One of the Best Festival of the Philippines is Bacolod’s Masskara Festival. Bacolod is popularly known for the city of Smiles and I never knew why till we attended the almost week long festival. We just learned it from our friends in Bacolod the story of the said city.
In 1980, an inter-island vessel Don Juan owned by the Negros Navigation Company collided with an oil tanker and sank on April 22, 1980. The tragedy claimed the lives of an estimated 400 passengers, most of whom were Negrenses, including several from prominent families in Bacolod.
Negros sugar industry was shaken by the much publicized crisis in the 1980s, 85% of Negros population fell below the poverty line. Since then, it was an uphill battle for the sugar stakeholders. Several sugar mills were eventually closed down.
The Masskara festival was first celebrated in 1980 to add color and gaiety to the Bcolod City’s celebration of its Charter Day anniversary, on 19 October. The symbol of the festival – a smiling mask – was adopted by the organizers to dramatize the Negrenses happy spirit, despite periodic economic downturns in the sugar industry and sea disaster.
Through the years, the MassKara Festival has evolved and gone beyond the street dance competition, music, food, colorful masks, costumes and parades. Every year, more activities are being held, attracting not only local tourists but foreign visitors as well.
And this year 2009 over all champion