2018 Masskara Festival Schedules | Bacolod City

Masskara Origins

Masskara Festival is a joyful celebration with sad historical beginnings. It’s a symbolic gesture for humanity that we can still put a smile in our face in the face of tragedies. We fail. We fall. But we rise up and smile. We can cover our tears with colors, dances and beauty because of the hope that is within us. We embrace life, we embrace failures and we embrace the dark trying periods because we can look to the future and see hope, see light and see life- not merely because of us but because of who is within us- and that is God. Titus 2:13.

See: Things to in Bacolod City, a Bacolodnon’s 2019 Guide

NON-RELIGIOUS FESTIVAL. Masskara Festival is only one of the very few festivals of the Philippines which is non-religious by nature. I can only think of the Panagbenga in Baguio City and the Kadayawan Festival in Davao as the other non-religious festivals. If I missed any, please help me by commenting below. I think Masskara was non-religious by nature and origin because its origin was not primarily non-Roman Catholic, which is the predominant religion of the Philippines. The prominent families of Bacolod City are a mixture of Chinese immigrants and Iloilo migrants. The early American missionaries also brought Biblical Christianity and Protestantism in the early days of Western Visayas and Bacolod City – naming Central Philippine University, Jaro Baptist Church and others as one of the pioneer movers. So unlike Cebu’s, Iloilo’s, Kabankalan’s and Kalibo’s festival which are centered on the religious entity of the Sto. Nino,  Bacolod upholds the “secular non partisanship” of the government and rather centered the festival on the culture, the ethos and on the people.

THE SHIPWRECK. It was in the year 1980 when the sugar industry fell into a deep crisis which caused the people of Bacolod City and the Province of Negros Occidental to suffer not just financially, but all the other repercussions that went along with it. A passenger ship sank on April 22 of that same year carrying a lot of Negrense people. The ship was MV Don Juan, carrying a lot of prominent families of Negros and collided with a cargo ship Tacloban City along the straits of Mindoro. A lot of Bacolodnons grieved because of the sudden loss of their loved ones. A total of 750 lives were claimed by that tragedy. 

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COVERING OUR TEARS. Amidst the shock and excruciatingly painful series of unfortunate events of the Bacolodnon peoples, we decided to stay strong and stay united- that even bad things happen to us, God is still good to us – the fact that we are still alive and we don’t get what we deserve- such as the penalty of our sins which is eternal death in hell- we can still look up and wonder why He is still very good to underserving sinners like us. Moreover, “he still demonstrated His love toward us while we are still sinners, Christ died for us” Romans 5:8 so we can have not just life, but eternal and satisfying life. 

CALLING THE CITY TO DANCE. So that’s how Masskara Festival was born – families, barangays and the entire city instituted to put a Mask to our sad faces, covering our tragic life with festive colors, dancing on the streets and celebrate the blessings that still currently have – most of all, having God as the ultimate precious gift in our life. That’s why Masskara was and is and will be celebrated on the streets- for the public to see, for the world to see- so that eyes could see that “we fall seven times, but we rise up eight times.” (Proverbs 24:16-18)


I believe this is the essence of Masskara is –  a story, a plight, a fight – a people who chose to battle the tragedies of life with celebration, with smiles and with colorful hope. We held hands together, we enjoy together, we eat together and laugh together because together is stronger. 

Is Masskara Safe?

In 2018, Masskara Festive index crimes drop 29% during 21-day celebration. “Last year, there was a decrease of only one incident. This year, it’s huge, it’s 18. That’s our target, to reduce index crime incidents by 30 percent, which we achieved,” Senior Supt. Francisco Ebreo, acting director of Bacolod City Police Office, said in a press conference. (Source)

Scenes from the 2018 Masskara (39th Masskara Festival)

This was also the Masskara Festival when the city of Bacolod celebrated her 80th birthday. 

The President of the Philippines – Rodrigo Duterte, gracing the 39th Masskara Festival.
Google putting Masskara as the Doodle of the Day all over the World on October 28, 2018
2018 Theme: Celebrating 80 Years of Bacolod as a City Bacolod City celebrates the 39th Masskara Festival. This is held every year on the month of October. The theme for this year is: Celebrating 80 Years of Bacolod as a City”. What I like about this festival is because of the festive atmosphere, the showcase of Bacolodnon’s talents and the convergence of different Filipino regional civilizations. Tourism streets are filled with colorful displays related to the festival, friendly locals, local foods and kebabs/inasal.

The Bacolod People

Negros people generally possess the visayas kind of hospitality – we love to welcome visitors, guests and friends – even sometimes at a personal expense. So if you want to immerse and witness Bacolodnons in personal, the best time to visit is October, especially during the highlights because one reason is that those who live abroad or outside the city tend to go back and celebrate too. When you go to street parties (although I don’t drink), watch dances or roam around, you could overhear our hiligaynon dialect or taste our local specialties. Bacolod people, as ilonggos, are generally dubbed as sweet- primarily because of our intonation. We speak with lots of tonal fluctuations and soft melody, and that’s may be the reason. There’s no other peak time where Bacolodnons converge than Masskara Festival.

Philosophy Behind Masskara Festival

I think another thing you may appreciate is the atmosphere and the laidback attitude that the locals have – not the type of “bahala na” or “abandonment” attitude – but the skill to live life gracefully even during times of poverty or crisis. I think that’s the deeper essence of Masskara – to count it all joy even on times when you fall, to rejoice and again rejoice whatever our outward circumstances are.

Bacolod: A Fast-Developing Urban Philippine City

One more reason to visit Masskara Festival is that Bacolod was recently awarded as the Most Competitive Highly-Urbanized City in the Visayas and ranked 8th at the National Level during the 6th Competitiveness Summit and Awards of the National Competitiveness Council. The world-famous celebration will start from October 8-28, 2018. If you look at it, that’s an 8-8-8 combination: 8/8/18 The pinnacle of the festival will consummate on October 26 to 28. This celebration also goes in line with Bacolod’s 80th birthday.
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2018 Masskara Schedules and Highlights

DateActivity & OrganizerVenue
Oct 6, Saturday•8AM: Negros Grace Pharmacy 3rd Medical Mission
•BAYS Center
Oct 7, Sunday•7PM: Pre-festival Concert by Sponge Cola, sponsored by Philippine Airlines•BGC Grounds
Oct 8, Monday•6PM: Opening of Carnival & Festival Sites
•6PM: Opening Program, Fireworks, Cutting of 80th Anniversary Cake
•JP II Tower and Bacolod Government Center (BGC)
•The Bandstand, Bacolod Public Plaza
Oct 9, Tuesday, 7PM•7PM: Tanda! The Masskara Singing ContestBacolod Public Plaza
Oct 10, Wednesday•10.10.10: Celebrating the 10th year of the Bacolod City on the 10day of the 10th month
•3PM: Happy birthday Bacolod! Children’s Party, Mascot Parade, Games, Anniv. Cake
•5PM: Koi Fish Feeding
•7PM: Tanda! Eliminations
•BGC Grounds
•BGC Grounds
•BGC Grounds
•Bacolod Public Plaza
Oct 11, Thurs•7PM: Tanda! Eliminations•Bacolod Public Plaza
Oct 12, Friday•7PM: Tanda! Eliminations•Bacolod Public Plaza
Oct 13, Saturday•8AM: 3rd Congressman Gasataya’s Cup
•9:30AM: 1st Bethany Church 56th Founding Anniversary Motorcade
•7PM: Tanda! Eliminations
•8PM: Dreammaker Events “Unforgettable” Concert
•9PM: Masskara Red Party
•NIR Shooting Range, Sta. Fe Resort, Granada
•Bethany Church Burgos
•Bacolod Public Plaza
•SMX Convention Center
•BGC Grounds
Oct 14, Sunday •7PM: Tanda! Eliminations•Bacolod Public Plaza
Oct 15, Monday •8AM-5PM: PESO Masskara Job Fair•BAYS Center
•7PM: Tanda! Eliminations•Bacolod Public Plaza
Oct 16, Tuesday•7PM: Nights of Mardi Gras•Bacolod Public Plaza
Oct 16, Tuesday•7PM Tanda! Eliminations•Bacolod Public Plaza
Oct 18, Thursday•6AM-5PM: 9th Bacolod Masskara Mayor’s Cup Gold Tournament (ongoing until Oct 19)
•7PM: Tanda! Eliminations
•Negros Occidental Gold and Country Club, Marapara Gold Club
•Bacolod Public Plaza
Oct 19, Friday•8AM-6PM: Masskara Table Tennis Championship
•10am-9PM: Masskara Festival Bazaar 2018 (til Oct 25)
•7PM: Tanda! Eliminations
•7PM: Finals: Night of Mardi Gras
•Search for Masskara Queen 2018 Pageant and Coronation
•8PM – 12MN: Ginoong Bacolod 2018 – Talent Competition
•Lopue’s San Sebastian
•SM Activity Center
•Bacolod Public Plaza
•BGC Fountain Area
•SMX Convention Center
•BAYS Center, Bacolod
Search and pageant will be produced by the Silver MassKara Festival Organization Inc., and will be handled by Outdo Media Solutions
Oct 20, Saturday•6AM-11PM: 9th Bacolod Masskara Mayor’s Cup Golf Tournament
•8AM-6PM: Masskara Table Tennis Championship
•7PM: Tanda! Eliminations
•Ginoong Bacolod Coronation Night 2018
•Marapara Gold Club
•Lopue’s San Sebastian
•Bacolod Public Plaza
•BAYS Center
Oct 21, Sunday•8AM-6PM: Masskara Table Tennis Championship
•12Noon: 8th Masskara All Breed Fun Match Dog Show
•Lopue’s San Sebastian
•SM City
Oct 22, Monday•1PM-11PM: Radio Bandera League of Championships 2018
•7PM: Tanda! Eliminations
•Bacolod Public Plaza
•Bacolod Public Plaza
Oct 23, Tuedsday•7PM: Tanda! Semi-Finals
•Cong. Greg Gasataya Masskara Drumbeating Competition
•Bacolod Public Plaza
•Bacolod Public Plaza
Oct 24, Wednesday•7PM: Tanda! Semi-Finals
•Cong. Greg Gasataya Masskara Drumbeating Competition
•Bacolod for Jesus
•Bacolod Public Plaza
•Bacolod Public Plaza
•BGC Grounds
Oct 25, Wednesday•2PM-5PM: FSCAB Dino Splendid Acrobats Entertainment Show
•7PM: Tanda! Grand Finals
•7PM: Bacolod For Jesus
•7PM: Sadya ang Masskara with Mayor Bing: National Fireworks Display Competitions
•Bacolod BAYS Center
•BGC Grounds
•BGC Grounds
•BGC Grounds
Oct 26, Friday•10AM-8PM: Tourism Promotions Board 3rd Regional Travel Fair (til OCt 27)
•5PM: Electric Masskara: Zumba sa Masskara, Performing Floats Competition, Street Parties
•6PM-1AM- Bombo Radyo Phil. Handog Pasasalamat sa Masskara Festival “Dance Showdown” Competition
•7PM: Finals of Cong. Gasataya Masskara Drumbeating Contest
•7PM: Bacolod for Jesus
•7PM: Sadya sa Masskara with Mayor Bing National Fireworks Display Competition
•Atrium Center SM Bacolod
•Lacson Tourism Strip
•Bacolod Public Plaza
•BGC Grounds
•BGC Grounds
•Bacolod Public Plaza
Oct 28, Sunday•3PM: Street Dance and Arena Competitions Barangay Category
•4PM: Electric Masskara, Street Parties
•7PM: Sadya sa Masskara with Mayor Bing National Fireworks Display Competition
•Bacolod Public Plaza
•Lacson Tourism Strip
•BGC Grounds
See official announcements from the Masskara Foundation here: Oct 6-1213-1819-2425-2627-28 The main events of the Festival will help in three major places: (1) the Bacolod Public Plaza, (2) Lacson Tourism Strip, and (3) Bacolod City Government Center grounds.

28 Groups to Join 2018 Masskara Street Dance

Barangays that will participate in the Masskara Dance Competition
  • Mandalagan
  • Tangub
  • Alijis
  • Pahanocoy
  • Handumanan
  • Villamonte
  • Barangays 18, 40, 26, 39, 29, 38, 7, 12, 27, 8, and 41.
The Masskara Street Dance for the schools category will be staged on October 27, 2018. For the Barangay Category, October 28, 2018. Schools that will participate in the Masskara Dance Competition Elementary School Level
  • Education and Training Center School II
  • Sum-ag Elementary School
  • ABKASA Elementary School
  • Montevista Elementary School
  • Patricia Homes Elementary School
  • A.L. Jayme Elementary School
  • Crispino V. Ramos Elementary School.
Schools that will participate in the Masskara Dance Competition Secondary Level
  • Barangay Singcang-Airport National High School
  • Mandalagan National High School
  • Bacolod City National High School
  • Mansilingan Agro National High School

The Logo

The logo for 39th Masskara Festival was converged in celebration with the 80th Birthday of Bacolod City. The logo was designed by the digital artist Mark Lester Jarmin who works for international clients. You can avail his limited edition and exclusive Masskara Yuhom Box at Robinsons Bacolod. For the first time, the Masskara has a logo with the theme bigger than the festival to emphasize a celebration bigger than masskara itself- the enduring and thriving progress of Bacolod City, Negros. The Logo Designer said that the 8 colors at the mask of the dancer represents the 8 decades of the city. The man behind the mask represents the people of Bacolod, the checkered black and white surrounding the dancer represents the Bacolod Public Plaza landmark and the smiley face at the second letter “o” represents the symbolism of the city.


  • Kiosks will be setup in Bacolod Public Plaza and New Government Center
  • Each kiosks will feature food, drinks and different offerings by the citizens of Bacolod city

PAL Joins Masskara, Hosts PAL Night

October 7, 7PM at NGC Grounds, Philippine Airlines will sponsor a Sponge Cola concert for the 39th Masskara Festival. Early-bird attendees will be able to enjoy games and prizes. PAL will also join the Masskara Float parade on Oct 26 and 27. The country’s first and only 4-Star airline started flying to Bacolod in 1946 at the resumption of operations after World War II.

Masskara Festival Queen 2018


Ten Official Contestants:

  • Jacqueline Almogen
  • Angelica Amayna
  • Claudette del Castillo
  • Chrisselle Rose Lambating
  • Ella Mercado
  • Claire Therese Porras
  • Heryn Wilcel Gatilao
  • Shane Pia
  • Julia Bennett Divinagracia
  • Edelyn Roncales

Produced by: Silver MassKara Festival Organization, Inc.
Organized by Outdo Media Solutions

  • Other Events

Welcome Park

  • Masskara Festival guests, especially the visitors and tourists from the airport will be greeted by the New Bacolod Landmark which will have a 7.2-meter giant Mask center piece. This will be located along the Bacolod-Silay access road and will be one of the iconic landmarks of the City of Smiles for the upcoming days. Security Features Bacolod has already tightened security by conducting planning and workshop with the authorities.
Bacolod City Police Office has asked for an additional 1,700 policement from the Police Regional Office in Western Visayas, of which 150 has already arrived last Sept 19. Accommodation Suggestions If you want to witness the Grand Street Dance Presentation at the Bacolod Plaza, you should book accommodations near SM / Plaza. I made a an article for this. If you want to be in the Photographers’ Lane where the beginning of the Street Dance is, best accommodation is Planta Hotel. For an accommodation near the tourism strip of Lacson Street, I recommend the following: 1. Hometown Hotel Bacolod 2. Pleasant Travellers Pension House 3. Saltimboca Tourist Inn 4. LFisher Hotel 5. LFisher EcoTel 6. LFisher Chalet 7. 11th Street Bed and Breakfast 8. Avenue Suites


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