Sunday, November 04, 2012

The Day This Blogger Became A Tour Guide To Bloggers

Last October 18 to 22, Enrico Dee of Biyahilo.com invited bloggers from all over the Philippines to "invade" Bacolod and experience the biggest street party in the Philippines, the Masskara Festival.  About thirty-one travel and food bloggers responded and came to party during Masskara 2012.

When the core group of the Negrense Blogging Society, Inc. learned that there were many bloggers coming, we offered to give them a mini heritage and food tour of Silay City, a city known for its arts, culture and ancestral houses.  Of course, since I am the Silaynon in the group, I volunteered to guide them around. Now, I am not a tour operator much less a tour guide but I thought, how hard could it be?...this was after all Silay, the city that I love.

The first thing we had to do was get them a ride.  Now, we are a fairly new bloggers' group and we had absolutely no financial resources, so this was a problem.  However what we lacked in funds, we made up with a lot of faith and chutzpah. Was it Divine Intervention that Merci Food Products launched their newest service, the  31-seater Merci shuttle bus, 2 weeks before Masskara and we were given free use of it for half a day?  I think I heard trumpets when Ria Akamatsu, their marketing manager informed me of the happy news ;)


And so, on Sunday, October 21, sixteen food and travel bloggers converged at the Provincial Capitol.  They were accompanied by Negros Bloggers Maricar Dabao of Viaje Negrense, Atty. Eli and Elena Gatanela of Business Sphere.  I met up with them at the Dr. Jose C. Locsin Cultural and Civic Center in Silay and after a short introduction, we were on our way.  Since we had only about 2 hours, aside from visiting the city's 2 lifestyle museums (Bernardino Jalandoni Pink House and Gaston House / Balay Negrense), both of which have been written and talked about so many times by both mainstream media and bloggers, I thought of bringing them to two houses that are not open to the public but were almost "famous".   One was part of an iconic movie while the other was the private home of Silay's most notable son.  It helped that I knew the owners well, so that they graciously agreed to let us into their homes.  

The first private house we went to was the Jose Gamboa ancestral house where part of the movie Oro, Plata, Mata was filmed.  We showed the bloggers the part of the house where the ballroom scene, the kissing scene between Cherie Gil and Joel Torre, the scene where the guests were informed that war has began, were all shot.  

living room (ballroom scene)

Travel and Food Bloggers with Mr. Buddy Jison, owner and grandson of Jose B. Gamboa

I also attended many birthday parties here as a little girl and it's probably more than 30 years ago that I last entered this house so that this visit was a little nostalgic for me. 

Next stop was the house of Dr. Jose C. Locsin, ConCon delegate, Senator and Secretary of Health.  This house is now under the care of Ms. Charet Locsin, his niece, who is also the aunt of Teddyboy Locsin. 

photo courtesy of Solo Locsin
We were met by his grandson, Solo Locsin who also lives here.  We were regaled with stories and historical facts about the house, it's prominent visitors and of course, Dr. Locsin. After a quick tour around, including the second floor living area, the bloggers were treated to a typical Silay merienda of hot tsokolate and biscocho.

photo by Maricar Dabao
photo by Maricar Dabao
It was almost 11 AM and we had one more place to go.  Although also an ancestral house, the Soledad and Maria Montelibano Lacson is better known as the house of Emma Lacson's Delicacies. This is where the best Silay lumpia can be found. And after tasting the pili squares, paño paño and empanada...guess who went food shopping?

Our last stop was the San Diego Church built in 1925 and completed in 1927.  What is an interesting feature of the church grounds but not known to many, is the presence of the ruins of the original church which has been turned into a grotto and prayer room.

It was almost 12 noon and as much as we would have wanted to show more facets of Silay, the bloggers needed to get back to Bacolod in time for the Masskara street dancing competition.  This is the first time I acted as tour guide for bloggers and it was great meeting them.  I only wish there was more time to really get to know each other but then, there will always be a next time.  To all, hasta la vista, till we meet again!




 

23 comments:

  1. We had so much fun po! Thanks for touring us around! Next time ulit?! Hehehe! Cheers!!! :)

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  2. That's nice of you to act as tour guide to those travel and food bloggers. How I wish I am one of those who have joined in. haha.. It must have been a great experience for everyone at the same time get the chance to meet the respectable blogger behind 'Life, Day by Day'.

    We have plans of visiting Negros too. Dumaguete maybe?

    Have a lovely day, Maritel!

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  3. yes, come to Negros! Bacolod is about 5 hours road trip from Dumaguete. You can fly in to Silay-Bacolod and take the road trip to Dumaguete...tell me when and I can come with you!

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  4. wow, that must be very exciting to tour several bloggers, you are so generous of your time, i am also from Negros, and so glad to know another fellow Negros bloggers, thanks by the way for nominating me in Liebster blog award.

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    1. where from Negros are you from Betchai? If ever you come to my part of the island give me a knock and I will take you around :)

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  5. Wow! Such a wonderful time with bloggers <3 One of the reasons why I love joining events is sharing unforgettable experiences with my fellow bloggers.

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  6. The bloggers were lucky to have you as tour guide. I hope I would be able to tour the place too.

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  7. Very interesting travel. I love being with other bloggers too, the fun and the chat.
    http://www.describeher.info

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  8. I like being with other bloggers too, the fun and the chat :-). Great adventure.

    http://www.describeher.info

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  9. Wow!!! ang galing galing naman.... Great tour you have their..

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  10. It's great to be a host/tour guide to people when you know they are first timer in your place, you'll take pride in boasting the nice places in your area which some are not known to them. I guess you did a very good job touring them around.

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  11. Feels strange, doesn't it? :) I somewhat know it is; during my first lecture in front of ad people, it just felt... weird for me :P

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  12. Ang ganda ng house ng mga Locsin! Nice job. :)

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  13. God is really good and timely providing you of the things you need. The good thing too is your have a good heart to entertain and show your beloved City to visitors. Your act showed a genuine Silaynon hospitality. =)

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  14. There are indeed a lot of great places to see in Silay City. One day, I'll get to see those places.

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  15. Wow! one of the reasons why I love traveling to old cities are the heritage and interesting stories behind the magnificent structure. And being a history lover, I'm always curious behind the stories of the old houses, churches, buildings and even schools! It's why I always feel that whenever I visit those places, I felt like I was part of their life then, the things that they do, the food that they eat and the history behind everything that happened last century. If I were to be part of this tour, I wouldn't say no to this. It's just so exciting to revisit old places and these bloggers are so lucky to be part of this unforgettable journey. I apologize that it's too long but it's just so fascinating to see these structures being revived to save a piece of history. Thank you so much for sharing! :D

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  16. You're such a nice travel guide. Kudos to you for a job well done. The tour must be real fun and exciting. Sana, one of these days, I can set foot in Silay to see those iconic houses.

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  17. Cool! Tour guide bloggers. Something new!

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  18. They've wonderful tour experience in Silay. Congratz for their success tour with your kind and generous assistance.

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  19. Wow! They're so fortunate to be toured around by fellow bloggers.

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  20. Wow, daming travel bloggers! I'm from Iloilo City but never had a chance to visit Silay nor attended Masskara Festival. :( I hope you give me a tour when I visit there next year. :)

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  21. Sounds a lot like fun..
    I kind of remember scenes from the movie Oro, Plata, Mata
    I really like it..
    I just wished that it was filmed in Hiligaynon language.
    a heritage I'm very much proud of.

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