My trip to the Masskara Festival 2015 in Bacolod, Negros Occidental is a lesson on possibility. They say if anything can go wrong, it will. I am fine with that but nobody warned me everything will. 

Yet, my brain managed to bypass all frustration and simply zone in on possible solutions. When things go wrong, you just have to make it right. 

So over the weekend, you probably heard of the massive typhoon that massacred parts of my country. A sane person, which I am not, would have buttoned down the hatches and stayed in. 

But as if to solidify my stupid, I decided on a whim to fly in from Manila to Iloilo, then catch a ferry to Bacolod. Little did I know, the Masskara Festival 2015 is wearing a goddamn super villain cape with an adventure of a lifetime for me.

Friday, I arrived in Iloilo. Here, I took a pump boat to neighboring Guimaras Island to meet a friend also attending Masskara the next day. This is where it all goes down.

At 6 fucking AM of Saturday, we journeyed to the other end of Guimaras for the wharf with small pump boats going to Bacolod. We arrive after an excruciating ride only to find out trips bound for Bacolod are cancelled. Coast guards order due to the big ass typhoon.

But there is hope. We managed to leave Guimaras for Iloilo where bigger ferries are docked. This took three vehicle changes: jeepney, pump boat, and tricycle. We reached the ferry terminal around lunch time and I am certain my kidneys are bleeding

After securing tickets for the next ferry, a new problem surfaced: it will be late when we arrive and there is no point in traveling 7 hours total to go to Bacolod and see Masskara Festival for 3 hours and catch the last ferry back

We needed accommodation. Last minute. Actual festival day. For a stormy day, the world is definitely in flames. 

Most people book rooms months ahead. Because they are not idiots. But miraculously, after going through endless lists of accommodation, there is one pension with a lone available room. Some luck! 

On board the ferry. I caught up with sleep but roused with a mutiny among my belly people. Rough seas tossing the ferry crazy. Party rocking sponsored by The Kraken. 

Even when the ferry anchored nobody can go down because of the roller coaster of waves. But honestly, I did not care much. My face is falling off from exhaustion.  

Out of all this, the only consolation is we arrived in time for the big street parade and the explosion of sights and sounds from the Masskara Festival made me forget everything I have to complain about.

Next day, I decided to get out early to soothe the suffering of yesterday. But surprise motherfucker, all ferry trips are temporarily suspended because of the storm. I am trapped. I have an early evening flight to catch for Manila, which is miraculously not grounded. But how to fucking get to the airport in Iloilo? 

I am told a bigger ship, the RoRo, is sailing at 2 PM. It will take 2 hours and a fucking queue as long as EDSA just to get a ticket. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I waited at one ferry terminal. Maybe it will resume operations after lunch. Maybe

But the risk played out well. The counters opened and if the ferry does not sink because of the tumultuous sea trying to break the world, I will make it to my flight.  

The flight got delayed of course and it took double the flying time and a hell of serious turbulence just to land in Manila but I made it. I am still alive. 

Bacolod tried to break me so many times I lost count. But not today, you son of a bitch. It does not end here. You gave my will to travel a good challenge, but better luck next time. Or not. Please. 



      1. Well… since this is my first time abroad, I have what if like to consider Lady Luck on my side (knock on wood- I’m still in travels!) however, I am accompanied by an unlikely paired travel mate who i’d say is my biggest challenge but that still is of no comparison to your venture.


    1. thanks, safe to say i did not experience masskara, i survived it. there is a big parade, street dancing, amazing costumes and lights, all night long. one island party that should be experienced by all travelers.


  1. You are a frightening soul. A few drops of rain, let alone an entire typhoon, are enough to keep me in bed for a week (with six of the days being sunshine).

    I have to look up the Masskara Festival because that just looks and sounds wild.


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