The MassKara Festival is an annual festival with festival highlight on the fourth Sunday of October, held in Bacolod City in the province of Negros Occidental. This month-long festivity coincides with anniversary of the Charter of Bacolod City.
In 1980, 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 the wake of the Don Juan tragedy and economic hardships, the city government led by Mayor Jose Montalvo, Jr., in full support of civic groups and artists 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 portmanteau of "mass" as in many, and the Spanish word "cara," meaning face which was originally coined by Ely Santiago, then President of the Art Association of Bacolod. 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.
The original MassKara Festival logo was designed by Ely Santiago. Today, the logo changes every year based on the theme and done by Negrense artists.
MassKara Festival 2017 Music As the MassKara Festival music also evolved over the years. Early festival years feature the Latin medley of Trini Lopez. Over the years, the festival music has included folk songs, electric and house mix which is different every year