Bacolod city celebrates Masskara festival on the 3rd week of October. It’s not tied to any religious occasion like most festivals in the Philippines. It’s simply a time for locals to come out and make happy around the City of Smiles. It started back in 1980 during a period of crisis that the city government and local groups decided to have a festival of smiles to lift the spirit of the community.
The highlight of the festival is the street dance competition between barangays and between schools. A barangay is local term for a village. Villagers take pride in their entries and put a lot of effort in designing costumes and perfecting the dance choreography.
Aside from the street parades, for the past couple of years, the city closed a stretch of Lacson street at night for an enormous party. You can expect to see throngs of people milling about having their pictures taken amongst scattered decorations, jockeying for seats at their favourite food stalls and buying from random vendors selling souvenirs. My favourite vendors this year are those selling balloons depicting popular cartoon characters.
Walking the length of the party zone your ears will be treated or mistreated by competing sounds from various stages featuring bands or DJs stationed along Lacson street. Even if you dislike the sound blaring from huge speakers, it enhances the throb of excitement that permeates the crowd.
One of the interesting display I really enjoyed was from the local group modifying cars to have awesome lights and powerful speakers mounted inside their cars. It was fun checking out their unique cars.
I actually missed all the street dance parades this year and just went to check out the street party at night. Hopefully I get to watch the actual dance competition next year 😀