they say bacolod city is the city of smiles. it may not be exactly true but it sure is a city with lots of friendly people in it. you can ask them for directions and they’d readily tell you where to go and which corner to stop so you can take a jeepney from there.
nevermind the 5-second pauses you have to take so you can process their directions all in. because although they may speak in bisaya (well, technically.) they still have their whole accent and their own vernacular dialect going on that you need time to let the message sink in in order for you to understand them.
but it was all good. not that the language had ever been a problem for us in this trip. especially since ram is superb at bridging the communication gap — he would talk to the local folks in tagalog. he reckoned tagalog is easier for them to understand. which is true. strangers understood him better than they understood me no matter how slowly i syllabicated every bisaya word coming out of my mouth. i did not attempt to speak in tagalog, though, lest i appear like i’m possessed by the spirit and am speaking in tongues. but ram, he’s a pro when it comes to communicating with people. so much so that in the middle of a chit-chat with some jeepney driver or whoever, i’d notice he could already talk exactly like the way locals do — accent and all! i kid you not. it’s funny though. i had to elbow him a bit sometimes to make him mind the way he was speaking because it might seem like he’s mocking the person he’s talking to. but he says he can’t help it. so i just let him be.
bacolod city may not be as famous as its neighboring towns when it comes to ancestral houses but it sure is popular for its food! i gather bacolodnons are #1 fans of chicken, as it seems to be their specialty.
not to miss anything truly a bacolodnon original, ram and i went to manokan country for lunch. it’s nothing fancy, actually. it’s bacolod’s equivalent of cebu’s lartian, only there are walls dividing one stall from the other. based on my research, Aida’s is a local favorite. i now know why. the petsopak (pecho + pakpak) was tender and grilled just right. the isaw was crispy. like it was fried before it was grilled. i don’t know how they did it but it was good. the only downside to the tenderness of the chicken was the minor fact that it tasted quite bland to me. ram gave it an 8. i gave it a 7.
oh, and the oysters were really cheap! just P40 per plate. served right to your table by an androgynous woman who asks every passing male customer, “talaba, sir?”
the scorching heat of the august midday sun on our full stomachs made us want to sleep the rest of the afternoon off but i personally make it a rule to explore a new place to the point of exhaustion. who knows when i might come back? sleeping comes in secondary to me. traveling and learning new stuffs would always come first. i can’t afford to be a slob in a new place when i could slob away perpetually at home.
which was the reason why we got on a jeepney in the cruel heat and walked around the huge lagoon fronting the provincial capitol of negros occidental, asking men and women which way to the negros museum. all of the people we asked didn’t know. i guess people don’t care about museums these days. i really don’t too, but it would be nice to learn a thing or two about the city through faded pictures and what-nots.
we finally got to talk to a smart-looking guy carrying lots of document-looking papers on his way to the capitol building. he was the one who told us the directions to the museum. which was just right around the block. a walking distance away. to a museum which holds so little historical memorabilia but offers so much contemporary disappointment.
having visited quite a few number of museums lately, i now have three criteria for branding a certain museum as a personal favorite:
- permission to take photographs;
- presence of a tour guide; and
- willingness and initiative of the tour guide to offer to take pictures of guests.
needless to say, negros museum failed on all counts. it wasn’t even all that nice to begin with. no wow factor. just photos of the influential hacienderos of the older times framed and hung on the wall. maybe a few antiques here and there. a couple of ancient furniture. so-so. but for what it’s worth, negros museum provided us an hour of respite from the sun. and for that i was grateful.
now, i don’t normally write about food because i feel like i’m no expert when it comes to culinary arts. but let’s just say i know what i like. so i’ll let my taste buds be my guide.
bob’s restaurant (across riverside hospital) was some kind of a middle-class resto offering a variety of dishes to its customers. it’s very famous in bacolod apparently, sprouting two(?) outlets in the city alone. cafe bob’s along the highway was more upper-classy in terms of its interior design and exterior appearance. we never got the chance to visit it, though. maybe next time.
what bob’s is famous for is their sate babe and baby back ribs, according to my research. a friend who was in bacolod for a month highly recommended the former, with an added warning that i would lose my mind the moment i taste the pork barbecue slathered with peanut buttery sauce and served with java rice. suffice it to say my sanity remained intact that night. it was very good, but it didn’t exactly drive me to madness. i’d give it maybe a 9. the baby back ribs, on the other hand, i’d give a 6. or maybe 7. because so far, nothing can beat that of casa verde’s.
kuppa was more my taste. not because it was posh but because the food was superb, most especially the seafood linguine. two thumbs up. they wouldn’t call it a bestseller for nothing. definitely a 10. as for the pizza named eugene’s favorite, i’d probably give it an 8.
one of the nice things about kuppa, aside from the cool way they serve their service water (in a wine bottle. and you don’t have to ask for it. they just serve it to you directly right before your meal arrives. which reminds me, their staff is amazing!) is that although it looks really expensive from the outside, their prices are actually reasonable enough. and coming from somebody as broke as i am, that’s saying a lot.
kind of like their lemonade. which, on the menu, they claimed is “the best lemonade you’ll ever taste!” that had me ordering a glass of some. it wasn’t bad, really. but the problem with claims of being the best is that you tend to expect a little bit too much, leaving you slightly disappointed if that something didn’t meet your temporarily heightened standards.
also kind of like the way i expected bascon cafe’s brazo de mercedes to taste incredibly delicious just because some woman from the internet swears by it. it was okay. mainly because i’m not really the desserts kind of girl. ram’s sans rival tasted good, though.
or maybe that was just me having a moment of food envy. hehe.