The most famous festival in Bacolod, the city known across the Philippines as “The City of Smiles”. Every year different barangays (the smallest administrative division in the Philippines) of Bacolod take part in street dance competitions where participants put on colorful masks—“kara” is taken from the Spanish cara (face) and so MassKara literally means “multiple faces”. It started in the 1980s as a way to raise the spirits of the people of Bacolod and Negros Occidental who were at the time hit by the hardship of low sugar cane prices (the main export of the province) and the sinking of a ferry which claimed 700 lives, many of whom were from Bacolod. The festival starts at the beginning of October but it is the street dance competitions (including an “electric” version at night) at the end of the festival which provide the biggest draw (typically the fourth Sunday of the month).
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