My first time in the Philippines was to tag along with my then-boyfriend, now-husband to shoot a local band’s album artwork. We were only in Manila then, staying in the frontman’s home with his family. It was since then we became close with the family, we’ve also attended each other’s wedding in our home countries respectively. Their wedding took place in a beautiful old mansion in the island of Negros, unfortunately at that time it was also the birth of my Godson, so I stayed back and missed out on the beautiful event.
Two years later, we went to visit again, this time we also scheduled in two great events to go to. First was the Graphika Manila, an annual design conference which sees numerous designers of various mediums from all over the world give talks. It was my first ever and my husband’s second time then. I was lucky enough to listen to reps from big names like Droga5, Psyop and GMunk just to name a few. If you’re in the creative industry, I highly recommend this awesome design conference!
So, anyway…besides Graphika Manila, we also went for The Smashing Pumpkin’s show. I was never a huge fan, but I have always enjoyed their music and their show that night was amazzzzzing!
BACOLOD, PHILIPPINES : HOME OF CHICKEN INASAL
We flew out to Bacolod a couple of days later to have some real R&R time. Needless to say, I was really excited on seeing this mansion that my husband had been telling me about. Here’s some quick facts about Bacolod.
Bacolod is the capital of Negros Occidental, it takes approximately an hour by flight from Manila. Bacolod was once colonized by the Spanish, Americans and the Japanese. It is also as the title reads, home of Chicken Inasal. This chicken dish is a famous and local favourite in the Philippines, grilled chicken at its best! So, whenever you’re in the Philippines, make sure you try Chicken Inasal, besides the regular and already famous Chicken Adobo and Le Chon (roast pork).
This house, if I remember correctly is more than a hundred years old, at the entrance they even have a printed family tree from the previous generations on a table. I remember it to be rather huge. This house also sits in the middle of a sugar cane plantation which was owned by the family. Back in the day, people would make sure their rooftop was accessible so you could overlook your plantation, and watch out for any potential thieves or whatever other intruders. You won’t be seeing photos of the exterior because, well… sometimes, some places, as with faces are meant for mental storage. Hah.
Behind the house is a small little chapel for the locals who live nearby, and the padre (priest) that preaches there is one of the descendants of this family, in other words, my friend’s uncle. It really is and was a charming places.
The next day, we went out to the city centre and also the nearby beach where many families live. The families that lived by the beach were of the lower income, but as always the Pinoys are relatively a happy nation despite their economic status. It was nice to see how the children run care freely around the neighbourhood.
We drove out the day after through some massive fields of gold and green to get ourselves to a quiet little island, Lakawon. Great thing about this island is that it doesn’t have any accommodations. I say great because that means tourist won’t be flocking in by the busloads, or in this case boatloads. This is a really small island, with nothing much to do but just bake in the sun, soak in the blue sea and maybe eat. I don’t know about you lot, but I do enjoy the beach when it’s all quiet and serene.
Here are bunch of photos I took while we were waiting for the boat to Lakawon. Quite a cute, small little village by the sea.
Back in the big old house, we strolled around the area in the evening before our gracious host prepared us a yummy meal, which included a local ceviche dish.
This is definitely something everyone should do. Your friend will more often than not, be more than happy to show you around and bring you to places where tourists wouldn’t really know of or go to. It of course also helps a lot if you’re in a place where language is a problem, but really…visit your friend and get them to bring you to places that they, personally know of and enjoy. See a foreign land through a local’s eye. You’ll be surprised of how little you know about them and their home.