The Humble Beginnings of Masskara Festival

Bacolod City Masskara Festival
Masskara is a Hiligaynon word meaning ‘a mask worn in the face’. Bacolod City in the pro vince of Negros Occidental has its own and unique celebration of its festival. Being known to be the City of Smiles, the people of Bacolod wears colorful smiling masks to celebrate its festivity. Masskara is a coined word for ‘mass’ which means a crowd of people and ‘kara’ which means a face. The word itself means a face in a crowd.

The Pride of the City of Smiles: Bacolod’s Masskara Festival’s Celebration and History


History of Masskara Festival

Masskara Festival is celebrated every year on the month of October and the highlight events are celebrated on the weekend of the third week of the month. This city-wide celebration started in 1980 when the natives of Bacolod suffer economic crisis due and sorrow when the people lost their families when the M/V Don Juan, a ship that transports sugarcane to different places, sank that same year. Despite the sorrow, the villagers and the local government held a feast to reduce depression. Instead, they put a smile in their faces to show hope that it would pass and they would survive. Soon, the masks are worn to physically cover the place for them to show happiness despite what they have been coping with. Since then the Bacolodnon did look forward for this very festive event every year.

The Masskara Festival Celebration

Masskara Festival showcases the city’s traditions and cultures and is attended by thousands of people every year. Organized by the Kasadya Bacolod Foundation,Inc. and the City of Bacolod, this year’s Masskara Festival’s highlight will be on October 16-17 but the celebration lasts up to the 19th of the month. This festival consists of different events around the city which includes Trade Fair, Street Dancing, Live Bands and a lot more. Roads are closed within the downtown area to give way to fairs and bands.

My Experience

The first time I went to this event was last year. It when I appreciate the City of Bacolod more. I could really feel that it is more fun in Bacolod City with the Masskara Festival. Live bands are around the downtown area at night. I also feel comfortable walking around the city even in a crowd since the villagers will make you feel safe and they really want to make the festival fun. I also have attended the Masskara love dance which is really great.

It is good though that I have been in Bacolod for a few months before the Masskara because if not I would find hard time looking for a place to stay in since all hotels and lodges are all reserved for the event a week before the celebration.

For those who wanted to go and attend to this city-wide celebration, the Bacolodnon will warmly welcome you in joining them. Just make sure to find a hotel to stay in. You can browse our List of Places where you can stay in the city. If you want more, you can also enjoy your stay by going to The Top Places to Visit in Bacolod City.

Bacolod City Masskara Festival Schedule of Activities

Though Masskara Festival is celebrated during the month of October, the date it is held differs every year. Below are the schedule of the month long Masskara Festival Celebration every year starting in 2016.


  • Bacolod City Masskara Festival 2016 Schedule of ActivitiesBacolod City Masskara Festival

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