Michelle de Guzman | September 2008
To find out more about what the weddings of a place are like, sometimes one should look at the place itself – its past, people, and culture.
For example, what do people know about Bacolod? The home of Mass Kara Festival? It’s not as if people go around wearing masks during their wedding ceremonies.
So instead, let’s go back a little bit in time, just to know more about the place called the City of Smiles.
Negros Occidental is also widely known for the hacienderos, the ones of Ilonggo elite descent, and the Spaniards and French who flocked to the place due to the collapse of the textile industry in the 19th century. Thus, the sugar industry was born and sustained.
With the opening of the Suez Canal, Bacolod was flooded with European fineries and artworks, and images of Baroque churches and sprawling mansions. Such splendor is evident in downtown San Sebastian Church as well as in the ancestral homes of the Locsins, Lizareses, Aranetas, Gastons and Lacsons.
The appreciation for details is also apparent in art pieces such as the mural mosaic of a native Madonna in tapis, carrying the Child Jesus with a rosary—all these were done in capiz-shell squares of different sizes.
Some heritage structures of this fascinating p0lace are Aniceto Lacson House featured in films like Lino Brocka’s “Gumising Ka, Maruja” and Negrense Peque Gallaga’s “Oro Plata Mata”; and the Lizares Mansion in Talisay, with its Moorish window patterns, an angel of molave retrieved from the family cemetery, Placido Mapa’s desk, and early drawings by National Artist Arturo Luz.
Silay City, on the other hand, is home to the Romanesque Church of San Diego and its silver dome and big clock.
With these snapshots of Negros Occidental, it is easy to imagine how intimate and elaborate, or joyous and alive (with numerous relatives and some politicians and alta sociedad thrown in) Bacolod weddings are.
We can imagine the dancing (after all Visayan folk dancing covers everything from worship dances to courtship and wedding dances—mostly mimetic dances of a flight of birds, catching fish, making wine, etc.).
And we can imagine the way they courted back then, a tradition passed on by ancestors from the Ilocos Province. “Tapat” is courtship through poetry and song, when a young man serenades a lady, and the lady answers in a song of how long a courtship he has in front of him. Then the man replies with a more passionate song and the replies continue until an “understanding” is made.
Lastly, we can imagine the place—Bacolod in all its splendor and charm. The people who live here in sugarland, with their sing-song accent, gracious hospitality and refined, strong-willed personalities truly set it apart. There is the smell of chicken inasal (which probably won’t go missing in any family get-together or wedding rehearsals); and the lure of golf, water sports, mountain biking to the adventurous.
Bacolod City is heritage, culture, and nature all rolled into one. Easily accessible, interesting and affordable, it is definitely a splendid option for an out-of-town wedding destination.
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Kasal.com thanks the following sources for this article:
“Bacolod City Profile.” Retrieved September 4, 2008 from http://www.bacolodcity.gov.ph/profilei.htm
Tejero, Constantino. “Bacolod, the bountiful.” Retrieved September 4, 2008 fromhttp://services.inquirer.net/print/print.php?article_id=20070325-56772