Bacolodnons are known for their carefree one-day-millionaire kind of attitude. It is one way of saying that Bacolodnons really know how to party. The best proof is its very own Festival: the Masskara Festival. Dubbed as Southeast Asia's grandest Mardi Gras, Masskara Festival's roots are however not as jocund as its current form.
In the early 1980's, Bacolod City experienced so many tragedies. One famous tragedy was the sinking of M/V Don Juan. Many of the passengers were Bacolodnons and some of those who perished were members of Bacolod's famous clans. During that time, the sugar industry was also experiencing some hard times. To cheer up the Bacolodnon spirit, local artists banded together and decided to come up with the Masskara Festival in time for the Charter Celebration. To hide the sadness, the Masskara became a symbol for the resilient Bacolodnon spirit. The samba beat was appropriate for the island atmosphere in Negros Occidental.
33 years later, the Masskara Festival is now popularly known worldwide. Tourists from all over the country and around the world would come every October and dance with the locals wearing the most colorful masks they could find.
Through the years, the festival has evolved yet what remained constant is the Bacolodnon resilient and never-say-die spirit. If you are visiting Bacolod City for the Masskara Festival, you might want to book your flights and hotel accommodations very early. There are cheap pension houses in Bacolod City and the best way to find a good one is to get reliable tips from any Bacolodnon.
The Masskara 2013 promises to be the grandest yet that Bacolod is planning to hold. It is in time for the 75th Charter Day celebration of Bacolod City. Various activities have been scheduled but the highlights would usually start on Oct. 18 until Oct. 20. Enjoy your Masskara Festival!