Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Roaming Bacolod, Almost Missing the Masskara

A few steps to the right from Chicken Deli, we encountered this building they call Negros Showroom. Nice place, and my companions went like crazy looking at, flipping, examining the various things on sale. Two of us stayed outside to smoke and primed ourselves ready to lend our hands carrying things, for we knew there was some instant shopping spree happening inside that showroom hehe! Then off to the Negros Museum we walked which was also just nearby. We loved it in there. And that should be how a museum is – open during a holiday or festival, since that is the time when visitors are available. So, you museums everywhere, learn from this!

Then it was another walk to the nearby Negros Occidental Capitol. Oh my, they have such a grand capitol building. While it looks similar to most I have seen everywhere, this one looks really big and clean it almost shines in the afternoon sun. Plus, there are no wires criss-crossing your view, and there are no stains nor spots on the walls, the pillars or the windows. No obvious marks of billboards or announcements taped to and eventually removed from the walls. Very clean and elegant looking building. Yes we mused that perhaps the provincial officials may have cleaned their capitol just recently. Granting, but if they can, why can’t other capitols be that clean too. As we stood by the flagpole marveling at this edifice, it seemed like we were in some European city appreciating a wonderful structure. But the building's name said it all, sa Bacolod lang gali kami hehehe! The nicest capitol I have seen so far.

Turning our backs was a grand view too! The capitol building overlooks a wide expanse of park greens with a big fishpond at center. Big? Well, more than the size of an 8 lane Olympic swimming pool. Eh, make that more than double I guess. and there’s no telling, it is also spic and span clean! Ah, circling this capitol grounds took most of our afternoon than we have expected. What with the monument of a gigantic carabao and a nude hunk seemingly trying to restrain it. And over at the other end, an equally humungous carabao with an amiable maiden standing beside it. Pictorials pictorials, some of our pics are even too wild to show here. Example? Well, I have a photo of one of our companions raising her arms up to reach the butt of the nude hunk whehehe! Of course there is even something more ‘censored' hehe! Note: we liked running around the rim of the fishpond as them little fishies followed us!

Alright, we realized we spent too much time at the capitol grounds so we hurried back towards the public plaza for a glimpse of the final presentations. This was Barangay Category of the Masskara Dance Parades. Next day was the day of days but we thought we should not miss this day's spectacle. When we arrived, groups were getting ready to do their final performances – meaning they have already walked the entire parade route. But everything else along the streets also beckoned. Lanzones, bibingka, the little masskara souvenirs in necklace or headgear form, chicharon, mangoes, eggs, trinkets, ahh so many things! Just like many a town or city celebrating fiesta, the wares on sale are dizzyingly too many. And then there was the Cathedral. So we hopped in for a quick hi and hello to San Sebastian.

Out of the church, we could hear the cheering and clapping getting louder by the minute. So we slithered and inched our way in the crowd to get a glimpse of the performances. Oh my, what a thick crowd. And what a small place! We thought Bacolod should find a bigger venue for this. Participants and their props alone were already enough to overflow the plaza. We saw the bigotilyo of a Mayor up at center stage with the bigwigs of the city and their guests. No sooner he was pointing and waving at us, motioning for us to go up the stage. Ngeh! He even had some chairs cleared for us. Wheh?! At first we signaled to say “no” but some of his aides came to get us. So we watched the remainder of the presentations at center stage – though some of us would keep going down for better vantage when taking pictures.

In his speech, before winners were proclaimed, Bing did say something to his ‘mga ginapalangga’ that aside from showing their best, continue to accord the usual utmost courtesy to all the visitors. Hmm, and we thought this was “just” the city of smiles!

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