1st Day of Festival: If you missed our morning, read about our yummy Cheap Lunch and 20 cent Oysters.
We walked around to check out the outside vendors and quickly realized we came just in time for the first street dance competition. The first competition was the Elementary School Category. They start to parade down the street and into the main Bacolod Plaza in front of the judges and crowds of people surrounding them. Since we came about 5 minutes before it started, there were already crowds and crowds of people and we weren’t sure how we were going to even see it.
Being Foreign with a Big Camera has its Benefits
I noticed the empty benches surrounding the plaza and wondered why they were empty. Loads of locals were underneath the benches to watch the show through the spaces. I figured the benches were for important people and high authorities, so we kept looking around. Most of the people on the benches looked like foreigners, photographers, and visitors, so I walked up to a guard and asked in polite English if we could get in and sit on the benches. I pointed to Jeff who was holding our big camera completely clueless of what I was up to and the guard opened the gate for us as the crowd pushed us in. I was so excited! We got to watch the show in front row seats!! These were just some of the benefits you get for being foreign with a big camera.
After about an hour of waiting, the show finally starts. I forgot that being late on Filipino time is actually real in the Philippines. Hot and uncomfortable, we no longer felt like VIP and everyone was pushing up against us. Suddenly, the benches in front of us collapse and a crowd of people are screaming and running away from the site. “Oh Crap!” I say. The guards held everyone else back away from the site, so we watched intently to see if anyone was hurt. We saw the guards holding up the fallen benches and quickly grabbed people from underneath. There were about 3 people injured, 1 on a stretcher, and 2 carried off to first aid. Wow, we thought, I hope our bench doesn’t fall!
Finally the show starts and the crowd goes wild. The kids were in gorgeous, colorful, and bright costumes. They all looked so excited to be part of the show and in such a huge event. The dances consisted of 4 parts and 4 songs. The songs were a compilation sung in Cebuano, Visayan, and Iloilo and discussed the history of Bacolod and what the city and Negros island were famous for. Each group had to dance and portray each part effectively to win.