August 26, 2017

The MassKara Festival

MassKara Festival began at the time of doom and gloom in Negros Occidental.

World market prices for sugar, the province’s monocrop, went down. And its impact was felt, all ones.

A year before the MassKara Festival was born, two artists approached then Mayor Jose “Digoy” Montalvo and broached the idea of popularizing mask masking as an alternative livelihood for the city.

The two, George Macainan and Ely Santiago, offered to help train barangay folk how to make masks out of paper mâché.

Montalvo liked the idea of mask-making for livelihood.

But how will the masks produced by the barangays be marketed? Who will buy them?

The mayor had an answer: Let’s have a mask festival!

Santiago drew the first MassKara logo, and thought of the name of the festival: MassKara; “mass” meaning many; “kara” meaning faces. Literally, it is a Festival of Many Faces.

Then M/V Don Juan—an inter-island vessel carrying many Bacolenos and Negrense, inclusing prominent families—sank in April 22 of the same year, adding to the gloom.

In its wake, the question rose: With the crisis and tragedy, shall the festival proceed as scheduled?

Montalvo had answered: “Precisely because of the crisis and tragedy, the more we need a festival that will bring back the smile on people’s faces and make them dance.

Thus the MassKara’s underlying meaning is that it is a declaration of the people’s resolve to rise above adversity and triumph over crisis, tragedy, and disaster.

It also followed the positioning of Bacolod as “The City of Smiles”.

Major activities such as beauty pageant MassKara Queen, Electric MassKara—Bacolod’s biggest street party, MassKara Red Party—a party for the Bacoleño youth, Choreographers’ Face-off—a street showdown of the city’s top choreographers, singing and dance contest, and fireworks competitions, among others, are being organized each year.

And the MassKara Street and Arena Dance Competition, where participants from schools and barangays in the city wear colorful masks and costumes and dance to the infectious rhythm of the locally-composed music, highlights the festival.

Latest News

July 16, 2019
The Silver MassKara Festival Organization is calling all barangays interested to join the Street and Arena Dance Competition to a general meeting on July 29, 2 p.m. at the Bacolod City Government Read more »
July 9, 2019
  Bacolod’s MassKara Festival joins the Thailand International Mask Dance Festival along with other masked festivals from five countries. Now ongoing, the festival will culminate in the Read more »
December 18, 2018
  The entry of Jervie Lazaro of Sta. Cruz, Laguna bested 152 other photos in the MassKara Festival 2018 “Kari sa MassKara, Dala Camera” photo contest managed by the Camera Club of Negros Read more »
October 31, 2018
CHAMPION - Barangay Tangub 1st Runner up - Barangay 18 2nd Runner up - Barangay Villamonte 3rd Runner Up - Barangay Alijis 4th Runner up - Barangay Read more »
October 28, 2018
Education Training Center School II (ETCS) and Mandalagan National High School were declared champion during the street and arena dance competition elementary and high school categories, Read more »
October 27, 2018
Winner: Barangay 22 1st Place: Barangay Banago2nd Place: Barangay 32 Winner: Read more »
View all news »

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