People from Bacolod City, the capital city of the province of Negros Occidental, Philippines are gearing up to celebrate this year’s 33rd Masskara Festival and the 75th Charter Anniversary of the City of Smiles. The Masskara is a coined word (English word “mass” and Spanish word “cara” which means face) thus means a multitude or mass of happy faces. Also, the word is also a clever remark of “maskara”, a Filipino word for mask, since the main element of the festival is the mask worn by the participants. The event is held annually and the festival begins on the first day of October and culminates on October 19, which is the city’s Charter anniversary.
The festival was conceptualized in the early 1980s, when the country’s sugar capital was challenged by major crisis during those times, the collapsed of sugar industry due to the introduction of sugar substitutes and the sinking of MV Don Juan where many Negrenses perished. The city’s government, artists and civic groups joined together and created the event to uplift people’s spirit. It was a perfect opportunity for people to come together a midst tragic events. Since then, the festival is the symbol of Negrenses resilience against life’s difficulties, a declaration that no matter how tough the trials are, Bacolod will come through, will survive and will be triumphant.
The festival features various activities such as food fest, trade fairs, sports events, musical concerts, street dance and of course the Masskara beauty pageant (the Masskara Queen epitomizes the spirit of the entire festival). The town is filled with vibrant colors, lively spirits, and a tremendous amount of smiles. The masks and costumes used in the festival are ornate, well-embellished and very artistic. It is the ultimate masquerade fun brought to you by the City of Smiles, the people of Bacolod.
For more information and schedule of activities for this year’s festival, you can visit: