Masskara: Interesting New Things (Part 2 of 2)

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“So many beers, So little time.” – Me

Kari sa Bacolod, dala maskara.” — Masskara Festival

I never thought that coming back to Bacolod during the Masskara festival would bring such a new experience even for me. Regardless of our 3-day stay, the vacation was not only fun but educational as well. Sounds like something from Knowledge TV? Well, sort of. This trip made me learn new things.

A local song for the street dance? I don’t know if it’s just plain LSS or if it was forced deeper in my ear canals by the giant speakers located all over the Bacolod City plaza. But this year’s music I realized is Ilonggo but in modern version. It was all foreign festive or pop songs in past. I don’t know the origin of this local song but I know that we used to sing it way back in my elementary days: ”may ga-labaylabay na aso, utot ni Celso (A smoke passed by, it was Celso’s gas).” Don’t worry, that’s our wrecked lyrics. The original one is decent. Celso was a  classmate.

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Masskara is pronounced as MASSkara rather than massKARA. I must have been too focused in getting drunk when I was in college that I failed to learn about this simple fact. I even never knew that it was only 28 years ago when the first Masskara festival was celebrated which dawned on me that I may have indeed attended the 1st street parade. I still recall which street I was watching it and what mask my parents bought for me. I was a smiling devil then. Ti abi, a Christian in a devil’s mask.

The Club category street parade had several participants with its members on scooters. Gone are the days when BMX and mountain bikes can be seen parading and performing–or did we miss it? I like what it used to be as the sight of motorized vehicles dominating the parade is not only noisy but polluting as well.

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Bacolod now has its own SM mall. At last. Just barely a year old and built in the reclamation area, it is now home not only to mall goers but of course a job source for almost 6,000 Bacolod employees. This is only one of several new companies (another famous one is Teletech, a BPO company) that have started doing business there. Hopefully other manufacturing corporations get enticed as well. I might consider working there when that happens.

Lastly, and the most significant I’d say, I can now enjoy a shower at home without having to fetch water. For so many years the shower head in our bathroom serves as a mere decoration. We take a bath using kabo. Since we transferred sometime in 1980, on good days I’ll be pumping water from our well, on bad days I would have to fetch a couple of blocks from home. And the water fetching happens daily. No ifs or buts. This routine went on even until my last year at home before I worked in Manila. So before we left home for our trip back to Cavite, I enjoyed my shower just like those in soap commercials. Sorry Greenpeace, I cherished the moment.

So now, although I’m back working, back to reality, I’m now looking forward to being in Bacolod again for the Christmas season. I’m just hoping that next time my online reservations will be better, weather will be great, more polite taxi drivers, fewer litterbugs and that Cebu Pacific’s baggage receiving area will at least have a conveyor belt–automated or not. Ti abi.

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Masskara: Against All Odds (Part I)

Masskara 2007, street dance

After 13 years of hiatus from celebrating my home city’s festival, I got the opportunity to be in one again. This time I’m married. So just this Wednesday, my wife and I finally made our planned celebration trip come true against all odds.

This year we made several online transaction blunders. The first one was when we bought the ticket for our F1 Sepang trip. I was so eager then to save on the tickets shipping charges that I smartly picked the option of claiming the tickets at the race circuit only to find out that the distribution is a month prior to the race. If only that’s a bus away would have made sense but then it’s somewhere in Malaysia. I learned my lessons.

Yet the excitement of buying online seems to have gotten the best of me twice in a row. It happened again when she saw a very good deal from Cebu Pacific in February. It’s an opportunity to pay only Php 1 ($45, tax not included) for a one-way plane ticket. So off we go again with the power of the mighty mouse. After several scrolls and double clicks, we grabbed a very good deal. Or so we thought.

A month and a half before the October event, I filed for a scheduled vacation leave and was proudly telling my colleagues about the cheap trip we’re about to have.

I was excitedly reading my e-ticket print-outs when I noticed the departure details:

                  Oct 18 2007 Bacolod

                  Oct 21 2007 Manila

Finding it hard to believe the reality and severity of the situation I re-opened the email notice from the airline and there it was. I made a mistake with the transaction again: Right departure date, wrong place. It’s the costliest mistake I did this year so far. The Sepang transaction was discovered a couple of minutes after confirmation so at least I just spent a couple of long distance calls and a good ticket agent was able to change the ticket details. This last one cost us Php 5000 which is like almost paying the regular fare.

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Perfect shirt at this moment.

Odds number two is not having a car on the day of our departure. No big deal really but just a bit uncomfortable as we’ve gotten used to driving until Park ‘N Fly. This one just required some change in mindset and some packing techniques–traveling light. But it could have been the cause of my lower back to ache while on the bus.

We finally arrived in Bacolod by lunch time after a smooth flight but with me having an awful lower back pain. So part of the itinerary that afternoon was to look for a manughilot. Luckily, we found one. It’s funny but the last thing on my mind during this vacation is to be massaged on a busy side walk somewhere in Bacolod.

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A massage somewhere along the streets in Bacolod.