Pilgrimage to the Food Mecca


Food is perhaps man’s common interest but apart from the nourishment it gives, we desire to enjoy and take pleasure from it. Growing up from Negros Occidental, a province which I can say is obsessive-compulsive about its food, I always desire to savor food from my very homeland. Daily discussions in a Negrénse home in Manila may contain a tribute to the most missed food from the dear motherland. In fact, this is also seen as a common topic in the Main Thread of Skyscrapercity Bacolod which inspired me to make this Victorias Spanish Sardines-inspired banner for Thread 114.

When we say Negros Occidental, people often think of a shabby province full of sugarcane but the truth is that the beauty of the province is not just in its sugarcane fields but also in its scenic view and more importantly, the food. As you can see in the banner, there are the famous Negrénse treats like piaya, inasal and Calea’s full selection of cakes but we can also see the overlooked Manapla puto, the export-quality Spanish sardines of Victorias Milling Company and the cansi (Negrénse version of bulalo) made in the hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Bacolod’s Chinatown called Sharyn’s. Even as a good representation of food was featured, it believe that little justice was done especially knowing that there are other countless delicacies Negros Occidental can offer North to South.

Each city and town of Negros Occidental boasts of its own version of delicacies that is worth promoting to the tourists going in and out of Bacolod City. If you have experienced riding a bus around the province, it is a common sight to see tinderas selling the local delicacies. Along stops, one can even savor the taste that uniquely Negrense. I have been looking at food blogs but I can proudly claim that these food bloggers will have their blogs filled to the brim if they visit Negros Occidental. The testament to the Negrénse excellence in the food scene can be seen in the big local restaurants lining up the streets of Bacolod. I have lived all my life in Bacolod City but I have to admit that I haven’t finished going around the City of Smiles in search of good food. Just when I thought I ate the best, I will discover another one just around the corner. Unlike the Metro, the best places can be found as well in the most unexpected places. As some people will say, follow the locals and follow your nose for you might be in for life’s simple pleasure.

I give this as a challenge to my food blogger friends to try visiting Bacolod City and Negros Occidental. If you have not been to Food Mecca, the Sugarlandia in itself is one big food Mecca awaiting for you to discover. However, if you are out of budget for the moment, I suggest you visit the 26th Negros Trade Fair on September 28-October 2, 2011 in the Rockwell Tent. This event has been going on for twenty-six straight years and has never failed to feature the best of Negros Occidental. Of course, the Trade Fair is only a speck of what Negros offers but certainly it will snare out the culinary adventurista in you. Be sure not to miss this event. If you are interested to go to the Trade Fair or want to tag me along as your bona fide food tour guide in Negros, be sure to contact me in my email, mwm.magallanes@gmail.com or my mobile at 09274857334. For the Twitterites out there, you might as well follow me on Twitter or explore my Negrénse thoughts on Tumblr.

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About Mark Mayo - Magallanes

MARK MAYO - MAGALLANES – blogger by passion, cook by hobby, student by life, theater actor by fate, writer by work, and Christian by grace. Part Filipino, Chinese and Spanish by blood, he is proudly 100% Negrénse. His love for his home Island of Negros, heritage and lifestyle has led him to write much about it and full-time, all-time. View all posts by Mark Mayo - Magallanes

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