A First-Timer’s Guide to MassKara Festival: Everything You Need to Know

street dancers at masskara festival

One of the biggest and most awaited events in the Philippines is the MassKara Festival that will let you see the city at its liveliest. MassKara is derived from the words “mass” meaning “many” and “kara” meaning “faces,” thus calling it the Festival of Many Faces.

Known as the City of Smiles, Bacolod parades many smiling masks worn by the locals during this festival in the Philippines. Many tourists visit Bacolod in October to witness this grand Filipino cultural festival.

MassKara Festival Activities You Must Experience

Here are some of the most fun things to do during the MassKara Festival. Make sure to not miss these for a fun-filled festival experience.

  1. MassKara Street Dance and Arena Competition
  2. Electric MassKara (Bacolod’s biggest street party)
  3. MassKara Queen Pageant
  4. Food Fair
  5. Float Parade

What’s inside this blog?

To help you out, here’s a quick guide on how to make the most of your MassKara Festival 2021 experience! There’s more to this festival than meets the eye.

MassKara Festival History 

street dancers at masskara festival

You may already know a thing or two about the MassKara Festival description but here’s a piece of detailed information about its history, MassKara Festival place of origin, and more. MassKara Festival started at a time of crisis and disaster in the 1980s. The World Market prices for sugar, the province’s monocrop, and main source of livelihood went drastically down. Because of these, two artists thought of promoting mask making as an alternative source of income for the locals. However, people were doubtful if the masks would be sold. So then-Mayor Jose “Digoy” Montalvo suggested having a mask festival instead.

Then a tragic ferry accident happened. The M/V Don Juan sank in the same year carrying mostly people from the province including those from prominent families of Bacolod. Because of these incidents, the question rose: Shall the festival proceed? 

Mayor Montalvo said, because of these disasters, the more they need this festival to happen to bring back smiles and lift the spirits of the locals. That is the origin of MassKara Festival.

The smiling masks were a declaration of the people of Bacolod City that they will pull through and survive the challenges and tragedies that they are facing. Hence, Bacolod is called “The City of Smiles”.


MassKara Festival Description

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If you’re wondering what MassKara Festival description is, you’ve come to the right place. MassKara is derived from the words “mass” meaning “many” and “kara” meaning “faces,” thus calling it the Festival of Many Faces.


When is MassKara Festival celebrated?

MassKara Festival is celebrated every October. During this Bacolod Festival, many travelers flock to the city to witness the electrifying celebration.


What to Expect

During this Bacolod Festival, the city becomes flooded by tourists who want to participate in the celebration. The streets are embellished with colorful decorations and masks. And the most-awaited festival dance that is happening on the street is full of lively music and colorful costumes.


Masskara Festival 2021 Activities You Must Not Miss

1. MassKara Street Dance and Arena Competition

street dancers at masskara festival

The main event and highlight of the event is the MassKara Festival dance competition where participants don colorful costumes and vibrant smiling masks while dancing to the rhythm of Latin music.

2. Electric MassKara (Bacolod’s biggest street party)

locals at electric masskara

The Electric MassKara is the most awaited event in the festival. The night parade features LED-lit dancers, bands, and floats that are definitely must-see. You can feel all the great energy from the best upbeat music, vibrant costumes, and locals and tourists who are going all out to party.

3. MassKara Queen Pageant

street dancers at masskara festival

Bacolod may be known as the City of Smiles but they are also the city that has many beautiful ladies! When attending the MassKara Festival, you should not miss the search for the MassKara Queen. The pageant hopefuls wear the most colorful and festive clothes along with their most vibrant smiles. 

4. Food Fair

bacolod chicken inasal

Another MassKara Festival 2021 activity to check out is the food fair. This is perfect for foodies who want to try the best of Bacolod other than their famous Chicken Inasal (Grilled Chicken). You can also buy the cheapest delicacies here perfect as pasalubong!

5. Float Parade

street dancers at masskara festival

If you think only people can wear masks, think again. In Bacolod, even the cars and giant floats wear the most beautiful, colorful, and smiling masks! Decorated with flowers and sometimes recyclable materials, the float parade in MassKara Festival is a must-experience.

Check out MassKara Festival’s official Facebook page to be updated on MassKara Festival 2021 activities.


Tips for attending Masskara Festival 2021

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street dancers at masskara festival

1. Wear comfortable shoes

When attending a festival, it’s always a must to wear comfortable clothes, especially shoes if you don’t want to get your feet hurt. Expect a lot of walking, dancing, and jumping to the beat of the drums at MassKara Festival. Trust us, you wouldn’t help but dance there!

2. Bring lots of water

Since you’ll be dancing 30% of the time and walking 70% of the time, it’s best to always have a bottle of water with you to keep you hydrated. Pro-tip, bring your own bottle, and refill it in your hotel. Waters outside can get pretty expensive.

3. Bring an umbrella

Since the MassKara Festival date is in October, the weather can be unpredictable. Whether it’s sunny or rainy, always be ready to protect yourself from the sun or rain. 

4. Wear sunscreen

Don’t leave the hotel without applying sunscreen. Not only will it help you maintain your skin tone but sunscreen also protects you from harmful UV Rays of the sun that can cause skin diseases. 

5. Get lost 

… in the fun! MassKara Festival is one of the Philippines’ most fun and biggest celebrations so make sure to try everything and have lots of fun!

The true MassKara Festival meaning is not just about the festivities but also the people’s eagerness to stand up after a downfall. This celebration shows us that Filipinos never give up easily and always find reasons to smile.


Bacolod Tourist Spots

  1. The Ruins – The Taj Mahal of the Philippines
  2. Lakawon Island – For beach-lovers
  3. Negros Museum – One of the best places to visit in Bacolod City to learn its history is Negros Museum.
  4. Balay Negrense – An antique museum in Silay City that showcases the lifestyle of a late 19th-century Negrense sugar baron.
  5. Mambukal Mountain Resort – A government-owned resort that will immediately take you to a paradise as this gives you nothing but the beauty of nature. 

For the complete list, read this blog: Top 8 Bacolod Tourist Spots Every Traveler Must Not Miss


Bacolod Tourism Guidelines 2021 | COVID-19 Updates

As of writing, Bacolod has reopened its doors to domestic tourists who are traveling for leisure purposes. But like other provinces in the Philippines, they have set certain guidelines for those who are entering the province.

Tourists / Leisure Travelers

  1. Negative RT-PCR test taken within 3 days prior to departure. For nasal swab test, it must be taken from ANY accredited laboratory. For Saliva Test, only those taken from Philippine Red Cross are accepted.
  2. Round Trip ticket / travel details.
  3. Confirmed booking at an accredited accommodation in Bacolod City.
  4. Travel itinerary for the duration of stay in Bacolod.
  5. BaCTrac Identification Card. To get a BaCTrac ID, sign up here: bactrac.bacolodcity.gov.ph
  6. Online Health Declaration Form. Fill up the form here: tinyurl.com/bcdinbound

Returning Residents / Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIS)
Get a Notice of Coordination from the Office of Councilor Cindy Rojas. To make a request, email the following documents to spmcindyrojas@yahoo.com with the subject: LSI in (Address)

  1. Negative RT-PCR Test from any accredited laboratory OR Saliva Test from Philippine Red Cross, taken within 3 days prior to departure.
  2. BaCTrac Identification Card. To get a BaCTrac ID, sign up here: bactrac.bacolodcity.gov.ph
  3. Online Health Declaration Form. Fill up the form here: tinyurl.com/bcdinbound

Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROF)
Get a Notice of Acceptance from the Office of Councilor Israel Salanga. To send a request, submit the following requirements to israelsalanga.bcd@gmail.com.

  1. Confirmed flight details to Bacolod.
  2. Negative RT-PCR Test from any accredited laboratory OR Saliva Test from Philippine Red Cross, taken within 3 days prior to departure.
  3. Passport with stamp upon arrival in the Philippines.
  4. BaCTrac Identification Card. To get a BaCTrac ID, sign up here: bactrac.bacolodcity.gov.ph
  5. Contact number and Address in Bacolod City.
  6. For clarifications and other inquiries, you may call (034) 435-3604 or 09301337332 or 09616551745

For more updates, visit Bacolod PIO Facebook Page.


Where to stay in Bacolod

(Rates start at P950/night)

ZEN Rooms Middle Town Inn Bacolod

bedroom at middle town inn bacolod

ZEN Rooms Middle Town Inn Bacolod is perfect for business and leisure travelers especially those attending MassKara day, as it offers the right amount of space that any kind of traveler needs. This hotel features a Hotel Restaurant and 24-hour security. The hotel staff are kind and efficient making the stay in this hotel ever more attractive and pleasing.

ZEN Rooms Check Inn Bacolod

bedroom at check inn bacolod

Enjoy a cozy night after a day full of fun at MassKara fest with ZEN Rooms Check Inn Bacolod. It offers an affordable spacious area perfect for long-stay travelers looking for budget hotels in Bacolod. It comes with all ZEN guarantees: free fast WiFi, cool air conditioning, hot shower, spotless bed, 24/7 care, and low rates. This cozy hotel offers a restaurant that serves local cuisine, a 24-hour front desk, room service and security, free parking, and a rooftop garden perfect for guests seeking serenity.

ZEN Rooms Metro Inn Bacolod

bedroom at metro inn bacolod

Feel like a royalty at ZEN Rooms Metro Inn Bacolod with its cool interiors fit for a king. This hotel offers spacious rooms complete with all the ZEN guarantees. It is also near some amusement sites like Lady and the Water Buffalo, Capitol Park and Lagoon, and The Negros Museum. This surely is a great place to rest after enjoying at the MassKara day.

Frequently Asked Questions About MassKara Festival

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Q: What is the meaning of MassKara festival?

A: The MassKara Festival description is derived from the words “mass” meaning “many” and “kara” meaning “faces,” thus calling it the Festival of Many Faces. Known as the City of Smiles, Bacolod parades many smiling masks worn by the locals during this festival in the Philippines

Q: Where is MassKara Festival celebrated?

A: MassKara Festival is celebrated in Bacolod because that is the place of origin of this Bacolod festival every October. We hope this answers your question where is MassKara Festival celebrated. From the lively street festival dance to the colorful masks all around, this Bacolod festival should be in your bucket list.

Q: Is MassKara Festival religious?

A: MassKara Festival in Bacolod is not a religious festival but a cultural festival.

Q: What is the purpose of the MassKara Festival?

A: MassKara Festival is more than just the electrifying festival dance or parties, but it held as a symbol of the Negrenses’ optimism during trying times and to bring smiles back. 

Q: What happens during the Masskara Festival?

A: The main event of MassKara Festival is the street festival dance competition where dancers don colorful costumes and masks. Here are some of the most fun things to do during the festival. 

  1. MassKara Festival Street Dance and Arena Competition
  2. Electric MassKara (Bacolod’s biggest street party)
  3. MassKara Queen Pageant
  4. Food Fair
  5. Float Parade

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