Tuesday, October 21, 2008


This weekend marked the biggest event that the people of Bacolod celebrate. In other parts of the the Philippines the San Mig brewing company will sponsor Oktoberfest events, but in Bacolod MassKara dominates the month. The festival coincides with the founding of the city, but remembers a point in the city's history when the sugar industry almost failed. Supposedly the people of Bacolod weren't about to let a failing economy get in their way. So instead they put on silly masks, got drunk, and had a three day party.

Decades later there is a whole month of mask-themed events. The culmination of which is on the three days before October 20th. For those three days there are dance competitions to see which schools and barangays have the best dances and masks. First there is a street dancing competition which ends in the plaza, where the troupes perform a full 10 minute dance sequence. The troupes spend weeks and hundreds of hours preparing their routine and a lot of pride rests on being a winner. The city is dedicated to making the event famous the world around and dishes out 150,000 pesos per barangay entry, on top of which there will also be additional corporate sponsors. The dances are a sight to see, especially if you like being hot, hearing the same song 50+ times, and outrageous colors.

After all the dancing is done the locals close the major streets, have dinner, drink, and dance. The party starts around 9PM and most people get home around 5AM. We ventured out to see what everything was about. Needless to say, we stayed out late and had a great (but safe time). I'm still a little pooped out from all my adventures, but staying up for 24 hours and then having class the next day will do that to you. Overall, its a really cool cultural experience and something that I'll get to see at least two more times. It definitely lifted my sagging spirits. Two more weeks of training and then its time for the real deal!


Saipan said...

Perhaps it's time for you and John to look for a girlfriend to alleviate your so called boredom. If you find local women unattractive, open your eyes to your fellow female volunteers. Maybe, Julie? Just a joke....Cheers

Loren said...

Cool shots.. I'll be posting Duma's dance competition pics from yesterday in a few days. We can compare next week when we get to see each other again! Exciting..

Catherine Trottman said...

justin!!! i am officially in love with your blog. i am so sorry it has taken me this long to comment on it, but, as you know, peace corps only allows for so much internet time. so now i'm in a suboffice and have lots of time to read other people's blogs while i'm waiting for election results.

it is a universal peace corps phenomenon that we all revert to high school. at least that's my experience too. it is SO NICE to hear someone else from home talk about these crazy peace corps experiences! i am on field trip right now. did you do that?? i am about halfway done with training, thank god.

you seem to be doing well and i am too, we should email each other or something more often so we can share peace corps stories. i bet you are missing coffee shop almost as much as i am!