MassKara Festival 2018 – Schedule, Directions & Accommodations

INTRODUCTION

MassKara, Bacolod’s annual festival, is now coming up again on October. It is one of the biggest festivals in the Philippines that in just a span of 3 weeks, thousands of people and tourists will be flocking to Bacolod to witness street dancing competitions, street parties, live bands, and of course – an amazing fireworks display. There is also going to be beauty pageant, a parade float, and a car show display.

MassKara Dancers
By Ceslou [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons

So be part of the fun and start booking your hotels as early as now.

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ABOUT THE MASSKARA FESTIVAL

Despite its portrayal of happy and joyful faces under the facade of colorful costumes and creative masks, the MassKara Festival came about during the province’s saddest times. In 1980, on top of a financial sugar crisis, a ship vessel called MV Don Juan which carried many Negrenses, collided with a tanker which killed an estimated 750 passengers. This caused so much sorrow among the people that the city government back then decided to hold an annual festival to uplift people’s spirits, fight through the heartaches, and live up to its name as the City of Smiles.

Today, the MassKara Festival not only stands to commemorate the lives lost during the tragedy but also to prove that whatever hardships they may come against, Negrenses know how to face it head on and break out smiling on the other side.

MASSKARA SCHEDULE

The MassKara Festival will begin on October 8, 2018 and will end on the 4th Sunday of the month, which is on October 28. The MassKara Festival highlights will be on October 26-28.

MASSKARA EVENTS

Here are some of the events that will be held during MassKara Festival 2018:

  • Electric MassKara
  • Street and Arena Dance Competition
  • MassKara Queen Beauty Pageant
  • Fireworks Competition

I will be posting more information on the dates of the specific events soon.

MASSKARA LOCATIONS

There will be three sites that will serve as celebration hubs for the MassKara Festival namely:

  • Bacolod City Public Plaza
  • Lacson Tourism Strip
  • Bacolod City Government Center

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DIRECTIONS

Getting to Bacolod from Cebu City

To get from Cebu City to Bacolod, there are Ceres buses from the Cebu North Bus Terminal which will take you all the way to Bacolod. There are four routes but the Don Salvador route is the quickest one and the total travel time is around 7-8 hours. Here is the full list of bus schedules from Cebu to Bacolod.

Cebu to Bacolod via Don Salvador bus
Bacolod-bound buses

Getting to Bacolod from Iloilo

To get from Iloilo to Bacolod, you must ride a ferry from the port of Iloilo city. There are four ferries to choose from and they are OceanJet, Supercat 2GO, Weesam Express, and FastCat. The total travel time is less than 2 hours and the fare varies between each ship. Here is a compilation of all the ferry schedules and fares.

Ticket booths in Ilo-ilo terminal

Getting to Bacolod from Manila

To get from Manila to Bacolod, there are flights every day via Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines. I would suggest booking your airline tickets now while they are cheaper. The total travel time is around 45 minutes.

If you prefer land travel, you can also ride the bus from Cubao to Bacolod. The total travel time for the bus is around 24-26 hours and the bus leaves at 5 AM every day. You can read more about the schedule and fare on my Manila

READ: Manila to Bacolod Ceres bus schedule and fare.

Getting to Bacolod from Dumaguete

To get from Dumaguete to Bacolod, just head to the Dumaguete bus terminal where you can find Ceres buses bound for Bacolod. There are air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned buses but the non-airconditioned ones are more common. The total travel time is around 6 hours. Here is the full list of bus schedules from Dumaguete to Bacolod.

MASSKARA ACCOMMODATIONS

During the MassKara Festival events, some roads in Bacolod will be closed, especially Lacson St. where most of the street parties will be held. Although there are a lot of places to stay in the city, it’s best to choose a hotel that is situated near a celebration site so that you do not need to walk too far. Here are some of the hotels that I recommend and just within the proximity of each location.

Best hotels near Lacson Street:

Best hotels near Bacolod City Public Plaza:

Best hotels near Bacolod City Government Center:

BOOK HOTELS AT A LOWER PRICE

Alternatively, you can always opt for Airbnb if you wish. There are a lot of people in Bacolod who offer their rooms and houses during the MassKara Festival.

CREATE AN ACCOUNT ON AIRBNB

REMINDERS

  1. Avoid wearing loose/jaggy shorts

    Lacson Street will be very crowded and so to deter pickpocketers, make sure to wear fitting bottom attire.

  2. Bring bottled water and a cap if you plan to go out at noon

    It can get really hot in Bacolod.

  3. During the highlights, cellular service is cut off

    If you are with a group, make sure to plan on where to meet if ever one of you gets lost.

And that’s about it. I’ll be updating this post for any new information regarding the MassKara Festival in the coming days. Make sure to book your hotel as soon as possible and I hope you have a memorable stay in Bacolod.

Elmer Balbin

Web developer from Bacolod, Google Local Guide, and casual DotA 2 player.

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