The Buglasan Big Stage in Dumaguete, Oriental Negros

Buglasan Festival in Dumaguete: Frying Nemo on the Big Stage



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Every year in October Dumaguete hosts the enormous Buglasan Festival for the province of Negros Oriental. The event lasts ten days and included everything from a rodeo to a fireworks contest to an enormous outdoor food bazaar to my personal highlight: a performance by our band Frying Nemo on the big stage at the Capital in front of a crowd of more than 5,000 people. Needless to say, this was one of the busiest ten days of my entire time in the Philippines!

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    After weeks of preparing the Provincial Capital grounds, the 2005 Buglasan Festival kicked off in Dumaguete on a Friday night. I had no idea this many people would be there!

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    Even though the crowd gathered at the Buglasan was easily 20,000 people, I ran into my friends Welmer and Ronald from Apo Island. They joined us for a San Miguel "grande", which is definitely a beer you share among several friends.

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    Each major municipality in the province of Negros Oriental built an elaborate booth to promote their signature tourism destination. It was really incredible to imagine how much work went into each of these structures--especially considering that the festival only lasted ten days! There was a competition among the booths with a cash prize for the winner. The Siaton booth was one of the coolest of all I thought and it made me want to go visit there, it's not far from Dumaguete.

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    Bais, the municipality just north of Dumaguete had a very finished looking structure with a really nice wood paneled porch at the top.

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    Hayahay had what was probably the best location for a booth in the whole place. Sande had built a two level restaurant from bamboo and coco lumber just like the ones at the real place by the sea. Here's a shot from the Hayahay balcony of the huge crowd gathered for opening night of the Buglasan.

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    Hey guys, take it easy, Buglasan lasts nine more nights!

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    As an extra promotion for Buglasan, the festival organizers decided to make an entrance in the Guiness Book of World Records for the longest motorcycle procession. I was downtown when the huge clattering group of them buzzed past with a flag attached to each bike to indicate which number in the sequence for the world record the driver was.

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    Since so many people in Dumaguete own motorcycles the procession was huge, and about as loud as a Metallica concert.

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    Appropriately, the truck from the Traffic Management Office was in the lead of the procession.

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    Just behind the traffic management truck was this truck full of drummers who added a little more bass to the cacaphony coming from the procession.

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    The first bike across the world record-setting finish line was Provincial Governor Arnaiz from Negros Oriental.

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    Following close behind was Dumaguete's answer to the Hell's Angel's. Well, not really, they all seemed like really nice people.

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    It didn't take very long for the fumes from all those two stroke engines to make the air unbreathable, but it still was a really fun event to watch everyone turn out to participate in.

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    As it turned out, my friend Jutsze Pamate (the official band manager of Frying Nemo) arranged for us to have a gig on the main stage at the Buglasan. This was our biggest performance yet, so we all met at Kerwin's house for a night of last minute practicing.

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    After practice, we celebrated by buying a roasted chicken (lechon manok) at the Buglasan Festival and then went over to the Royal Suites for some videoke.

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    What better way to get ready to play for the Buglasan than to go get judged by the impartial electronic judge inside each videoke machine?

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    Snapper from the Peace Corps batch that arrived a year ahead of me was in Dumaguete for a last tour of hanging out and videoke after he finished his epic "Tour de Snap". He biked almost non-stop from Singapore to Hong Kong!

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    Ramon was singing while Kerwin showed off his new onion earring.

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    From left: Andy, Snapper and me.

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    I forget what Ramon was singing here, but it was very well performed as I recall.

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    The next night was our big performance at the Buglasan Festival. We hung out at Hayahay and got in a little last minute practice before we played. I was a little too nervous to eat, especially since we could see the enormous crowd gathering by the main stage that we would be playing at in a little while. Photo by Katia Bezerra-Clark

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    They had us up on the bill as the special guest act to open up for the live band competition. Photo by Katia Bezerra-Clark

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    We waited back stage for our turn on the big stage. Photo by Katia Bezerra-Clark

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    Better to keep the pick in your mouth than let it fall out of your pocket under such circumstances. Photo by Katia Bezerra-Clark

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    Just before we went on for our big gig we got in a quick band photo. Photo by Katia Bezerra-Clark

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    Kerwin was the first to get set up and luckily he started playing to keep the crowd interested because I was having trouble getting my guitar set up with the gear on the stage. Photo by Katia Bezerra-Clark

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    In this photo, I'm making the "turn up the volume" signal to the sound man at the side of the stage. For some reason I had trouble getting my guitar sound loud enough at first. Photo by Katia Bezerra-Clark

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    As we started playing our songs to the assembled crowd of over 5,000 people I thought to myself that this is as close to being a rock star as I'll ever come. Photo by Katia Bezerra-Clark

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    My guitar cord is kind of short, and the sound man didn't have an extension so I had to stand back from the crowd a lot further than I would have liked. Still, it was pretty cool to hear our music echo out through the huge PA system and across the Capital grounds. Photo by Katia Bezerra-Clark

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    We opened with "Flake" by Jack Johnson. Photo by Katia Bezerra-Clark

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    Next we played "Tripping Billies" by Dave Matthews Band. It's kind of a tough song to play, so I was pretty excited when we got through the song without any big mistakes. Photo by Katia Bezerra-Clark

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    Next we played "Tripping Billies" by Dave Matthews Band. It's kind of a tough song to play, so I was pretty excited when we got through the song without any big mistakes. Photo by Katia Bezerra-Clark

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    One of Kerwin's friends videotaped our performance, it was cool to be able to watch how we did objectively without being under the influence of the stage induced high from playing for the big crowd. The local Dumaguete tv station also taped us and apparently played it over the local cable channel. Photo by Katia Bezerra-Clark

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    I thought the five of us looked pretty small against the backdrop of the big stage. Photo by Katia Bezerra-Clark

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    We closed our short set with Dave Matthews Band's "Ants Marching", which is a really fun song to play. Raul had a great sax solo in place of DMB's Boyd Tinsley violin solo. Photo by Katia Bezerra-Clark

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    Immediately after playing at the Buglasan we rushed over to Hayahay for our usual Wednesday night peformance. Nowell was with us in spirt, playing the trumpet from the sound room behind Kerwin's drum set. Photo by Katia Bezerra-Clark

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    Kekerdz pictured here laying down one of his funky bass lines. Photo by Katia Bezerra-Clark

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    Katia asked me if I was wearing sweat pants before I went on stage at the Buglasan. For the record, they're not, but I guess maybe from a distance they might look a little sweat pants-esque. Photo by Katia Bezerra-Clark

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    This was definitely one of those nights that I wished we could play longer. Photo by Katia Bezerra-Clark

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    To cap off the ten days of Buglasan Festivities, there was a huge fireworks contest over the Provincial Capital grounds.

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    Each municipality in the province entered the contest, so it was continuous fireworks for what seemed like more than two hours.

  • Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005

    Dumaguete Buglasan Festival - October 2005
    The finale show was done by the Dumaguete fireworks experts, and they won. Talk about home field advantage!