TRAVELBOOK.PH’S GUIDE TO BACOLOD CITY AND MASSKARA 2015

TravelBook.ph’s Guide to Bacolod City and Masskara 2015


A quick guide to the City of Smiles and its most popular festival

By Mathew S. Chan
October 12, 2015

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Bacolod is known as a peaceful city, and it’s often dubbed as the City of Smiles due to how friendly its citizens are. If you’re tired of the hustle and bustle of Metro Manila, it’s the perfect place to visit for a relaxing vacation.

Every October, they celebrate the Masskara Festival, an event in which Negrenses celebrate the people’s smiles and their ability to bounce back from negative circumstances. Colorful masks can be found everywhere during the festival. But aside from joining this popular feast, there are dozens of other things you can do while you’re in the area. Read on for a simple guide to the city of Bacolod.


WHAT TO DO

1. Go museum hopping.
If you are into arts and culture, Bacolod has several museums you can visit. One of the famous museums is the Laguerta Home of the Vintage Glasses Museum, where you can see over 2,000 glass pieces by Tomas Claridad Casiano, a world famous designer. They also have the Negros Museum, which is filled with contemporary works and livelihood products that tell the stories of the citizens.

2. Visit the San Sebastian Cathedral.
Devoted Catholics flock to the San Sebastian Cathedral whenever they are in the area, so if you happen to be one of them, this place is a must-see. The old church was made of corals from Guimaras and trees from Palawan. It eventually went through renovations, and several parts (like the original belfry) were demolished after being declared a hazard. You can still see the coral brick walls when you enter the church and the stunning baroque style of architecture evident in its pillars.

3. Visit the Negros Forest and Ecological Foundation.
Over 150 years ago, 95% of the Negros region was covered in forest, but now, only a mere 4% has trees. Because of the growing concern for the environment, the Negros Forest and Ecological Foundation was born and now strives to preserve nature. Some of the endangered species at their enclosure are the rare warty pigs, leopard cats, spotted deer, bleeding heart pigeons, and more.

4. Explore Ubong Caves.
One of the many great attractions in the area are the Ubong Caves, which are made of three limestone caves. Of the three caves, two have a dry entrance. Meanwhile, the third cave can be entered through the sea. It requires the use of a small boat to get to it because of the sharp jagged rocks by its entrance. The caves are a wonderful diving location as you can see corals clearly going all the way to 30 feet deep. They also have a high ceiling, which gives them an absolutely stunning grand cathedral-like effect.

5. Chill at the park.
Capitol Park and Lagoon is a great place to have a picnic and just relax. The Negros Occidental Provincial Capitol building is within the park, which is where the governor of the region sits. Don’t forget to check out the water buffalo statues, the first of a girl walking beside one and the other of a man pushing one. These works of art were created by Italian sculptor Francesco Riccardo Monti, who also did some work on the Metropolitan Manila Theater.


WHAT TO EAT

  • Chicken Inasal at Manokan Country, Bacolod Chicken House, and Masskara Chicken Inasal (Price Range: PHP 150 - PHP 200)
  • Sate Babe and Bob’s Giant Cheeseburger at Bob’s Restaurant (Price Range: PHP 100 - PHP 200)
  • 21’s Original Batchoy at 21 Restaurant (Price Range: PHP 150 - PHP 200)
  • Cansi at Sharyn’s Cansi House (Price Range: PHP 100 - PHP 200)
  • Baby Back Ribs at Lord Byron’s Back Ribs (Price Range: PHP 150 - PHP 200)
  • Scallops at Aboy’s Restaurant (Price Range: PHP 100 - PHP 200)
  • Coffee at Café Bobs and Kuppa Coffee & Tea (Price Range: PHP 250 - PHP 300)
  • Various cakes and pasalubong at Cale, Bong Bong’s, El Ideal, and Pendy’s

WHERE TO STAY
If you are looking for nice budget accommodations in the area, you can check out this article about 5 Bacolod Hotels under PHP 1,500 so you can have a nice, peaceful, and pocket-friendly stay.


FESTIVAL EVENTS TO ATTEND

  • October 10, 2015 (Saturday)
    • ExtreMassKara at Centrale Bacolod, Mandalagan
    • MassKara by the Sea – 1st MassKara Bancarera at Brgy. Pta. Taytay
    • Living Rosary at Bacolod City Public Plaza

  • October 11, 2015 (Sunday)
    • MassKara by the Sea – 1st Bancarera Finals at Brgy. Pta. Taytay
    • MassKara by the Sea – Bancathon at Punta Taytay-to-Baywalk
    • Our Lady of Rosary Procession at St. Sebastian-to-Awing
    • MassKara by the Sea – Banca Float Parade at Baywalk

  • October 12, 2015 (Sunday)
    • MassKara Queen Pageant and Coronation Night at SMX Convention Center
      October 13, 2015 (Monday)
    • Opening of Festival Mask and Costume Exhibit (until Oct. 31) at Robinsons Central City Walk

  • October 14, 2015 (Wednesday)
    • Showdown of Mascots at People’s House grounds
    • MassKara Fashion Week: Night of Timeless Fashion & Glamour at People’s House Lobby
    • MassKara in the Sky (Aero-lights show, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18) at People’s House Grounds
    • Fireworks Display at People’s House

  • October 16, 2015 (Friday)
    • MassKara Arena & Street Dance Contest (schools) at Paglaum – Araneta – Plaza
    • MassKara Love Dance at Central District Football Field
    • MassKara Mayor’s Golf Cup Tournament at Marapara Golf & Country Club (until October 18)
    • MassKara City: The 2nd Bacolod Trade & Tourism Expo & Conference at SMX Convention Center

  • October 17, 2015 (Saturday)
    • MassKara Arena and Street Dance Contest (barangays) at Paglaum – Araneta – Plaza
    • Handog Pasasalamat ng Bombo at Star FM at Bacolod City Public Plaza

  • October 18, 2015 (Sunday)
    • Electric MassKara Finals at Burgos-Lacson Tourism Strip – MassKaraLand
    • Charter Countdown and Fireworks Display at People’s House, Plaza & MassKaraLand

  • October 19, 2015 (Monday)
    • KAADLAWAN sang BACOLOD – 77th Charter Anniversary Misa ng Bayan at San Sebastian Cathedral
    • Grand MassKaRaffle Draw & Bacolod Singing Cops Contests
    • Charter Day Parade
    • Charter Day Program & Banwahanon Awards