MassKara Festival is one of the most popular festival in
the Philippines. This is the world renowned special
event that Bacolod "The City of Smiles", in the Province
of Negros Occidental is celebrating. MassKara festival
is a Mardi Gras like celebration that masked and
costumed street dancers, with fairs and carnivals.
MassKara Festival is celebrated in the third weekend of
October that is close to October 19.
MassKara Festival is a week long celebration that kick
off with mask-making contest, food fairs, brass band
competitions, beauty and talent pageants, a windsurfing
regatta, drinking and eating contests, trade fairs and
exhibits. The highlight of the festivities is the Mardi-gras
parade that the street dancers dance in the streets with
beautiful design mask and colorful costumes in the Latin
rhythms Rio de Janiero style.
MassKara–a fusion of two words–the English word mass
meaning “many” or “a multitude” and the Spanish workd
kara which in English means “face”. MassKara is also
mascarâ, the dialect for the English word mask. MassKara
thus means a multitude of smiling faces. Smiling
colorful masks set on headdresses of every imaginative
design and color are worn by hundreds of dancers
costumed in an explosion of hues as they stomp, pulsate
and gyrate along the major streets of Bacolod every
third weekend of October. MassKara Festival is the
biggest annual tourism event in the province that
coincides with Bacolod City's Charter Day celebration.
Sige Lang… Sige Na! Bacolod, Batò Kita! This is the
theme of the Masskara festival which reflects optimism
of the Bacolodnons- that no matter how tough and bad the
times were, Bacolod City is going to pull through,
survive, and in the end, triumph.
The festival first began in 1980 during a period of
crisis. In the midst of the tragic events, the city's
artists, local government and civic groups decided to
hold a festival of smiles, because the city is also
known as the City of Smiles. They reasoned that a
festival was also a good opportunity to pull the
residents out of the pervasive gloomy atmosphere. More
important, the festival dramatizes the Negrenses’
fortitude and unsinkable spirit.