The history of MassKara Festival began in 1980 when the villagers in Bacolod were suffering an economic crisis. The main livelihood of people in Bacolod then was sugar cane farming. At that time, the price of sugar was at an all-time low due to the invention of sugar substitutes like fructose corn syrup in the United States. In addition to the crisis economy, many people in Bacolod lost their families when MV Don Juan sank that same year. About 700 Filipinos, including Bacolod villagers perished in that tragedy. In order to resist the sorrow, the local government together with the villagers held a festival of smiles in the hope that the city could always be tough and survive even the hardest moments in life.

The name MassKara Festival is taken from the words ?mass’ which means crowd, and ?kara’ which means for face, so MassKara means crowded for face or masks for many faces. MassKara was conceived by the Art Association of Bacolod (AAB), the intention of which was to creatively organize a street dance parade thus getting away from a “meaningless” civic-military parade. It was also meant to hide the tears and sorrows brought about by the sugar crisis and the MV Don Juan sea mishap.

People celebrate the MassKara Festival by wearing smiling-faced masks, colorful costumes, and unique accessories, while parading and dancing on the streets of Bacolod. This festival contains a message about being happy despite being in the toughest state of life.

Every October, the streets of Bacolod City, Negros Occidental become a sight of merriment. There are many dancers dancing their hearts away and all wearing mask and people from all walks of life troop to the streets to see colorfully-masked dancers dance their heart away to the infectious rhythm of the Latin musical beat in a stunning display of mastery, gaiety, coordination and stamina. This is what they called the “MassKara Festival”

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MassKara Festival Philippines