Grand, dazzling and kaleidoscopic, the Masskara Festival in Bacolod is an electric and extraordinary annual celebration that should be on your bucket list. Celebrated every 4th Sunday of October, this fascinating feast is one of the biggest and can’t-miss festivals in the Philippines, drawing thousands of visitors per year. Famous for its elaborate and bright masks and costumes, Masskara Festival wows its beholders with its heart-pounding music, blissful people, spectacular street parade and mind-blowing parties. Of course, the festival has a host of other fun-filled diversions in store, from beauty pageants and sports competitions to cultural programs.
Still not convinced? Not quite eager to experience the most awaited festival on Negros Island? Need a little push to jump-start your Masskara Festival adventure? Guess what? We’ve listed down a few reasons why should experience this vibrant, colorful and unique festival in the Philippines!
1. It’s one of the biggest festivals in the Philippines
They don’t call Masskara Festival as one of the biggest and most exciting festivals in the Philippines for nothing. For years, the festival has been luring visitors with its colorful and extravagant celebrations. The undisputed star and highlight of the festival is the Masskara Street Dance Competition. With their splashy costumes and multicolored masks, groups from different categories compete, dancing in perfectly in sync with drumbeats and upbeat tunes. You can watch in amazement at the street dancers, or you can dance along to the hypnotic beats of the Masskara festival street parade.
2. The festive mood
From malls to markets, you’ll feel and hear of the rhythmic Masskara music wherever you go in Bacolod during October. The moment you step out of the Bacolod-Silay Airport, you’ll be greeted by a group of performers dancing to the lively festival tunes and beats, setting the tone for your Masskara Festival experience.
3. Masskara Festival is a festival of unity amid adversity
Although the festival is incredibly colorful and vibrant, the origin of the event is actually a little tragic. In 1980, the city of Bacolod experienced a major economic crisis, with sugar cane prices plummeting dramatically. And, in April 1980, MV Don Juan – a passenger vessel en route to Bacolod from Manila – sank in Tablas Strait, after a collision with a tanker. The passenger vessel carried a lot of people from the city, including those who belong to prominent families. More than 700 lives were lost in that tragic event.
These tragedies brought a gloomy atmosphere throughout the city. So, the local government eventually decided to lift up the city’s spirit by organizing this non-religious festival. With the help of business and civic groups and artistic communities, the city started the festival of smiles. Ever since then, the city has been celebrating this beautiful and fun-filled event. In other words, the festival is a wonderful symbolic gesture of the resiliency of the people in Bacolod.
4. It’s a festival for a cause
Not only does the festival lift up the city’s mood, but it also has good cause. Throughout the festival, there are plenty of groups that organize programs designed to help the environment, out-of-school youth and sick people. Not bad right?
5. Masskara Festival is constantly evolving
Even though it’s well-known nationwide, the festival still continues to grow and progress. Believe us, it will surprise you in so many ways. You can expect a new wave of features to the Masskara Festival every year, with enthusiastic organizers brainstorming perpetually on how to make it grander and bigger. In recent editions, visitors have seen a plethora of activities added to the mix, like the Masskara Fashion Week, Giant Puppet Parade and Masskara by the Sea. And, who knows? You might be witnessing another new feature and activity in this year’s edition of the Masskara Festival.
6. Plenty of great bargains during the Masskara Festival
With every Juan in a pretty festive and jovial mood, expect to see shops, malls and even street vendors slashing their rates with sales going on everywhere in the city. If you love to shop, you should take advantage of the bargained rates for souvenirs, delicacies and other cool items. And, don’t forget to shop some sweet Bacolod treats for paslubongs to your friends back home, before leaving the “City of Smiles”.
7. Bacolod is a foodie’s paradise
Bacolod will have a non-stop flow of food during the Masskara festival. And, since the city’s primary crop is sugarcane, you’ll surely appease your sweet tooth during this remarkable gala. Here, you’ll get to indulge on a wide array of sweet treats, like the luscious Piyaya, Napoleones and Pinasugbo.
And, though there are dozens of places for treats and sweets in Bacolod, make sure to check out the renowned authentic cuisine in Bacolod.
As you may know, the city of Bacolod is also famous for its juicy and mouthwatering chicken inasal. As a matter of fact, the people of Bacolod seemed to master the art of grilling chicken, including each part of it, like its feet, gizzard, intestines and liver. Other must-try dishes in this city include Lumpiang Bacolod, Batchoy, and Chicken Inasal Sisig.
8. Bacolod is a base for a great adventure
The island of Negros has no shortage of man-made marvels and natural wonders begging to be discovered. And, there’s no better place to kick-start your adventure than the capital of Negros Occidental – Bacolod. As you visit Bacolod, you’ll have a shot to explore a bunch of nearby attractions, such as The Ruins, and Mambukal Mountain Resort. And, if you dig deeper, you’ll find a whole lot more enticing sights, attractions and activities on Negros Island.
Ready to join the biggest party in Bacolod in October? The thing is, you don’t have to spend a fortune to experience this enthralling and beguiling festival. Sure, accommodations and flights to Bacolod tend to skyrocket at this time of the year. But, guess what? There are plenty of bargained deals for hotels and flights to Bacolod in October by using Skyscanner’s search tools.
Alternatively, you can use Skyscanner’s “Price Alerts”, so you can find out when the price of your preferred flight to Bacolod drops.