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The term Masskara is coined from two words: mass, meaning crowd, and the Spanish word cara, for face; thus the double meaning for "mask"  and "many faces". The Masskara festival was first conceived in 1980 to add color and gaiety to the Bcolod City's celebration of its Charter Day anniversary, on 19 October. The symbol of the festival - a smiling mask - was adopted by the organizers to dramatize the Negrenses happy spirit, despite periodic economic downturns in the sugar industry.

Throughout the week, people from all over the Visayas, flock to the town plaza. They join Bacoleņos in the non-stop round of festivities. Even if you don't feel like dancing and singing, the pig catching and pole climbing competitions are musts. Some are also trying their luck and testing their skills in mask-making contests, disco king and queen competitions, coconut-milk drinking to name a few.

Masks are the order of the day at the Masskara parade, as brightly-costumed men and women dance and prance in the streets. Their beaming faces are be-dimpled, grinning and laughing in molded clay or papier-mache. Every group is represented: civic associations, commercial establishments, schools, even private and government organizations. They march out in enthusiastic throngs wearing their painted masks and elaborate costumes, all vying for prizes in judging that will be held in the afternoon.  

The festival also benefits Bacolod tourism not only because tourists flock the city during this time to join the merrymaking but also to buy the orchids and ornate handicrafts on sale.

(For more pictures on B. Billedo's Web site, click on the image above)

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