The MassKara Festival, a popular celebration that traces its beginnings to the early 1980s, is a fun-festival held every October by locals in Bacolod. What makes this festival so much fun is the warmth of the locals. The name of the festival is derived from the words ‘mass’ for many, and ‘kara’, a local word that translated to ‘face’. In addition, the locals use the name as a pun for the local word that translates to ‘masked’.


The resilience of Bacolod’s locals, coupled with their positive attitude has lived on through this festival. Other events that characterize the festival include a dance-off contest where participants show off their skills, a beauty pageant, food frenzies as well as live music.

Look out for the garden shows as well as the agricultural stands where you can learn so much more. The smiling festival is more than just good times; it is reflective of the tenacity of the locals. For visitors, this is an eye-opener into the local culture. Enjoy the MassKara Festival if you travel to Bacolod in October; you will not regret it. The Schedule of Events from October 1-23, 2016.



Back to School


back to school









All across the country students are preparing to start a new school year. The preparation process can be both stressful and exciting for parents and teens. In addition to organizing school supplies and checking wardrobes for appropriate school attire, parents have the optimal opportunity to connect with their kids on some important school year related topics. Research reminds us those teens that report strong communications with their parents are less likely to engage in high-risk behaviors.

Perhaps the puzzling part for parents is to figure out exactly which conversations they ought to be conducting. What follows is the short list on the top topics parents should cover:

1. Avoid assuming you know your teen’s back to school anxieties, ask instead. Some of the top concerns a teen has regarding returning to school may seem surprising to her parents. Among the most common fears are: concerns about class schedules, finding classrooms, finding lockers, and making and keeping friends. When you engage your teen in a conversation about her anxieties you offer a forum for her to openly discuss her worries. When you offer up memories of your own concerns, you may open the door to an in depth discussion about how your teen can quell the angst she maybe feeling.

2. The social scene can lead to pressure at difficult times and places. Study after study supports the supposition that teens often feel compelled to engage is high-risk behaviors such as drinking, drug use and even sexual activity due to peer pressure. Peer pressure can be both direct and indirect. Teens are under direct peer pressure for example, when a friend or group of friends insists that they drink with them at a party. Indirect peer pressure may seem subtle but it is influential just the same. A teen for example, may feel pressured to engage in sexual activity because he believes that all his friends are acting in kind. When parents provide a safe forum in which to talk about these very real pressures, teens are afforded the opportunity to get guidance and support. The key is to listen non-judgementally. Sometimes parents are prone to cut their kids off when they hear something that does not meet with their approval. The discussion then turns into a one-sided lecture. Unfortunately at times like theses, teens are more likely to stop listening because they feel that they are being judged and/or reprimanded.

3. The “sex” talk should be a series of consistent conversations. Sex can be a tough topic to tackle with your teen. Social media however, seems saturated with sexualized content. This means that if your teen is a social media subscriber, chances are, he has been far more exposed than you may realize. Once parents and teens can get through the embarrassment often associated with such conversations, the meaningful dialogue that ensues can have an important impact on your teen. What you think matters to your teen. Your teen takes his cues from you. Open and honest discussion allows your teen to listen and learn from you; in turn it assists them in making healthy informed decisions now and in the future.

4. It’s not about being “good” or “bad” it’s about making appropriate choices. High school life is often rife with labels, there are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ kids, ‘smart’ and ‘dumb,’ ‘jocks,’ and ‘geeks,’ etc. Parents should take advantage of their teen’s newfound ability to think abstractly. You empower your teen when you acknowledge that she possess the ability to make decisions on her own. Be mindful to avoid making generalizations that can translate into self-fulfilling prophecies. All humans make mistakes. More, importantly, one mistake does not mean that a person cannot repair, recover and move forward. When we label teens instead of their individual behaviors there are consequences. Teens labeled as ‘good’ can feel overwhelmed and anxious about one misstep. They may feel overcome by shame and guilt. Teens labeled negatively, may believe that since they are ‘bad’ only bad things are expected from them and therefore, they continue to act accordingly.

5. Goals give teens something to work with and toward. The beginning of a new school year offers up an opportunity to take on new challenges. Talk with your teen about his personal goals for the year. Goal setting can provide a framework in which to approach the new year. Goal setting offers parents an opportunity to learn more about what an individual teen values. When parents acknowledge, affirm, and support these goals they provide important validation to their teens.

Consistent communication with your teen is an essential element for ensuring a healthy, productive future. The beginning of a new school year provides a prime opportunity to approach an assortment of topics with your teen. The key is to avoid confining what you want to say to one conversation. Open and ongoing dialogue with your teen strengthens your bond and encourages your teen to make healthy productive life decisions in high school and beyond.    Svetlana Braun



Flores de Mayo: the Queen of All Festivals


Flores de Mayo (Spanish for “Flowers of May”) is a festival held in the Philippines in the month of May. It is one of the May devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary and lasts for the entire month.

The Santacruzan is the pageant on the last day of Flores de Mayo, held in honour of Helena of Constantinople (known as Reyna Elena) and Constantine the Great finding the True Cross in Jerusalem.





floresdemayo-Mama MAryFlores de Mayo, also known as Flores de Maria (Flowers of Mary) or Alay (offering), is a yearly Catholic and Aglipayan celebration in May that pays tribute to the Blessed Virgin Mary.   Many connect Flores de Mayo devotions as a way of thanking the Blessed Virgin for the rains that finally end summer. However, history links it to the 1854 Spanish custom of the Inmaculada Concepción (Immaculate Conception) and the subsequent 1867 of the devotional ‘Mariquít na Bulaclac nasa Pagninilaynilay sa Buong Buannang Mayo ay Inihahandog nañg mañga Devoto cay María Santísima’ or Beautiful Flowers that in the Meditations in the Whole Month of May are Offered by Devotees to Mary Most Holy.


It’s more fun in Negros!! Panaad sa Negros Festival



The Panaad sa Negros Festival, also called the Panaad Festival, is a festival held annually during the month of April in Bacolod City, the capital of the province of Negros Occidental, Philippines. Panaad is the Hiligaynon word for “vow” or “promise”; the festival is a form of thanksgiving to Divine Providence and commemoration of a vow in exchange for a good life. The celebration is held at the Panaad Park and Stadium, which also houses the Panaad Sports Complex, and is participated in by the 13 cities and 19 towns of the province. For this reason, Negros Occidental dubs it the “mother” of all its festivals.

The first Panaad sa Negros Festival was held at Capitol Park and Lagoon in a three-day affair in 1993 that started April 30. The festival was held at the lagoon fronting the Provincial Capitol for the first four years. As the festival grew each year, it became necessary to locate a more spacious venue. In 1997, the festival was held at the reclaimed area near where the BREDCO Port is located today.

The construction of the Panaad Park and Stadium paved the way for the establishment of the Panaad Park as the permanent home of the festival.

This is the event’s 23rd anniversary that commemorates the province’s trade, tourism, history, agriculture, and culture.

Congratulations Graduates!!!


 Graduation Day
Graduation getting a diploma or academic degree or the ceremony that is sometimes associated, where students become graduates. Before the graduation, candidates are referred to as graduands. The date of graduation is often called graduation day. The graduation ceremony itself is also called commencementconvocation or invocation. In the United States and Canada, the term is additionally increasingly being used to refer to the advancement from a primary or secondary school level. When ceremonies are associated, they usually include a procession of the academic staff and candidates and a valediction. At the college and university level the faculty will usually wear academic dress at the formal ceremonies, as will the trustees and degree candidates.


“Graduation” at the college and university level occurs when the presiding officer confers degrees upon candidates, either individually or en masse, even if graduates physically receive their diploma later at a smaller college or departmental ceremony. After degree completion, graduates can be referred to by their graduating year.

In some places, graduation parties to celebrate graduation from school, college or university are popular. In a recent 2014 nationwide survey in the United States, $985 was the average amount spent on graduation parties.




The time surrounding Easter is a very important week in the Philippines, commonly referred to as Holy Week. This year it falls on 20 – 27 March. The most important religious days in Holy Week are Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Black Saturday, and Easter Sunday. These three days, starting on the Thursday evening, is also referred to as Paschal Triduum. The days follow the passion, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, as portrayed in the Roman Catholic religion. Businesses often close their doors during this time.


Holy Week officially starts on Palm Sunday, which is the Sunday a week before Easter Sunday (also known as Resurrection Sunday). People of the church usually have a procession carrying palms, which represents the palm branches the crowd scattered in front of Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem. Holy Wednesday takes place on the following Wednesday. It’s the day Judas Iscariot decided to betray Jesus and started looking for an opportunity to do so. Maundy Thursday commemorates the last supper Jesus shared with his disciples. Good Friday is the day Jesus died on the cross. This is the time when many Filipinos refrain from engaging in worldly activities such as listening to loud music or drinking alcohol. Church services are held, usually around 15:00, the time Jesus died. Government offices, schools and most major establishments such as shopping malls are closed on Good Friday. Black Saturday (or Holy Saturday) is a muted day across the country and the day Jesus lay in the tomb after his death. Finally, on Easter Sunday, Filipinos celebrate the day Jesus was resurrected from the dead. They share a joyous meal after attending church services in the morning.

BACIWA Defers Action On Bulk Water Supplier


The Bacolod City Water District (Baciwa) Board of Directors have yet to decide on the bid of Cebu-based Mactan Rock Industries Inc. (MRII) and its consortium which pre-qualified in the bulk water supply project of the water district.

Baciwa Board Chair Maria Aida Torre said she lengthily discussed with other directors several matters and concerns, including the offer of the lone bidder for the Injection Points 1 and 2 of the bulk water supply project.

Injection Point 1 is located at the ground reservoir in Hacienda Loygoy, Barangay Granada requiring 9,842 cubic meters. Injection Point 2, which needs 6,500 cubic meters, is situated at the ground reservoir in Barangay Mansilingan.

MRII’s bid price for Injection Point 1 per cubic meter is P8.85, and P9.85 for Injection Point 2, which is below the Baciwa approved bidding capital of P10.

Meanwhile, Utilities Consumers Alliance of Negros (UCAN) legal counsel Vicente Petierre III said he does not believe the Board will disapprove the recommendation of the Bids and Awards Committee and the Technical Working Group to accept the bid of MRII.

Standby for more updates.

Banana Industry Boosts In Negros Occidental


The Negros Occidental provincial government is hastening the operation of its tissue culture laboratory located in La Granja, La Carlota City for banana culture and to produce plantlets for local farmers.

Provincial Planning and Development Officer Ma. Lina Sanogal yesterday said the P5-million laboratory constructed in 2013 is still non-operational due to the delay in the procurement of equipment and chemicals for lack of supplier.

The province is now talking to the supplier of the University of the Philippines in Manila to see if they can offer bid..

Sanogal said the province targets to start operation before the end of the year, adding that it is one of the priority programs of the Marañon administration under its commodity investment plan because of the emerging potential market for banana.

Moreover, banana has been identified as one of the priority commodities of the province. It is now pushing for more production of the said commodity especially the cardava (saba) variety for its versatile uses.

Sanogal said a consultant of big food manufacturing and processing companies in Mindanao recently conducted site visits in the province with Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. It was underscored that the province has huge feasible and suitable sites for banana production.

She added that the province’s initiative on boosting the local banana industry focuses on pushing existing farmers to continue and further expand their production and utilize other ideal areas for more banana plantations.

The province will continue to provide support and assistance for existing and new farmers up to the packaging and marketing level, she assured.

Sanogal said the provincial government targets China to be the exporter of its banana products.

Mayor Puentevella Seeks NBI’s Help on MERS-CoV scare


BACOLOD City’s Mayor, Monico Puentevella has sought the help of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Monday to help identify those responsible for spreading false information over social media.

Puentevella said he wrote to the NBI because he wants to catch the culprit who caused many people to panic by spreading that a Korean national in the city was tested for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Corona Virus (Mers-CoV).

The mayor said they will be filing a case of sabotage against those responsible to stop the attempt to tarnish the image of Bacolod.

“Whoever is involved must be investigated so this thing will not happen again,” Puentevella said.

Last week, a message circulated through text saying: “Good afternoon everyone. Please wear N95 mask for Mers-CoV prevention. One person is positive here in CLMMRH, Bacolod City as confirmed today. Spread the word. By Dr. Lim, president of Riverside Medical Center.”

Because of the text message, social media posts also circulated prompting panic among college students.

However, a personnel from the mentioned hospital in the text message said that it was not issued by hospital management.

A Korean student was under observation at the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital (CLMMRH) for suspected Mers-CoV last week.

The 22-year-old male Korean was found negative of the virus, and that he was only suffering tonsillitis.