Masskara Festival, Bacolod City: Fun Facts About the Fun
Flights to Bacolod for an October itinerary are most likely full by now, so let us bring you the joy of the Masskara Festival of Bacolod City instead. Here are some things you probably didn’t know about one of the most popular festivals in the country:
First of all, Bacolod City‘s “Masskara” Festival is really spelled with a double “s”. While it’s true that there are references made to the masks that the participants wear to the parade, the term “masskara” is actually a combination of the words “mass” (an assembly of people) and “kara” (derived from the Spanish word cara, which means “face”). The masks worn during the Masskara Festival in Bacolod City are all carved to give wide smiles.
Upon closer inspection, you can tell that the person behind the mask doesn’t look as perky as the mask projects. How could you be perky if you’ve been wearing a heavy costume under the heat of the sun for practically an entire day? Oh, but they can perform for the crowd! I guess the adage “the show must go on” applies here, as well.
Apparently, this festival started when the province’s main agricultural crop, the sugarcane, hit rock bottom way back in the early 80s. Then, MV Don Juan sank and took with it the lives of many Negrenses. A general feeling of depression followed, prompting the local government and civic groups to work together and make their kababayans smile again. The result, as we know it today, is an annual festival where everyone smiles.
These masked street dancers can seriously give professionals a run for their money.
The parade has evolved over the years. Today, there are choreographed dances and a contest among participants for the group who performs best. A showdown among participating groups is held in the town plaza, as well, which is a treat for both locals and tourists.
And what’s a parade without music? From humble bamboo drums to loud sound systems, the people of Bacolod definitely know how to set the rhythm and get everyone going.
Bamboo drums. Pinoy ingenuity. Classic.
From afar, it does seem like all of the performers are wearing big smiles matched with gaudy costumes. In fact, one can’t help but smile just watching them do their thing under the scorching heat of the sun. Well, it’s indeed more fun in the Philippines, and Bacolod shows how with smiles all around.
Bacolod City’s Masskara Festival