ALLOW me to take a pause from featuring places I’ve been to. It’s about time I bring you close to home as I revel on the merriments of MassKara Festival. Having been absent from this celebration for about two decades, I once again delight in the moment, trying to reconcile memories of this festival when I was a kid and how it has evolved to what it is now.

Feast on various food fare

When you are in Bacolod for the MassKara Festival, be sure to keep all your senses active to take in the sights, feel the vibe, inhale the whiff, and savor what this occasion has to offer. My childhood recollection of MassKara Festival centered on the busy activities in the public plaza and its vicinity. Recently, despite my apprehension of crowded places, I braved the public plaza to partake of the food offerings in the stalls there. Of course, chicken inasal and barbecued dishes are the mainstays. But I also found Japanese food, delicatessen, and other interesting cuisines and menus hawked in some of the food outlets surrounding the plaza.

Street dance attractions

MassKara is not complete without the fully garbed street dancers grooving to the official MassKara Festival music. The mardigras feel is what excites visitors and spectators of the street dance competition. Over the years, costumes become more creative, headdresses get more attractive, and mask designs evolve beautifully while the signature MassKara smile remains. With how MassKara Festival was instituted in the first place, which was to uplift the spirits of the Bacolodnons after going through tragic incidents, it is such a wonder how it has become this big several years after.

Concerts, street parties and Electric MassKara

With the height of modern technology, MassKara Festival also constantly upgrades itself. The Tourism Strip along Lacson St. has become another attraction during the celebration. There are also more happenings at the Bacolod Government Center and its surrounding areas, as well as in malls and other locations. And the expansion of the festivities is not just geographic. Even the schedule was lengthened, jampacked with more activities that people can see and enjoy. Among these must-awaited events are the concerts, the street parties, and the Electric MassKara that never fail to wow festival goers.

MassKara Queen

One of the highlights of the MassKara Festival is the MassKara Queen. This year is different than the previous ones because it is the first time that the Association of Colleges and Universities of Negros Occidental (Acuno) is organizing the event. Students are put on the spotlight, not only as candidates, but also as the working team that have put together a project this huge. It is a showcase of talents of young people who has so much potential and promise.

How MassKara Festival will continue to grow remains to be seen. But we should always remember that the essence of the festival resides in the hearts of the people of Bacolod. The colors, the music, and the flavors that we relish during this season only radiate the true joy and happiness found in every Bacolodnon. We are the City of Smiles – the MassKara. It is the people’s genuine cheerfulness, warm hospitality, and sweet nature that eventually shine through in the midst of all these adornments and embellishments. And that is the reason why many keep coming back to Bacolod City.


Claire Marie Algarme blogs at Follow her as @firsttimetravel on Twitter and Instagram.