The Masskara Festival is Bacolod’s Biggest Annual Event
Bacolod City will never be called the City of Smiles without any reason at all. Once again, this charming city in the province of Negros Occidental has celebrated the country’s most colorful fiesta: The Masskara Festival. As we all know, Masskara is a cardinal symbol that depicts the many faces of life and the challenges it brings. It is a festival of thanksgiving for the bounty showered upon the Negrenses during the season of harvest. Animated street dancing highlights the celebration flocked in by thousands of spectators from all over the country.
The Masskara Festival is celebrated during every month of October. This event is hosted by Bacolod City during the first two weeks of October. A horde of visitors, both local and foreign, enjoys twenty days of beer drinking, dining, and street dancing at the Masskara Festival. Talk about serious Filipino partying.
The term Masskara is coined from two words — mass, meaning a crowd and the Spanish cara, the word for face. Masskara has a double meaning, first is “mask” and the second one is “many faces”. Cultural artist, painter, and cartoonist Ely Santiago coined the term in 1980. The festival was conceived to lend gaiety to Bacolod City’s Charter Day, celebrated every 19th of October. In that year, tragedy came to Don Juan, a vessel carrying members of even the affluent Negrense families, and the sugar mills were in a slump.
The symbol of the Masskara Festival is a smiling mask, which was envisioned to show that the people Negros Province manifests a happy spirit in spite of the entire crisis they have gone through.
The town plaza gets flooded by people from all over the Visayas wanting to join in on the Bacoleños’ distinctive festivities. Singing and dancing are staples, and so are the pole-climbing and pig-catching competitions. Just a few of the must-experience competitions are mask-making, coconut milk-drinking, and disco dancing.