COME AND EXPERIENCE, BACOLOD MASSKARA FESTIVAL
Bacolod City, the capital of Negros Occidental, Philippines hosts the world renowned Masskara Festival every October of each year. As early as of this writing hotels are getting already reservations for the month October.
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A SHORT HISTORY ABOUT MASSKARA
The Masskara festival which earned for Bacolod City the title “The City of Smiles” began in 1980 during a period of crisis. There were sugar crisis and the sinking of the inter-island vessel Don Juan carrying many Negrenses, including those belonging to prominent families in Bacolod City, with estimated 700 lives lost.
With the objective of lifting the spirit of every Negrense ,Bacolod City’s artists, local government, and civic groups decided to hold a festival of smiles. The initial festival was, therefore, a declaration by the people of the city that no matter how hard and bad the times were, Bacolod City is going to pull through, survive, and in the end, triumph.
The word “MassKara” was originated by the late artist Ely Santiago from the word “mass” meaning “many or a multitude of the people”, and the Spanish word cara meaning “face”. A prominent feature of the festival is the mask worn by participants; these are always adorned with smiling faces. MassKara thus means a multitude of smiling faces.
The festival features a street dance competition with colorfully costumed and masked dancers dancing to original Negrense beats; the Electric Masskara which features lighted costumed dancers held during nighttime ; musical concerts, Masskara Queen Beauty Pageants ; Masks making contests, Giant Masskara Village and much more.
Of course, no one goes home empty handed happy memories, colorful photos especially for the hobbyists and the unique souvenir one can bring home as “pasalubongs “ and souvenirs of the festival. Streets are filled with Masskara inspired souvenirs and masks peddlers…but formal souvenir outlets also offers a wide array of souvenirs.
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One should drop by Bacolod’s Souvenir Shops: The Negros Showroom in Lacson Street fronting Capitol Lagoon sells all the best of Negros products. The Negros Showroom usually put up an island setting featuring different kinds, sizes, colors and renditions of masks.The Negros Showroom will open their new store at the Robinsons Place, Bacolod City with the soft opening on September 2011 and grand opening in October 2011 in time for the Masskara Festival Celebration. The Negros Showroom-Robinsons will be selling new designs and products not seen in the Negros Showroom-Lacson.
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