People go to Bacolod primarily for the annual MassKara festival (mass = many, cara (Spanish) = face, maskara (Tagalog) = mask), a street festival filled with colorful smiling masks and costumed street dancers. There are dozens of similar festivals in the Philippines but the MassKara festival is arguably the most colorful and happiest. Ironically, the festival started at a low point in 1980, when the price of sugar (the main export of the province of Negros Occidental) was at an all-time low worldwide. It was also during the same year when a ship carrying hundreds of Negrenses sank, and as many as 700 locals perished. To uplift the peoples’ spirits, the government decided to hold a festival of smiles, “…a declaration by the people of the city that no matter how tough and bad the times were, Bacolod City is going to pull through, survive, and in the end, triumph.” (Wiki)
With a festival philosophy like that, I chose to experience Bacolod’s MassKara over all the other Philippine festivals. I’m all for good vibes and positive thinking! I looked forward to taking photos of the extravagant costumes and street dancing.
As the date of my departure drew nearer, though, I found myself more excited about one other thing. Bacolod is a culinary destination, known for its desserts and native delicacies but above all, its CHICKEN INASAL. Now, I’m a HUGE fan of chicken– I can eat it everyday and not get tired of it. I like chicken first, seafood second, then beef and pork as a far distant third and fourth option (ie. only if there’s nothing else). My favorite fastfood restaurant is KFC for its wide variety of chicken dishes. I love chicken so much that, at the risk of oversharing, my ex’s pet name for me was Chicken. Err. Yeah.
When in Manila, I eat chicken inasal at inasal chains in the Metro but having finally tasted authentic inasal from Bacolod, I would say nothing comes close to the original.
I had chicken inasal for dinner three days straight– which wasn’t enough! I was hoping to have inasal at least twice a day for three days hihi. Inasal for three straight days was the highlight of my Bacolod trip, although the MassKara festival itself was a very close contender! 😛 The rest of the trip in pictures, as the festival is a visual feast no words can articulate (also, because I’m tired of typing):
Salamat, Bacolod! I’ve crossed off experiencing the MassKara festival on my imaginary bucket list, but maybe I’ll be back again some day for another three days straight of authentic Bacolod chicken inasal 😀
P.S. If anyone is interested in a Bacolod chicken inasal recipe, Market Manila has what looks like a good one here. Try it, then invite me over to eat as I don’t know how to cook, kthnxbye.