2019 MASSKARA FESTIVAL GUIDE | SCHEDULE OF ACTIVITIES, ATTRACTIONS AND MUCH MORE
The highlights of the annual Masskara Festival is set on October 26-27, 2019. So, If you are planning to witness this event, mark your calendar now.
ABOUT MASSKARA FESTIVAL
Masskara Festival is perhaps one of the longest festival in the country today being held for the entire month of October.
The world-renowned Masskara Festival started in the period of crisis in Negros -1980. Negros Occidental having sugar cane as its main produce suffered during those times its all-time crisis due to the introduction of sugar substitutes in the world market. It was also during that time wherein M/V Don Juan carrying many Negrenses sank with an estimated loss of 700 lives.
In the midst of this difficulty, the local government, civic groups with the active participation of Bacolod Artists came up with an idea of putting a festival of smiles. The first staging of the Masskara Festival, therefore, was a statement that no matter how difficult the times were, Bacolod City will surely survive and rise above any crisis.
Masskara which came from 2 words Mass (Many) and Kara ( the Spanish word for face) means a multitude of smiling faces. Obviously, Masskara is a happy Festival. Manifested in the colorful costumes and smiling masks used by the dancers during the competition, and in the numerous festival’s happy events. The Masskara is no doubt one of the festivals in the country which you should experience.
Bacolod City is basically a peaceful city with fun-loving people. Each guest is welcomed with a warm smile (Bacolod City is known as the City of Smile) and hospitality that is truly Bacolodnon.
Below are pieces of information aimed at helping you make your visit to Masskara Festival fun and memorable.
MASSKARA FESTIVAL SCHEDULE OF ACTIVITIES AND EVENTS
Official Schedule of Activities is yet to be released. So bookmark this page as we will update this page as soon as Bacolod City will release the updates. But if you wanted to book your hotel now, the highlights will be held on the 4th weekend of October (official).
Meanwhile, here are the links:
MASSKARA FESTIVAL FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS, WHAT TO DO
STREET DANCING AND ARENA DANCE COMPETITION
The street dancing happens during the 4th weekend of October. This will already be the permanent schedule of the highlights as declared by the city. The Saturday for that 4th weekend will be for the street dance competition for the School Category while the Sunday is for the Open Category.
MASSKARA FESTIVAL COSTUME AND MASK EXHIBIT
A display of the current Festival Costume is made on Display at Robinsons Place, Bacolod City. This is where the Best in Costume selection is being held. It would be great to visit the exhibit to see up close the intricacy of the costumes, the details of the masks and humongous headdress of each competing group for the year.
ELECTRIC MASSKARA FESTIVAL DANCE PARADE
The Electric Masskara is a unique component of the festival. It is held during night time and usually held along Lacson Street. In this event, you will see masskara dancers in their lighted Masskara Costumes and masks.
Bacolodnons love to party. During the festival, street parties are held all around the city. Just Lacson Street alone can already satisfy your party craving. Along this street, several parties sponsored by various companies are held.
SEARCH FOR MASSKARA FESTIVAL QUEEN
The search for the festival queen is one event which you should visit while visiting the City of Smile.
POSSIBLE SIDE TRIPS | BEYOND MASSKARA FESTIVAL
I’m sure that most travelers would want to maximize their visit to the City of Smiles, especially for first-timers. Of course, with the price of your airfare, you would want of course to get the most of this trip. This 2017 Negros Occidental is the 2nd most visited place by the domestic tourists according to Tourism statistics. So you might want as well to discover why many people visit this part of the country.
The Street Dancing and Arena Dance Competition happen during the weekend (Saturday and Sunday). I suggest allotting 3 or more days to discover more about Bacolod City and Negros Occidental.
Below are some articles which will surely help you plan your trip:
THINGS TO DO DURING THE FESTIVAL
WITHIN BACOLOD CITY
In a nutshell, here’re the 12 Things to do in Bacolod City
If you just want to see the highlights of the festival, you can visit in between Masskara Activities some of the must-visit places and experience Bacolod City culture.
Visit the Ruins. This place is technically located in the City of Talisay. However, you can visit this place during the morning because the Street Dancing and Arena Dance Competition starts at lunchtime. Just take a taxi to bring you to the place.
Address: Talisay City, Negros Occidental
Phone: 0917 832 6003
“Paint Your Own Mask” Activity at Jojo Vito Designs Gallery. See how Bacolod Mask is being made or paint your own mask. The gallery is located at the heart of the city and you can reach this place through jeepneys or since your time is limited, take the taxi. You can tell the driver of the landmarks: The place is located at the back of Metrodome and Chicken Haus (South). It is near Planta Hotel)
The place offers an array of Giant Masks Display and loads of original mask related souvenirs ranging from magnets, wearable masks, home furnishings and more. The place is just a walking distance from the Cyber Center (old Paglaum Sports Complex), the venue for the Arena Dance Competition.
#119 Kapitana Dicang-Alunan Avenue, Bacolod City Telephone: (034) 704-2376
FB Page: @JojoVitoDesignsGallery
PLACES TO VISIT BEFORE AND AFTER THE FESTIVAL
if your time would allow, try to visit any of the following places:
Sipalay, The Hidden Jewel of Negros. This place has beautiful beaches, amazing dive sites and a lot more.
Lakawon Island Resort. One of the most place in Negros Occidental as of this writing and frequented by both locals and tourist from other places.
Campuestohan Highland Resort. A mountain resort with theme park ambiance. Kids will surely love this place.
Mambukal Mountain Resort. Experience nature just an hour away from the city proper. The place has waterfalls, ice-cold water swimming pool, a lagoon for boating and a lot more.
Visit Bago City’s Tourist Attraction. Bago City is just loaded with many beautiful spots that you can visit and enjoy.
Silay City. Known as the Paris of Negros Occidental, the place has beautiful heritage houses that speak about the culture and history of the place. They also have foodie destination just within the city proper.
WHERE TO EAT WHEN ATTENDING BACOLOD MASSKARA FESTIVAL
Attending the Masskara Festival is also an opportunity to sample Bacolod’s cuisine. here are the places to go to.
Bacolod loves to eat. This is manifested in the number of restaurants located around the city offering various delicacies.
Here are some of our recommendations:
Bar 21. Very easy to locate because this is situated along Lacson Street.
Rau Ram Cafe– They serve authentic Vietnamese Cuisines and their price is very budget-friendly.
Tyrol Restaurant – This place offers German and Austrian Cuisines.
Have you heard of Bacolod’s famed Kansi? Do visit any of these restaurants: Bones and Belly, Sharyn’s
Quan Delicacies. The place is serving native delicacies at its best. Try their cassava pudding, Cuchinta, sapin sapin, palitaw, and a lot more.
Negros Occidental is the sugar bowl of the Philippines. It’s no wonder why this city has several cakes and pastry shops which are frequented by the tourists. So when in Bacolod City, do drop by and experience the “sweetness” of a Negrense though our cakes and pastries offered by Cs by L Fisher, Felicias, and Calea.
These three are facing each other and all are found along Lacson Street right within the location of L Fisher Hotel.
Bacolod do love to eat, so here’s a LIST OF RESTAURANTS IN BACOLOD CITY
WHAT TO BUY DURING THE MASSKARA FESTIVAL
If you will attend the Masskara Festival, for sure you would want to bring some souvenirs. Here are the places you can buy Bacolod’s bests.
The Negro’s Showroom showcases the best of Negros Products. Named as the best trade house by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Their beautiful products range from Local Souvenirs, Masks, T-Shirts, Housewares, Furniture and Furnishing, Food, Natural and organic, fashion and much more. They have a branch at the Robinsons Place Bacolod City and SM City-Bacolod City.
This Gallery offers original designs of Masskara related souvenirs. Just make sure to bring home authentic Bacolod-made souvenirs. Other souvenirs sold in the streets are made in China or just a repainted souvenirs from other festivals in the country.
Bacolod-Silay Airport Departure Area. If you wish to buy some delicacies but don’t have the time to visit any establishment, you can simply buy Bacolod delicacies like Piaya, Barquillos, etc. at the airport departure area. Merzci Bread and Pastries usually offer 10% discount for any guests. Just present your ticket or boarding pass. Their price? It’s just the same as with their other outlets.
HOW TO GET TO BACOLOD CITY
Interested to witness Masskara Festival? Here’s how to get to Bacolod City.
Bacolod City is less than an hour flight from Philippine’s capital, Metro Manila. And merely 30 minutes from Cebu City. Various airline companies are serving the Bacolod-Silay Airport. An Air-conditioned van is servicing the airport to Bacolod City. It can drop you to the nearest point of your destination in Bacolod City for only P150/person.
From Cebu City, proceed to the North Terminal and take a Ceres Bus bound for Bacolod City.
Here’s the schedule for these buses:
From Manila 2Go Travel is sailing Manila-Bacolod on the following schedule:
From Iloilo City, you can take several Fast Crafts with the following Schedule:
WHERE TO STAY
If you can, choose the hotel along Lacson Street or nearest to this place, because most of the activities during nighttime are held in this place. Hotels in Lacson Street are as follows: L Fisher Hotel, Avenue Suites, Seda Hotel (soon to open, not sure if they can open during the Masskara Festival), Metro Inn, Bacolod Executive Inn.
It is best to book your hotel early, Masskara season is fast approaching and many travelers booked their hotels as early as February.
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