Pascua sa Bacólod: Hasta Luego Negros


Town Plaza of Pontevedra, Negros Occidental

After a long day at Hinigaran, we decided to wind down back to Bacólod City for us to cap off the Christmas tour of Negros. In the bus, I was able to sleep but arouse just in time to see the town plaza of Pontevedra. This sleepy little town is my family’s ancestral town where the family patriarch, a Spaniard, settled here and ran a farm. That town plaza was a witness to the bloody end of his life when he was shot there after being found guilty of sedition by the Spanish military court in a trial after a heated and enraged debate with the town friar. What could they have been debating? No one could remember and was not mentioned in the family annals but that gave me a sense of connection with this town. Some of my relatives still own the patriarch’s farm here.

Kalkag or dried small shrimps sold in the Bacólod Central Market

After a little segway at the Airphil Express office in the Old Bacólod Airport to pay for additional baggage allowance, he asked where he could buy some dried fish. I took him to the dried fish section of the Bacólod Central Market to do some pasalubong shopping. The Gatuslao Street portion of the Bacólod Central Market is where the most pasalubong shops are. Before even the pasalubong shops like Bongbong’s and Merci Pasalubong opened, Bacoleños did their pasalubong shopping here and some still do to buy quality pasalubong at bargain prices. Aside from dried fish, sweets like piaya, pinasugbo, baye-baye, kalamayhati sa paya, and processed foods like chorizo Bacólod, chorizo pudpud and uncut guinamos or bagoong blocks can also be found here.

A dried fish stall at the Bacólod Central Market

Unfortunately for us, it was a lean season and stocks have not arrived from fish-producing areas of Negros or those from nearby Bantayan Island of Cebú so we have to go through every stall and find stocks of dried fish in bargain prices. After a few minutes of walking, we did find the stall with the price we were looking for. My guest bought a box of dried fishes like kalkag or dried small shrimp, dried beluga, danggit, dried squid, dilis and another batch of small dried fishes. I just bought one for my family, our favorite fish tocino. Since we bought a lot, they gave us “paaman” or a little bit extra to bring home. I wish I could have bought more but I still have to buy pasalubong from both Bongbong’s and Merci Pasalubong for folks back in Manila to enjoy as a treat.

Front façade of La Planta Centro Hotel, the site of the former Ice Plant

Since I will be taking the same Airphil Express flight to Manila as my guest, I decided to move in to my guest’s suite so that we can together to Bacólod-Silay International Airport at four in the morning. He checked in at La Planta Centro Hotel, one of the most beautiful hotels in Bacólod City along Araneta Street. As we entered the grand lobby of the hotel, beautiful receptionists greeted us. We just left our bags in the room and accompanied my guest to buy some lechon since the hotel was near the famed lechon alley. We chose native pig for lechon since the taste was awesome which we brought to Chicken House for dinner with chicken inasal. What a tasty end to my year-ender tour of Negros but more adventure awaits for me as I go back again this 2012.

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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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