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Unravel the charms of Negros Occ
Source: Manila Bulletin
Author: -
Date: 2004-10-25
Thousands flocked to Bacolod City in Negros Occidental to witness the grand celebration of the famous Masskara Festival held every third weekend of October.

The Masskara festival was conceived 25 years ago during a period of crisis and tragedy. It was a time when the sugar industry, the region’s main source of income, plunged to a devastating low. Multiplying the Negrenses’ sorrow was the sinking of the Don Juan, a vessel carrying many of Bacolod’s prominent families. To ease their pain, local artists, civic groups and the government organized a festival of smiles. Coined from the words “mass,”meaning a multitude of people, and the Spanish word “Kara,” meaning “face,” the Masskara Festival became a yearly showcase of the city’s talents and creativity and a celebration of their enduring spirit.

The highlight of the festival is the Masskara Street Dance competition where people wearing elaborate masks and garbed in colorful costumes move to the rhythm of Latin music along the streets. This amazing display of joviality, coordination and stamina has become popular to local and foreign tourists and has helped place the City of Smiles in the tourism map.

Bacolod’s Masskara Feestival is just one of the many reasons why Negros Occidental, has become a premiere tourist destination in the country today.

The Department of Tourism, Philippine Convention and Visitors Corporation and Pfizer’s anti-motion sickness medication Meclizine HCI Bonamine, through its “WOW Philippines Biyahe Tayo!” travel advocacy campaign, encourages Filipinos to explore the wonders of nature and savor the richness of history and culture of Negros Occidental.

The charm of its people, the famous sugar plantations, their mouth-waterng cuisine and the beautiful and mostly unexplored natural scenery, deserves to be in the ‘must experience’ list of every traveler.

Aside from the various festivals celebrated in each of its towns and cities, the region also boasts of several natural tourist attractions such as white sand beaches, therapeutic hot springs, abundant waterfalls, rejuvenating mountain streams and several hiking and trekking trails.

Outside the city of Bacolod, tourists can immense into the history and culture of Negros by visiting ancestral homes and sugar plantations and mills and discover how the Negrense elite lived during the turn of the century. Visitors should not miss Balay Negrense in Silay City. This splendid house-turned-museum has become an important part of the region’s cultural history. It was originally the residence of Victor Gaston, the eldest son of Frenchman Yves Germaine Leopold Gaston who developed the sugar industry in northern Negros.

[ Balay Negrense Wiki ]


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