MassKara Festival

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MassKara Festival
MassKara Festival, Bacolod City, Philippines.JPG
Genre carnival, parade, street dancing
Dates third week of October
Location(s) Bacolod City, Philippines
Years active 1980 - present
Official website

The MassKara Festival (Hiligaynon: Pista sang MassKara, Filipino: Fiesta ng MassKara) is an annual festival held every third weekend of October in Bacolod, Philippines.


The word "Masskara" is a portmanteau, coined by the late artist Ely Santiago from mass (a multitude of people), and the Spanish word cara (face), thus forming MassKara (a multitude of faces). The word is also a pun on maskara, Filipino for "mask" (itself from Spanish máscara), since a prominent feature of the festival are the masks worn by participants, which are always adorned with smiling faces because it is called the city of smiles.


The festival first began in 1980 during a period of crisis. The province relied on sugar cane as its primary agricultural crop, and the price of sugar was at an all-time low due to the introduction of sugar substitutes like high fructose (corn syrup) in the United States. This was the first Masskara Festival and a time of tragedy; on April 22 of that year, the inter-island vessel MV Don Juan carrying many Negrenses, including those belonging to prominent families in Bacolod City, collided with the tanker Tacloban City and sank. An estimated 700 lives were lost in the tragedy.

In the midst of these tragic events, the city's artists, local government and civic groups decided to hold a festival of smiles, because the city at that time was also known as the City of Smiles. They reasoned that a festival was also a good opportunity to pull the residents out of the pervasive gloomy atmosphere. The initial festival was therefore, a declaration by the people of the city that no matter how tough and bad the times were, Bacolod City is going to pull through, survive, and in the end, triumph.


The mask motif of the festival has changed from masks influenced by native Filipinos to those influenced by the Carnival of Venice and the Rio Carnival. Earlier masks were hand-painted and adorned with feathers, flowers and native beads, while contemporary masks feature plastic beads and sequins.


Winners of the MassKara Queen pageant in 2005

The festival features a street dance competition where people from all walks of life troop to the streets to see masked dancers gyrating to the rhythm of Latin musical beats in a display of mastery, gaiety, coordination and stamina. Major activities include the MassKara Queenbeauty pageant, carnivals, drum, bugle corps competitions, food festivals, sports events, musical concerts, agriculture-trade fairs, garden shows, and other special events organized every year.

Street dancing[edit]

The street dance competition is divided into two categories; the school division and the barangay division, the latter is considered as the highlight of the street dancing competition.

Grand champions[edit]

List of Barangay Category grand champions:

Year Barangay
2006 Alijis
2007 Alijis
2008 Mandalagan
2009 Taculing
2010 Mandalagan
2011 Binalbagan
2012 17
2013 16
2014 Granada
2015 Granada
2016 Granada
2017 TBA

See also[edit]


External links[edit]