Monday, August 29, 2016

Welcome to Casa Marabella

Casa Marabella, Bacolod City, Philippines, gives you that sense of relief you get when you finally arrive home from a long and hectic travel – that same feeling that compels you to give that deep, satisfied sigh when you are finally reunited with your sorely missed home, when you can finally say “Aah, finally, I am home…” That feeling of being finally home is captured by Casa Marabella.

Comparably, Casa Marabella gives you the best value for money among the inns, hotels, bread and breakfast, and pension houses that you can find in Bacolod City.

The Masskara Festival 

Bacolod City, Negros Occidental is also home to the world famous Masskara Festival, a week-long festival held each year in Bacolod City, the capital of Negros Occidental province in the Philippines every third weekend of October nearest October 19, the city's Charter Anniversary.

The festival first began in 1980 during a period of crisis. The province relied on sugar cane as its primary agricultural crop, and the price of sugar was at an all-time low due to the introduction of sugar substitutes like high fructose corn syrup in the United States.  It was also a time of tragedy; on April 22 of that year, the inter-island vessel Don Juan carrying many Negrenses, including those belonging to prominent families in Bacolod City, collided with the tanker Tacloban City and sank. An estimated 700 lives were lost in the tragedy.

In the midst of these tragic events, the city's artists, local government and civic groups decided to hold a festival of smiles, because the city at that time was also known as the City of Smiles. They reasoned that a festival was also a good opportunity to pull the residents out of the pervasive gloomy atmosphere. The initial festival was therefore, 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.

The word "MassKara" is a portmanteau, coined by the late artist Ely Santiago from the word "mass" meaning "many or a multitude of the people", and the Spanish word cara meaning "face". A prominent feature of the festival is the mask worn by participants; these are always adorned with smiling faces. MassKara thus means a multitude of smiling face'.

The festival features a street dance competition where people from all walks of life troop to the streets to see colorfully-masked dancers gyrating to the rhythm of Latin musical beats in a display of mastery, gaiety, coordination and stamina. Major activities include the Masskara Queen beauty pageant, carnivals, drum and bugle corps competitions, food festivals, sports events, musical concerts, agriculture-trade fairs, garden shows, and other special events organized ad-hoc every year.

The Mudpack Festival of Mambukal

mambukal-mudpack-festival_12084_990x742The festival is a symbolic celebration of man’s return to primitive time when he was closer to nature. Oneness with nature is the underlying theme behind this annual mud-moving spectacle.

First conceptualized by local artists to showcase Mambukal's natural wealth, the Mudpack Festival has also become a venue for educating the youth on environmental conservation. It is held from June 23-24, coinciding with the feast of St. John de Baptist and the height of the monsoon season. The highlight of this emerging festival is a merry-making with dancers' faces covered with mudpack and bodies painted with Mambukal clay.

Click here to see a sampling of beautiful tourist spots in Negros Occidental.

The City of Bacolod

Bacolod City, officially the City of Bacolod (Filipino: Lungsod ng Bacólod), is a highly urbanized midsize Philippine city.  It is the capital of the province of Negros Occidental. Having a total of 499,497 inhabitants as of August 1, 2007, it is the most populous city in the Western Visayas Region.  It is currently ranked as the 17th most populous city in the Philippines.  It is part of a metropolitan area called Metro Bacolod, which includes the cities of Silay and Talisay.  It is notable for its world famous MassKara Festival  held during the 3rd week of October. Known for being a relatively friendly city, it bears the nicknames "City of Smiles" and "Football City of the Philippines". Bacolod City recently ranked no. 1 in a survey by MoneySense Magazine as the "Best Place to Live in the Philippines".  Bacolod ranks 3rd among the top ten "Next Wave Cities" of the Philippines for the best location for business process outsourcing and offshoring according to the 2010 report of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology.

Bacólod (English: Bacolod), is derived from bakólod (Old Spelling: bacólod), the Old Hiligaynon or Old Ilonggo (Old Spelling: Ylongo and Ilongo) word for a "hill, mound, rise, hillock, down, any small eminence or elevation", since the resettlement was founded on a stony, hilly area, now the barangay of Granada.  It was officially called Ciudad de Bacólod (English: City of Bacolod) when Municipalidad de Bacólod (English: Municipality of Bacolod) was converted into a city in 1938.