Last updated on January 21, 2020
Bacolod City’s Masskara Festival reverberates every month of October. This year 2018 the “happiest and most colorful festival in the Philippines” culminated last October 28, the fourth Sunday of the month. Since its inception in October 19, 1980 the Masskara Festival showcases a month-long celebration of merry-making, street parties, parades, concerts, food fests and other activities drawing tourists and visitors to Bacolod, “The City of Smiles.”
Two devastating events in 1980 brought the city down to its knees: the economic downfall of the sugar industry during the year’s first quarter and in April, the “Titanic-like” tragic sinking of the Negros Navigation’s M/S Don Juan where more than 700 lives were lost, including the family of then City Mayor Jose Montalvo. The ‘double tragedy’ was considered to be one of the darkest times in the city’s history.
Bacolod-nons however refused to be cowed into submission. With characteristic resilience, Bacolod-nons rose up to the occasion and conceived a unique celebration for its October 19, 1980 City Charter Day – during which the MassKara Festival-Bacolod was first introduced in order to bring back the smiles among the locals who were affected by the economic downturns of the sugar industry and the sad fate of Negrenses in the ill-fated Don Juan sinking.
Wikipedia says that “Masskara” was derived from the English word “mass” meaning “many or multitude of people” and the Spanish word “cara” meaning “face”. It was how MassKara came to mean “face of the masses or a multitude of smiling faces.” The Masskara festival transformed Bacolod into what we now know as the “City of Smiles.”
The sales activities continue to be orchestrated by Bacolod’s pioneer Branch Manager,Edgardo Colmenares, with the fullest support of the company’s Care & Operations Assistant, Mari Lai Rosari T. Mondala.
With the branch’s Division Head and Vice President, Magi M. Martinez, Bacolod resolutely faces the challenge of making it to one of the Top 10 branches nationwide.