go to a restaurant serving native foods, you'll see already set on the table a bottle of "sinamak", a bottle of soy sauce, and ready to squeeze calamansi on a saucer. It seems that almost all grilled foods are usually eaten with the following condiments: soy sauce with squeezed calamansi (native lemon) and "sinamak" (mixture of palm vinegar, sliced ginger, sliced onions, chili, and sliced bell pepper). Sometimes, "sinamak" is mixed with soy sauce as dip. One may also squeeze the calamansi directly on the grilled food, then use the "sinamak"-soy sauce dip.
Whether affluent, middle class or poor, I noticed that family ties of Bacolod people are closely knit. They eat meals together, they go see places together, and many even watch the Masskara Festival together. At The Masskara Festival, parents saw to it that children were safe and secure. Smaller children were carried or put to sit on high but secure places so they can view the parade/street dance better. Children were bought masks, food, drinks and toys to make them happy.
NOTE: All photos shot with permission from persons concerned.
For meals in restaurants, viands are eaten NOT with bread, but with your choice of plain rice, fried rice or garlic rice. The rice is usually served on slightly singed banana leaves cut to the shape of the plate. The banana leaves impart a peculiar taste and aroma to the hot rice.
Rice is generally eaten using spoon and fork, but for viands that are grilled like "inasal", eating with hands is acceptable.
mmm, pork, not just pork, but the entire pig, slow roasted and stuffed with spices. I had lechon no less than three times when I was here and will forever be grateful. Among pork lovers of the world, the Filipino style of cooking the pig is widely considered the best in the world. the crispy skin, the tender meat...it leaves you with no doubt that God wants us to eat animals, especially pigs.
On all Soul's day (Oct. 31-Nov. 3) The entire Bacolod heads to the graves (The cemeteries) and puts up a party for their dead friends and relatives! That's right- families and friends step right up on the cemetery, burn candles and fill the whole place with prayers, it's a colorful atmosphere. Of course, not everybody prays- many kids & adults play around the cemeteries like hide and seek, picnic the whole day (Yes! I know many families who can stay from morning till night in a cemetery!) with their dead love ones and so on. It's the day, when the cemetery stops being morbid for once.
It's a simple tradition and it happens all over the Philippines. Although it isn't as colorful as the day of the dead in Mexico, it's still a nice tradition and guaranteed nice to pictures and for a change.
Masskara = "mass" + "kara" ???
Impossible, it is just a joke. "Mass" is an english word and "cara" is spanish. It is only a playing with the spelling of the word.
The word mask is of Arabic derivation and probably from the Arab population of North Africa, but now is almost international. In Arabic, "maskharah" = "man in masquerade", "jester" or "buffoon". The root mask- has the original sense of "black" or "of dark origin" (blackening the face being a simple form of disguise), and was introduced in Latin language with the words "mascus", "masca" (="ghost"), "mascha", and later the Old Italian word "maschera", now in modern Italian "mascara". "Mascara" in the language of the Coran means a "joke" and is also the name of an Arabic city.
In many other languages it came from the Latin:
Italian: "maschera", "mascara",
Spanish & Portugese: "máscara",
The words "mascot", "mascotte" are also related. In Old Occitan, "masco" = "witch", but probably the similarity is only a coincidence.
"Un ballo in maschera" ("a dance in masks") is an opera of Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901).
In the Tagalog and the other Philippine languages the word "Maskara" came from the Spanish "máscara".
52 San Sebastian Street, ex. Bacolod Executive Inn, Bacolod, 6100, Philippines
Good for: Families
I was looking for someplace different to stay in Bacolod -- I have had my round of the hotels in the...more
I booked this hotel because of its ranking with Trip Advisor but got disappointed after getting to...more