My Hometown, Bacolod City, The City of Smiles
Bacolod City is one of the famous cities in the Philippines. It is located in the Visayan region of the archipelago. Philippines has 3 major parts or regions. The Luzon in the north, Visayas in the middle and Mindanao in the South. From Manila the capital city of the Philippines, Bacolod City can be reached 45 minutes to an hour via Philippine Airlines and 18 to 24 hours by sea.
My hometown is located in the Negros island in the Visayas. It is the capital city of Negros Occidental. Negros island is divided into two - Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental.
Bacolod City is the home of the well known "Masskara Festival" held every October. It is a street dancing and merry making festivity. Local and foreign tourists flock Bacolod to witness this event. Street vendors abound selling foods, specialties and souvenirs. Hotels and motels are usually full during this time, you have to reserve a room earlier.
Bacolod is also called the city of smiles, because of its charming, "as sweet as sugar" people. It is the sugar bowl of the Philippines, due to the abundance of sugarcane plantation all over the province.
Bacolod city has a land area of 156.1 kilometer. Has a population of approximately 454,000 and counting. It is a business friendly city. Malls and other business are starting to be a big part of local people's lives. People from other parts of Negros Island go to Bacolod to find a job. Before, it was only in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines where people venture to find a job. I miss the old Bacolod where all you can see are sugarcane plantations, no traffic and the air was so clean.
Dancing in the streets
Masskara Festival is a 3-week long celebration in the month of October. It started in the year 1980, during a crises of sugarcane industry. The province economy relied mostly on the sugarcane export. During that time it reached its all time low, because of the introduction of sugar substitutes namely, high fructose corn syrup in the United States. Government officials and civic organizations decided to have a merry making to uplift the spirit of the people. They came to one decision of having a mardi gras style celebration. It will also attract tourists, which means revenue for the city. Since the people of Bacolod always wear a smile, even in crisis; they decided to have a smiling masskara as the theme of the festivity. They chose October because the city will also celebrate its charter anniversary.
From Bacolod City Official website
I got this picture from Bacolod City official website. I would like to share here an excerpt about the Masskara festival from the site:
"The MassKara Festival is here to stay, an icon for Bacolod as the City of Smiles. Today, with the more than four hundred fifty thousand Bacoleños giving their warmest smiles, MassKara becomes a festival of a thousand smiles per minute, projecting the Bacoleño's ability to smile, to be gregarious and charming and to shoe his instinct to survive and triumph over trials and challenges. MassKara is not history nor is it anchored on any historical, religious or cultural event. Artistic, yes. MassKara is simply his story, that is the Bacoleño as a human being whose innate capacity for goodness, happiness and beauty is expressed in the sights, sounds, color and rhythm of a people celebrating the might and bounty of a Great Creator."
I would love to hear from you
Question about my hometown Bacolod.
Where sugar cane abound
The sugar city of the Philippines, Bacolod is one of the most progressive cities in the country. You can see along its highway; sugarcane plantation, rice and coconut. Some people also are into fishing, pottery and livestock farming. Since more and more businesses are being built, means more farmlands are lost and push more in the rural areas.
Organic farming in Negros
These are the jeepneys, our public transportation that can be seen all over the Philippines. It is widely used for transport, cheaper than taking a taxi cab. Most people in the Philippines could not afford to buy a car, that is why public transportation is very important to Filipinos daily lives.
These are some of our native delicacies. Using only the finest ingredients plus our raw sugar.
About the Philippines
This book is for children ages 8 and up. Published by Children's Press. The Author is Shirley Wimbish Gray. Children who love to read about other nation and its people will enjoy reading this book which tells of the Philippine as a country of many islands. They will learn the life of Filipinos during colonial days and their struggles for independence. There is a map of the Philippines where kids could learn the geography of this country. Children will enjoy reading this interesting book.
You might need these if you plan to travel abroad.