Masskara Festival

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MassKara Festival

The MassKara Festival is an annual festival which takes place during the first two weeks of October, held in Bacolod City in the province of Negros Occidental. This week-long festivity coincides with the city's charter anniversary.



Street-dancing during the MassKara Festival

In 1979, Negros Navigation’s luxury liner MS Don Juan collided with a tanker and hundreds of Negros citizens died. It was also during this period when the city experienced severe economic crisis due to the periodic downfall of the sugar industry. Bacolod is known as the "Sugar Bowl of the Philippines" and the people relied on sugar cane as its primary agricultural crop.

In 1980, in the wake of tragedy and economic hardships, government personalities, civic figures and artists with full support from the city government decided to create a festival to hide the sufferings of the Negrenses. From then on, it promoted the city as the "City of Smiles" in order to uplift public spirits and enable them to "keep on smiling" no matter what. Since then the Masskara Festival, symbolized by smiling masks, has been held every October.

The MassKara Festival has represented the country in major festivals in Asia, notably in the Chinggay Festival in Singapore in 1998, the Lunar Festival of Hong Kong in 2001, in the International Tourism Festival of Shanghai in 2004 and in the Midosuji Festival Parade of Osaka, Japan, where it emerged as champion in the foreign category and first runner-up in the local category -- the first award to be given to a foreign participant in the 10-year history of that Japanese festival.


The term "Masskara" is a homonym of "maskara" or mask, created from two words: mass, as in many, and the Spanish word "cara," meaning face. The smiling mask, which is the symbol of the festivity was conceived by the organizers to show the happy spirit of the Negrenses despite experiencing tragedy and economic crisis.


Activities include mask-making contests, disco king and queen competitions, coconut-milk drinking, pig catching, pole climbing competitions, carnivals, food festivals, street dancing competitions, electronic masskara, trade fairs and exhibits, concerts, a beauty pageant (the search for the annual MassKara Queen) and of course, the MassKara parade. Every group is represented is this parade: civic associations, commercial establishments, schools, private and government organizations. They gather and dance along the streets, flaunting their colorful costumes and elaborately painted masks -- all vying for the grand prize.

MassKara 2008

Masskara 2008 logo


This year's theme for the 29th MassKara Festival, "Bacolod City, Around the World" is a prelude celebration which will mark Bacolod City's 30th year on 2009. It will also highlight its membership in the global community of cities and promote to the people around the world the things that Bacolod is proud of -- its food, its art and culture, its world-class manpower and most especially its courageous spirit and energy. It will also feature the 70th Charter Anniversary of Bacolod City on October 19.

MassKara 2008 Music

MassKara Festival 2008 Music

Schedule of activities

October 1
  • Opening of Festival Sites SM MassKara Village - SM City
  • Gateway to MassKara 2008 - Robinsons
  • Launch: Food/beer Kiosks - Public Plaza
  • Launch: MassKara Beat Contest - Public Plaza
  • MQ (Masskara Queen) Presentation of Candidates
  • MQ Q and A segment
  • Opening: MassKara Shop - SM City North Wing
October 4
  • MassKara Nights - Public Plaza
  • MQ: Swimsuit Competition segment
October 5
  • MassKara Nights - Public Plaza
  • Opening: Magica MassKara
October 6-9
  • Open
October 10
  • MassKara Nights - Public Plaza
October 11
  • MQ Talent Night - Open
  • MassKara Nights
  • Public Plaza
October 16
  • Streetdancing: Schools Category - Araneta- Plaza
October 17
  • Streetdancing: Barangay Category - Araneta- Plaza
  • MQ Festival Costumes - Araneta-Plaza
  • Electric MassKara Year II- Lacson St.
  • Drumline: The MassKara Beat Contest- Plaza
October 18
  • Streetdancing: Open Category - Araneta-Plaza
  • Electric MassKara Year II- Lacson St.
  • MQ Coronation Night, Electric MassKara - Main Stage
  • MQ Parade to Old City Hall - Lacson- Araneta St.
  • Countdown to Charter Day - Araneta St.
October 19
  • Charter Day Grand Parade
  • Electric MassKara Year II - Lacson St.
  • Electric Float Parade Street Dancing - Lacson St.- Plaza




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