Travels and Festivals

Bacolod City Masskara Festival: A Guide for Tourists

Bacolod City is well-known for its MassKara Festival, one of the most significant and majestic celebrations in the Philippines. Since many years ago, the Festival has had visitors, both domestic and foreign guests, to enjoy themselves, drink, and rejoice on the streets of Bacolod!

The MassKara Festival was created due to a crisis and had roots dating back to the 1980s. It was during a time when the province’s primary source of income, sugar, was at an all-time low, there was a severe shortage across the nation, and it affected several local farmers in the region.

The MassKara Festival was born to cheer up the villagers and restore their smiles. The smiling mask is a declaration to the people of Bacolod City that they would pull through and survive the obstacle they are facing even now.

Expect a warm welcome from Bacolod residents since they are known as “The City of Smiles.” Be bold and make friends with locals while attending celebrations because festivals in the Philippines tend to bring out the friendliest spirit in everyone. They may even provide you with the best travel advice!

Origin of the Bacolod City Masskara festival 

Masskara Festival celebrates the city’s history by paying tribute to its indigenous tribes and traditions. The Festival’s history originates back to the Spanish era when it was known as the “Dance of Witches.” 

The word “masskara” comes from two words: masa, which means “free time” in Spanish, and kara, which means “color.” Together, they mean “colorful free time.” It is an annual celebration held every third week of October, with the main highlight being a parade featuring floats with giant masks and other props. 

The Festival coincides with the city’s foundation anniversary on October 20. The Masskara Festival is the most vibrant and colorful in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. It is to commemorate the city’s founding anniversary, and it is a month-long event.

Importance of the Festival in the Tourism Industry

It is a celebration held annually, commemorating the feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria, and features street dancing competitions, costume parades, and floats. The Festival, through the years, gives the people of Negros, as well as local and foreign visitors, a chance to drink and be merry for 20 days. Originally designed to show the hardships of the people of Negros, the Masskara Festival has become a tool of escapism and a way to generate revenues for big business.

Bacolod City Masskara Festival is the biggest fiesta and the most popular event in Negros Occidental. The Masskara Festival has been a tradition since 1928, and it is a celebration of life, love, music, and dance. Additionally, it celebrates the city’s culture, history, and heritage, attracting millions of tourists annually. Masskara festival also helps boost the tourism industry in the province by attracting visitors from around the world. 

Filipinos are known for always being cheerful. They find many ways to be happy and to lift their spirits even in the face of hardships. Therefore, Bacolod City officials, artists, and civic organizations came together and thought of a way to raise the city and cheer up the residents. At the same time, the organizers felt the Festival was a way to launch the city into tourism that could eventually bring income to help the residents successfully overcome their plight.

Highlights of the Bacolod City Masskara Festival

The Masskara Festival is a month-long celebration that begins on October 31 and ends on November 30. It is to honor the city’s patron saint – St. Catherine of Alexandria. It features the crowning of the Masskara Queen and her court, a beauty pageant, and other traditional festivities. It is also the time when Bacolod City celebrates its founding anniversary.

Masskara’s colorful street parade is one of the Festival’s highlights, with participants wearing outlandish costumes and faces. It features street dancing competitions, colorful parades and pageants, and entertaining shows. It is Bacolod’s biggest party. Consequently, from its humble beginning as a religious celebration in honor of the Virgin Mary, it has grown into an annual festival that attracts more than a million people from all over the Philippines and abroad. 

The highlight of this event is the street dancing competition, which features colorful costumes and elaborate props that make it a feast for the eyes. The fireworks display is another highlight of the MassKara Festival. The fireworks display is one of the biggest in Asia, and it happens on the event’s last day. The skyline of Bacolod serves as the backdrop, creating a stunning visual impression.

Tourists must try and enjoy delicious Filipino dishes, such as pansit (noodles) and lumpia (spring rolls). There are also plenty of stalls selling different types of food, including rice cakes and other sweets. Furthermore, there are plenty of stalls selling different kinds of food, including rice cakes and other sweets. People who attend this Festival can try a wide range of delicacies from all over the Philippines.

Best Time to Visit Bacolod

The perfect occasion to travel to Bacolod is during the MassKara Festival. It’s a trendy event in the city, and people usually come from all over the country to participate. Bacolod is a great place to visit any time of the year, although the best time to visit is between October and November. 

The dry season in Bacolod is from December to May. However, owing to the celebrated MassKara Festival, October is a busy month in Bacolod City. Therefore, it’s a fantastic time to schedule a tour to participate in the festivities because domestic and foreign visitors swarm the city this time of year.

Suppose you want to attend their Bacolodiat Festival, which celebrates the Chinese New Year with a parade of lanterns and a cultural performance. In that case, February is also a fantastic time to travel there. The best time to visit Bacolod is from March to May when there aren’t any typhoons and the weather is lovely.

Safety tips for Travelers and some of the Best Places in Bacolod

Even first-time travelers will find something to enjoy at MassKara’s unique and thrilling events.

Here are some suggestions for first-timers to make the most of the festivities:

  •  To avoid hassles and delays, book your tickets in advance.
  •  Book your hotel in advance. Then, you can get through online booking.
  •  Put on some relaxed clothing and sneakers. People must walk a lot to enjoy the Festival on the streets.
  •  Weather can be unpredictable, and October can be rainy or sunny. So, bring an umbrella. 

While enjoying the Festival, take some time to visit the best places in Bacolod:

  •  The San Sebastian Cathedral. The San Sebastian Cathedral, which lies in front of the Public Plaza in the heart of Bacolod, serves as the cathedral for the local Roman Catholic community. The late 19th-century coral stones from Guimaras and hardwood trees from Palawan. 
Masskara Festival
  •  The Ruins of Talisay City. The Ruins of Talisay City, an ancestral home halfway between Silay and Bacolod, is one of the world’s top 12 most intriguing ruins. The mansion is the remains of the traditional home mansion of Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson and Maria Braga Lacson.
Masskara Festival
  • The Bacolod Chicken Inasal Restaurants. Every trip to the city is complete with a tour of Bacolod’s most excellent restaurants. Make sure to savor the delicious chicken inasal from Bacolod, a local dish of roasted chicken marinated in lime and cane vinegar. You can eat inasal on the streets in Bacolod with numerous vendors and enjoy it with your families and friends.
Masskara Festival
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