Here’s how you should spend your MassKara Festival weekend in Bacolod

Heading for Bacolod to experience the 38th MassKara Festival? Here’s our suggested itinerary for the weekend

Masskara Festival

October 21, Saturday

Breakfast
Start your day at Ann Co Cakes in Rizal Street, Silay City. Order their best seller, the Van Gogh breakfast set, which consists of potato pancakes, Spanish chorizo, fried eggs, bell pepper and onions and toasted panini. Enjoy your meal with a warm cup of coffee. If you have a sweet tooth, end it with a slice of mocha sansrival, banoffee pie or Toblerone cheesecake.

10am
Time to burn some calories. Head for Silay City’s poblacion and visit some of the heritage homes there. Top picks are the Balay Negrense Museum, the Bernardino Lopez Jalandoni Museum (also known as the Pink House) and the ancestral house of Manuel Severino Hofileña.

Lunch
If all that walking got you hungry, sit down for a sumptuous lunch at Sandok Comfort Food Restaurant. Among the must-tries are the sour beef stew, the cansi steak (sizzling beef shank), and the KBL, which stands for kadyos (black beans), baboy (pork) and langka (jackfruit). The place is a six-minute taxi ride to the street dancing venue so there’s no need to hurry when savoring Bacolod’s gastronomic favorites.

3pm
Get your body moving to the groove of Latin music. Watch the MassKara street dancing competition that fills Araneta Avenue and Lizarest Street with festive vibes. The perfect spot would be the Bacolod Public Plaza but if you can’t squeeze yourself in, position yourself outside Chicken House on Araneta Avenue.

Dinner
Enjoy a leisurely walk along Lacson Street where you can find rows of al fresco dining options as well as nighttime entertainment. Try the famed grilled Bacolod chicken inasal and fresh seafood at the pop-up stores of AK-47 or Nena’s Rose. There are also sweet Negrense delicacies widely available in other booths. Remember that this main thoroughfare is filled with crazy parties so don’t shy away from dancing in the streets with like-minded souls, or trying buckets of ice-cold beer (or even the local rum!).

Nightcap
If magic tricks and illusions are your thing, visit the Trapdoor Tasting Room located behind Pizza Republic at the corner of 22nd and Lacson Streets. Finding the entrance to this tiny yet charming pub is an experience in itself — your only clue is an ace of spades symbol. Once you do find the door, step inside and be wowed by the Victorian-inspired interior. Enjoy their locally brewed ales while a waiter performs magic tricks at your table.

October 22, Sunday

Breakfast
Get a clean and healthy start to your day at May’s Organic Garden & Restaurant. Take your pick from an array of fresh and organic meat and vegetables dishes, lutong-bahay (home-cooked) style meals and fruit drinks. We highly recommend their Moringa Shake, which is rich in vitamins A and C and potassium. After your meal, explore the gardens, or go boating and swimming.

Brunch (or lunch
If you prefer to start the day late, head straight for Punong Gary’s Place in Barrio San Jose, Silay City. Set amid a vast sugarcane plantation at Hacienda Tinihaban, this Balinese-inspired sanctuary is perfect for a slow Sunday. The place is open from 11am to 3pm and requires reservations for their five-course plated lunch (₱750 per head) so make arrangements prior to your visit. From Bacolod City, Punong Gary’s is a mere 15- to 20-minute drive. If commuting, you can take a bus from the Bacolod City North Bus Terminal and ask to be dropped in Silay proper, where you can request a tricycle to take you to this hidden paradise.

3pm
Watch the street dancing competition (barangay category along Araneta Avenue and Lizares Street or the Bacolod Public Plaza to find your spot. You can grab a couple of hot ube piaya or napoleones from BongBong’s at the Great Panda Amusement Building in Araneta and get a good view of the colorful parade.

Dinner
Gear yourself up before the real party starts by enjoying a meal at any of the amazing restaurants located at the Azotea Building along Lacson Street. There are establishments offering Filipino, Italian and other international cuisine.

Post-dinner drinks
Head on to Gorka, a small yet quaint bar located on the first floor of the Azotea Building. The place might be tiny, but it draws one of the thickest party crowds in Bacolod. It offers staple alcoholic beverages but it stands out by bringing in national DJs to introduce the best party beats in the city. For this year’s MassKara cebleration, Gorka wil hold “Gorkd Out”, a three-day al fresco party, with surprise guest DJs from other parts of the Philippines.

Party all night
Find your spot along the Bacolod Tourism Strip (2nd Street to Lacson Northdrive) and catch the Electric MassKara parade from 7pm. In this competition among Bacolod City barangay, dancers in bright, LED-laden costumes will make their way down the strip on or alongside festive floats. Afterwards, hang out and catch the live performances by DJs and bands. There will be food and drink kiosks, too, so you won’t have to worry about going hungry or thirsty.

Tips

  • Arrange your accommodation as early as you can. Check out our list of recommended hotels here.
  • Mind the traffic. Some major roads will be closed at certain points of the festivities. Lacson Street, for instance, is closed to all vehicles from 4pm to 4am from October 20 to 22, the last three days of MassKara. If you’re not staying along Lacson, it’s best to plan your itinerary so you don’t get affected by the rerouting and road closure orders. Tune in to the local news for more information on the traffic flow, or ask your hotel’s front desk.
  • Dress comfortably. Wear lightweight clothing and shoes you can walk and dance in.

Written by

Rhoda Dejito

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