Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Masskara Day, and we went away - to Silay!

Even with last night’s crazy fun, we woke up early. Like about 10AM? That’s early, right? Hehe, well, we’re only human! We knew that the festival schedule said 1PM was the start of Masskara Dance Parade – Open Category. And that is the biggest of all parades. But our itinerary said we needed to visit Silay City in the morning. It was still morning technically, albeit late hehe. So we proceeded as planned. To appease our ‘festival mode’ mindsets, we all agreed to forego watching the very start of the parade and would catch whatever was left of it over at the plaza soon as we arrive from Silay. Just like yesterday ehehe. Okay, fine!

Ah, we just took a jeep going Silay. I told the group that I’d been there once before and it was just a few kilometers away. Some 10 to 15 kms, I imagined. There were too many jeeps plying the route anyway, so everyone was jolly willing to hop on a jeep. Mind you, near as it is, Silay is not the next city north of Bacolod. There is Talisay City in between. And we enjoyed the ride to Silay. Jeeps were going fast amidst sugarcane fields without much traffic. And voila, off the jeep we were awe struck at the sights. Where we got off wre a neighborhood of old houses, and across them, a park and Silay’s big lovely church. Picturesque. The fa├žade looks enormously better than Bacolod’s cathedral, I must insist. The side entrance to this church that leads to the highway even has a covered walkway. Yes, roofed! Could have easily been an eyesore, but this walkway is amidst the parking lot and a lovely crowd of kalachuchi trees. So, still beautiful!

Then we walked over to the side of the church, still fronting the park, and we stumble upon the Silay City Hall. Hmm, it may not be as grand as many other “city” halls in the country. Its still “municipalic” in terms of form and size. But we liked it that they retained whatever they already have and peppered the frontage with greens. Plants, trees, shrubs and grass dominate the city hall’s front lawn. And how clever, the statues depicting sugar industry workers are positioned with real growing (alive!) sugarcanes. Isn’t that creatively lovely?! Very nice indeed!

From the city hall, our next target was the Balay Negrense. Yep, the Victor Gaston Ancestral House and that was my suggestion hehe. I said we could walk to it as I remembered it was just about 2 corners from the city hall but our friend from Bago City said we better take a trike. On arrival at the ancestral house’s gate, most of our companions were wearing a half-smile half-smirk asking “we’re here? ang lapit nun ah”?! And I said “ganyan talaga mga Ilongga, maaarte, ayaw maglakad”! As we laughed, our dear little sistah from Bago tried to justify that saying we should not walk under a very hot noontime sun. We looked and it was already 1:31PM. Point taken hehe! And we roamed the Balay Negrense. Next time we looked, it was already 3:02PM? Why did we take that long in that house? Because there are too many things to see and the “curator” gladly answered every question we had and explained everything about the house and its displays. Like what? Am not telling. Go there and see for yourself hehe!

We hurried out to the street for a trike to get us to our next stop, the bakery. But one of us shrieked asking “are we going home now? how about the other ancestral houses?”. Well, one companion explained that we were out of time but I had a better idea… I requested the manong trike driver to cruise along the streets were those ancestral houses were before finally dropping us at the bakery. Thus, though we never had a chance to visit each one, we were a chorus of oohs and aahs inside the tricycle as we passed by them houses like the Hofilena House, Green House, Pink House, Montelibano and finally El Ideal Bakery.

What’s with the bakery? Well, before I answer that, you maybe interested to know that it is pronounced “e-lid-yal” by the locals. So if you wanna find it, don’t start asking around pronouncing “ideal” as “ai-dee-yal” since no one would understand hehe. Again, “El Ideal” is pronounced in Silay as “e-lid-yal” in the tone and accent as you would say “remedial”! Now why the bakery? Hmm, I don’t know… maybe it was just a favorite roadside stop in the past. But having been there before, I learned that the place is historic in itself having been already so, even during the Japanese-American war. And they have retained many of their bread recipes INCLUDING many of their staff in the olden past. That is why you seldom see a young tindera clerk or cashier in this bakery. The crews themselves are history enough!

Then we rushed back to Bacolod. The Masskara parade, yes, OMG, the Masskara Parade! Argh!


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