Bacolod City | Masskara Festival 2016 Schedule of Activities, Things to Do and Travel Guide

Philippines – known for our surreal beaches and our joyous and magnificent festivities. A lot of people are aware of what our country can offer in terms of fun, sceneries, and serene surroundings but some still doubt and some are still in the sphere of wonder of what the Pearl of the Orient Sea can give them.  

photograph courtesy of my photographer friend Rob  of

Bacolod City is one of the most famous cities that are yet to be known by foreigners. All of the places that most foreigners know are the common places and the places that the natives and the Filipinos consider out-of-the-trend or boring. To let other people know, let us glorify and spread what Bacolod City can offer and we will first start with the MassKara Festival. 

The festival started a little around 30 years ago in the early 1980s when the prices for sugar rapidly dropped. Bacolod City is known to be the country’s sugar capital and having this agenda worldwide caused them to undergo a major crisis. Aside from that crisis, the city was also mourning its heavy loss of around 700 lives from the MV Don Juan tragedy. Natives from the province conspired to lift the people’s spirits up and it was when the MassKara festival was born.

The word MassKara was coined by the late AAB (Art of Association of Bacolod) President, Ely Santiago which was derived from the two words Mass which means “a multitude of people” and Kara which is “face” in Spanish terminologies. The masks that are worn by participants are always smiling which means that even though the hard times hit their city, they’ll still smile and go through – this also implies the meaning that “MassKara” is a multitude of smiling people. 

The festival is celebrated during the 3rd weekend of October or on the closest weekend to touch the 19th of October. Posted below is the official schedule of the festival for this year: 

In getting there, you have two (2) options:
  • You can ride a plane
  • You can take the ferry

The first option which is taking the plane, is by far the fastest and the most convenient way of travel if you plan on going to Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. Taking the plane from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) will take you a little more or less 45 minutes. Cut that down to 30 minutes if you will be coming from Mactan-Cebu (air). After landing from the airport in Silay City, you will then travel for approximately 20 minutes in land to get to Bacolod City. 

There are daily ferry trips to take you to Iloilo City. Taking it by water or by ferry is far from the travel time and for the convenience as well from taking it via plane. By boat, it will take you approximately 18 hours from the Port of Manila and 45 minutes from the Port of Iloilo. If you decide to bring a car and latch it onto the Roro then it will take you approximately 3 hours from Iloilo City to Bacolod City via Dumangas route. 

Aside from the MassKara festival, there also are other things to do in Bacolod City like museums, cathedrals, and a lot more. Here are some of those:

1. You can visit the Negros Museum which is located at Gatuslao Street (the former building of the Agricultural center). Standard entrance fee is Php50 whilst students and senior citizens only have a rate of Php20.

2. San Sebastian Cathedral which is located along the Rizal Street. To get there, ride a Bata-Libertad Jeepney. It is a 19th century-style cathedral which survived even the harshest of times and it was only officially declared a cathedral in the early 1900s.

3. The Ruins in Talisay, City is known to be the Taj Mahal of the Philippines because of the great ambience and feeling it gives its visitors. It is not inside Bacolod City but it is just a nearby town from it.

4. Bacolod City New Government Center (NGC) is dubbed as the White House of the Philippines because of its Neo-Classical Renaissance style. To get to the NGC, you must ride a Homesite-Central Market jeepneys from Bacolod City.

5. Ever heard of the sulfur hot springs and numerous waterfalls near Bacolod City? Well then that’s probably because you already have heard of the Mambukal Mountain Resort in Murcia where people would celebrate the Mudpack Festival every 3rd week of June. In order to get there, you need to ride a jeepney from the city proper to Libertad. From Libertad, take another jeepney or tricycle that will take you to the resort.

These are just five (5) of the other things and activities you can do near Bacolod City. What a treat, right? After celebrating the MassKara festival, you and your friends can enjoy other activities and view great sceneries that Negros Occidental can offer.

What are you waiting for? Come and visit Bacolod City now!

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1 comment:

  1. Hi. The official schedule of events were already out. you can check it here:


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