Bacolod City Guide - MassKara Festival

Bacolod City Guide - MassKara Festival - Philippines



Bacolod City Guide

Plan your visit to the City of Smiles with this Bacolod City Guide and MassKara Festival Schedule. I will keep adding to this post for updated MassKara Festival activities.

Bacolod City Guide and MassKara Festival Schedule
Plan your visit to the City of Smiles with this Bacolod City Guide and MassKara Festival Schedule. Photo by Daryl Jimenea.

Bacolod City

Bacolod City is also known as the City of Smiles, the capital of the province of Negros Occidental, in the southern Philippines. While Bacolod is already a metropolitan city with many developments, Bacolod lifestyle is still laid back and quite slow for some tastes. Traffic can be trying at certain times of the day and certain days of the year, but nothing that we can’t handle.

But the fact is, while we still live a rather relaxing lifestyle, there is nothing sleepy around here. If you feel sleepy, you can get all the sugar rush you want from our premier cafes and pastry shops.

Here is a simple Bacolod City Guide for visitors to our city.

Bacolod MassKara Festival

The Bacolod MassKara Festival schedule used to revolve around the date October 19, in celebration of our city’s Charter Anniversary. But since it gets moved around every year and guests are clamoring for a permanent schedule so that they can make plans as early as possible, the Bacolod City council has declared that the Bacolod MassKara Festival be held every fourth week of October.

When is MassKara Festival of Bacolod? Fourth Sunday of October.

Bacolod MassKara Festival
One of the groups that performed during the Bacolod MassKara Festival in the past. Photo by Daryl Jimenea.

The highlights of the MassKara Festival will be held on the fourth Sunday of October every year. Since it is a city ordinance, I believe that it will remain so even if we will have another administration in the future.

Bacolod Events

The three main citywide | province wide events held here in the city are the Bacolaodiat (Chinese New Year celebrated Bacolod-style), the Negros Panaad Festival, the MassKara Festival, and the Negros Organic Festival.


Bacolaodiat is how Bacolodnons celebrate Chinese New Year. It’s kind of a big thing around here, thanks to the large population of Filipino-Chinese in our midst. And the result is a fun fusion festival that both Filipinos and the Chinese enjoy.

Chinese New Year lion dancers - Bacolaodiat
My daughter Dindin with the lion dancers of the Chamber Volunteer Fire Brigade during the Spring Festival Gala in Bacolod held at the SMX.

Since the Bacolaoadiat happens every Chinese New Year, it can fall either on January or February.

Related articles:

Panaad sa Negros Festival

The Panaad sa Negros Festival, which is also known as the Panaad Festival, is an annual festival held during the month of April in Bacolod City. It is a province wide celebration and involves all the cities and municipalities of the province of Negros Occidental in the Philippines.

Panaad sa Negros Festival - Bacolod City Guide
My kids at the Kabankalan booth during the Panaad sa Negros Festival.

“Panaad” or “Pana-ad” is the Hiligaynon word for “vow” or “promise”, which means that the festival is a form of thanksgiving to God and a commemoration of a vow in exchange for a good life for all the people. It is held at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Brgy. Mansilingan, Bacolod City.

MassKara Festival

Ever since 1980, Bacolodnons have been celebrating the Bacolod Masskara Festival. The term was coined by the late acclaimed Bacolod artist Ely Santiago who combined the worlds mass, which means a multitude of people, and the Spanish word cara, which means face. It was catchy and meaningful and took off beautifully. Ever since then, we have been celebrating the MassKara Festival every October.

Electric MassKara Festival - Bacolod City Guide
The Electric MassKara Festival of Bacolod is held during the evening along Lacson Street. Photo by Daryl Jimenea.

Negros Organic Farmers Festival

It has been more than a decade when the movement to push for organic farming in Negros Occidental was started. And both the concept of farming and consuming organic products has now been widely accepted around the province. Because of that, we now have the annual Organic Farmers Festival every November to celebrate organic farming.

Negros Organic Farmers Festival - Bacolod City Guide
Stalls during the Negros Organic Farmers Festival.

They have symposia and workshops that are attended by different sectors. And of course, there’s an organic products fair that is usually held at the Bacolod Capitol Lagoon and Park.

Bacolod Restaurants

I am a proponent of Bacolod food tourism out of my own volition. We may not have theme parks or nice beaches but we have dishes and restaurants that we can be proud of.

That is why for so many years now, it has been my advocacy to promote our many homegrown Bacolod restaurants in my blogs and social media accounts. It is my way of helping the local economy here in Bacolod and also in promoting the city to the world.

Sharyn's Cansi House - Bacolod restaurants
Bacolod cansi soup by Sharyn’s Cansi House.

Related articles to read about Bacolod restaurants:

Bacolod Chicken Inasal - Chicken House.
Bacolod Chicken Inasal by Chicken House.

Bacolod Pasalubong

So, if you are here in Bacolod, Where to Buy Bacolod Pasalubong? We have so many nice export-quality products in Bacolod. It could be food, clothes, home decor, or even furniture — we have it all here.

One famous pasalubong product is the Bacolod piaya. Watch how it’s made at Sugarlandia.

Bacolod Hotels

Bacolod City has a number of hotels, inns, and pensions houses. We don’t have five-star accommodations but we do have nice, comfortable, and accessible places to book your stay.

Bacolod Convention Centers

There are three large capacity Bacolod convention centers today. We can very well host big weddings, trade expos, and mega fairs with the facilities available to us.

SMX Convention Center – The SMX Convention Center is the biggest of venue with its amenities in the Visayas. It is located on the third floor of SM City Bacolod.

Green Garden by Villa Angela – The Green Garden, a new development by F.F. Gonzaga, Inc. can seat up to 520 people in a banquet setting. It is located near the Villa Angela Marketplace by the New Government Center, east of Bacolod City. This is located on the east side of Bcolod. For inquiries and reservations, you may call  (034) 4346465.

Green Gardens Villa Angela - Bacolod City guide
Green Gardens Villa Angela is located by the Marketplace, near the NGC, Bacolod City.

Garden Royale Main Hall – Located at the Goldenfields Commercial Complex in the south of Bacolod, the venue can seat up to 1000 persons.

Bacolod Event Organizers

In relation to venues for rent, Bacolod has some of the most sought-after event coordinators and suppliers for all occasions. Check out these two lists I’ve made.

Bacolod Malls

The multi-national malls that are in the city today are SM City Bacolod, CityMall Mandalagan, CityMall Goldenfield, and Robinsons Place Bacolod. And Ayala mall will soon rise in Central Bacolod. Meanwhile, The District North Point is another Ayala mall located in Talisay City, just near the boundary to Bacolod.

Bacolod Spas

There are a number of day spas in Bacolod that can cater to your relaxation and wellness needs. Some of the most popular would be:

  • Grand Royal Spa – 6th-Lacson Streets
  • Spa Natura – Lacson Street, Mandalagan
  • Sueño’s Salon and Spa – 6th-Lacson Streets
  • Live Well Spa – Lacson Street, Mandalagan
Grand Royal Spa Bacolod
Grand Royal Spa Bacolod offers affordable services that will truly pamper you.

Bacolod Tourist Attractions

Bacolod can easily be scoured in a day. But if you wanna enjoy our food, you need to stay a bit longer. Here is my guide on squeezing in a day tour of Bacolod City and getting . Read: One Day BUDGET TRIP TO BACOLOD, Philippines

Attractions Around Bacolod

Many visitors go to Bacolod City for business and events. And because of these trips, they usually have an extra day to two to explore the city. Please read my suggestions on where to go when you are already here in Bacolod City.

Bacolod Artists

We have great Bacolod artists, too, who you can commission for your art projects. And we have great makeup artists as well as tattoo artists. Links below:

Find Bacolod City on the map.


37 thoughts on “BACOLOD CITY GUIDE

  1. Bacolod City is surely one place which any Filipino should visit. The place offers good food, laid-back ambiance which will surely delight anyone coming from a very busy city. Specifically, visitors should try the Masskara Festival – very colorful and fun 🙂

  2. I have booked a trip for Masskara 2018 on oct. 18-22 however there seem to be no offical announcement of the schedule yet. This should have been organised early so tourists can pre-plan their trip. Hopefully we don’t waste our trip.

  3. I have never heard of Bacolod city until this post. I love that it is known as the city of smiles. The festival looks so fun. I will keep in mind if we ever travel there to come the 4th week of October!

  4. I’ve always wanted to attend the Masskara festival in Bacolod City but it keeps getting cancelled. Thank you very much for sharing! This is truly informative. Hopefully we can already make it this year 🙂

  5. Bacolod City through your eyes looks like a really lovely place to visit. I really love that it is known as the city of smiles, that would make anyone want to visit!

  6. I’ve never heard of Bacolod city but it’s so cute that it’s also called the city of smiles! I love all the colors and the festival looks so fun. The food look delicious too.

  7. Bacolod City looks like an amazing place to visit. So many festivals and delicious looking food. Hopefully one day I can plan a trip there.

  8. Bacolod City sounds like a nice place to place to spend a weekend! is the first time I hear about the MassKara Festival and it does sounds interesting and fun.

  9. I am obsessed with the color and the complexity of those beautiful costumes for the MassKara Festival. What a wonderful tradition in Bacolod City!

  10. What a neat city! It looks like there is so much fun things to do and see in Bacolod. I would love to visit some time to experience the Masskara Festival.

  11. what an amazing festival you have in Bacolod City! So many colors of the MassKara Festival! I love love love seeing the dragons “dance” in the Chinese New Year. so this would be something I’d enjoy given the opportunity

  12. Thanks for sharing this very comprehensive and complete guide to Bacolod City. Admittedly I’ve never heard of Bacolod but after reading this I might have to add it to my travel list! That MassKara Festival looks so fun!

  13. Love this detailed guide. Very helpful for visitors and everyone who would like to learn more about Bacolod. Just shared this to some friends who’s visiting next week.

  14. This has given me so many ideas! I don’t know where to begin – the city looks full of life and endless opportunities! I love that it is called ‘the city of smiles’ – there’s something very charming and reassuring about that! Thank you for sharing this post about Bacolod City – I will definitely be using it on my travels 🙂

  15. The City of Smiles – Bacolod Seems to be a calling. Thanks for the city guide to help plan better. MassKara Festival looks great and would be a good idea to plan the trip to time it with this. One time, we planned our trip to Goa to ensure we attend the Goa Festival and we loved it. Would want to have another experience in this city of smiles!

  16. All of those colors and outfits used in the MassKara Festival are so interesting. I love the variety. And the creativity that goes into them is so amazing!! Would love to visit Bacolod City when it’s time for the MassKara Festival!

  17. The Philippines are usually more well known for their amazing beaches. But it is great to read about urban destinations like Bacolod City that is worth a visit. The Masskara festival looks magnificent!

    1. Oh before you hit Philippine beaches, pass by the different interesting cities and towns. The rich cultural heritage of our people is quite interesting. Do visit Bacolod City. 😀

  18. I’ve never really travelled anywhere but I think that Bacolod City would be an amazing place to travel to. The MassKara festival colours and sights must be amazing! I wonder how the music of the street dance parade is. Would want to visit Bacolod someday.

  19. I haven’t been to Bacolod. It seems like a really nice place and those costumes for MassKara Festival look dope 😉 So fun! I wonder what the sounds are like?

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