Bacolod MassKara Festival

There are festivals all year round in the Philippines but only few really make a mark to the minds of the people. One them is the MassKara Festival in Bacolod City, the capital of Negros. The festival’s original concept was to show hardships of the people of Negros and a tool of escapism during the sugar market crash of the early 1980s. Negros, being the sugar basket of the Philippines was hit hard by the downturn. The festival instills among its citizens the culture of escapism and obscurantism, where they have to accept and forget their sufferings caused by the exploitation and oppression of the landlords. The term MassKara came from the words “mass”, meaning crowd, and the Spanish word “cara” meaning face.

Photo by Fitz Villafuerte | More Info


The smiling mask, adopted by the organizers as the festival’s symbol, dramatize the Negrenses’ happy spirit despite the periodic economic downturns in the sugar industry. Though the years, it has become a popular tourist attraction and a must see event for both local and foreign tourists. The main event of the festival is the street dancing reminiscent of the Rio de Janerio’s street dancing festival.

From the festival, the smiling masks have become the city’s symbol, thus earning its tag as the “City of Smile.” This annual festival, which has become one of Philippines best known tourist attraction, has been earning raves both from local and foreign tourists. Masskara Festival has also been judged the most beautiful and colorful festival among the various contingents from other countries. Also during the festival, the city’s public plaza is brought alive into a huge beer garden.

Due to the festival’s popularity, expect the hotels in Bacolod to be fully booked weeks or even months in advance.

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