I don’t want to call us “foodies” because we don’t always eat. But, like many Filipino families, our family is anchored by food and our dining table, and food is our priority whenever we travel. Now that we have grown up, we don’t just seek out food, we also seek out makers and producers of food. We love knowing where our food come from and how other people are making a living through food. So it was no wonder our first destination on a Saturday in Bacolod was the Farmers’ Weekend Market. Advertisements
The first time we visited Bacolod City, we stayed at a hotel called Bascon Hotel. It was an old hotel, with dark wood panels, dark carpet, and a dark hallway. The “lobby” consisted of one wooden bench and a long horizontal wall mirror and was sparsely decorated. Our room, like the hallway, was dark and “well-curtained,” the bathroom tiles may have been witnessed to many a crime or passion.
Behind The Negros Museum at South Capitol Road is the city’s former zoo. Don’t be fooled by the seemingly haphazard condition when seen from the street. The former zoo has now been converted into an ecological foundation that aims to rehabilitate and breed endangered Negrense animals.
Bacolod has always been a romantic city to me, what with it’s glorious hedonistic past especially at the height of the sugar industry. I always equate Bacolod with mestizas and mestizos, of decadent pastries, of luxurious stews, and an old dilapidated train that used to carry sugar from one hacienda to another. That dilapidated train used to be the major attraction of the Negros Museum. Now, a decade after since my first visit, the museum has improved and it has unmasked the City of Smiles.
Because of the often difficult modes of transportation from the city to my hometown in Siquijor, I have always packed my bags light because I need to carry them myself. Our provincial transportation is as rough as you can get that sometimes we sit with chickens and pigs and a hundred other people. From an early age, I have carried my own bags and thus have learned to pack light and pack well that now it does not matter what mode of transportation I take. On our trip to Vietnam in August, I managed to fit 30 days worth of outfits in just one backpack weighing a mere 6 kilos!
The landscape, tranquil, brought tears to my eyes, and I was on a culinary delight sampling almost everything the hawkers aboard the train offered, including the raw meat sausage called nem nuong, without even asking what it was. I wish I could say I roughed it up and did it the way locals did, in the open air carriage with the fresh hot air blowing through my sticky face, but I was in the airconditioned cabins, sitting like the tourist that I was, no sweat in sight, and actually already writing a draft of this post.