Where to Eat in Bacolod City During Masskara Festival 2023

Feast in the gastronomic havens of Bacolod City at this year’s Masskara Festival!

Image Source: https://www.facebook.com/masskaralive | masskara queen pageant, electric masskara
Image Source: https://www.facebook.com/masskaralive | masskara queen pageant, electric masskara

What is the meaning of the word “Masskara”

Coined by the late artist Ely Santiago, Masskara is actually a portmanteau of the words mass, meaning multitude of people and “cara” the Spanish word for face.

One of the reasons for earning the moniker “City of Smiles” was borne out of these colorful masks featuring smiling faces.

Tracing back its History and Cultural Importance

The Masskara Festival, held in Bacolod City, known as the “City of Smiles,” is an eagerly awaited event highlighting the locale’s lively culture, rich traditions, and delectable cuisine. This year, it was celebrated on the fourth Sunday of October, October 22.

The Masskara Festival was first conceptualized in 1980 when sugar cane, the province’s main agricultural crop, hit an all-time low due to the introduction of sugar alternatives like corn syrup.

On that same year, the province also suffered from a tragedy when the inter-island vessel MV Don Juan sank bringing many Negrenses to their death including those from  prominent families in Bacolod City as it collided with the tanker Tacloban City in Tablas Strait, Mindoro.

This mishap resulted in 18 lives lost, and 115 still missing.

Bacolondons Resilience

The city government which was then headed by the late Mayor Jose “Digoy” Montalvo allocated a seed fund and rallied the city’s arts association, civic groups and business entities to conceptualize and launch a “festival of smiles” rivaling Brazil’s Rio Carnival.

The initial festival was held during the City’s Charter Day celebration on October 19, 1980.

It was a declaration of the city and its people’s resilience and triumph over challenging times and economic crisis.

Thus, the first Masskara Festival was celebrated. Now, it is recognized as one of the biggest festivals in the Philippines.

These smiling masks are not just mere disguises anymore; it is now an expression of unwavering positivity. The Masskara Festival is a tribute to the human spirit, turning adversity into a canvas of creativity.

Fun Activities to Do During the Masskara Festival

This month-long event is full of exciting activities and unforgettable experience like the much-awaited street dance competitions, drum competitions, and the beauty pageant “Miss Bacolod Masskara.”

The festival’s crown jewel is the street dance competition, a mesmerizing display of choreography and synchronized movements. Dancers wearing captivating masks and colorful costumes perform to the infectious rhythms of local music.

Talented dancers in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental | Photo taken by Herbert Kikoy, from Wikipedia
Talented dancers in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental | Photo taken by Herbert Kikoy, from Wikipedia

Another popular event during the festival is the street parties. The Masskara Festival is, without a doubt, Bacolod’s biggest street party. The streets come alive with music, more dancing and merrymaking, creating an enchanting atmosphere that is impossible to resist.

If you want to be in the center of all the activities, go to the Bacolod public plaza. It is the heart of the whole festival. Here, you can dive into Bacolod’s rich culture, with colorful decorations, cultural events, art exhibitions, garden shows, and food fairs.

More activities you can expect here are sports competitions like their 2nd Mayor Albee Benitez Badminton and Masskara Golf Cup, food festivals like the MasskaNaMitFood Exploration Festival, The Bacolod Showroom Producer’s Trade Fair, concerts like the Viva Concert, and more.

You can check here for the schedule of events.

Novenario masses are also held at the San Sebastian Cathedral during the entire celebration of the Masskara Festival. While in the city, try to visit other landmark places that will keep you in awe, like the San Diego Pro Cathedral in Silay and the Negros Museum.

First Timer’s Guide

If you want to witness and celebrate this extravagant feast, there are still a few days left before it ends. Check out these travel tips when attending the Masskara Festival:

  • Plan ahead
  • Don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes!
  • Dress comfortably, wear breathable clothing
  • Stay hydrated
  • If you need to transfer from one venue to the next, walk the short distances – otherwise, get caught in traffic jams

Where to Eat During Bacolod City’s Masskara Festival

This annual festival is not just about smiling masks, street dances, and a float parade.

Food enthusiasts, tourists, and travelers participating in the festivities in the City of Smiles during the Masskara Festival can explore a variety of dining delights that offer a wide range of mouthwatering eats, making their trip more filling.

Bacolod is renowned for its culinary chops, so you will be satisfied with the gastronomic experience.

Manokan Country

During the Masskara Festival in Bacolod City, food enthusiasts must visit Manokan Country, a collection of restaurants in the city’s core specializing in Bacolod’s famous chicken inasal.

This food haven serves mouthwatering grilled chicken marinated in a unique blend of spices and steaming hot sinamak (vinegar) and garlic rice, making it an unforgettable culinary experience.

Calea Cakes and Pastries

Calea Cakes and Pastries at Lacson Street is a necessary destination during Masskara Festival in Bacolod City, especially for those with a sweet tooth.

Known for its heavenly cakes and pastries, this confectionery offers indulgent treats like ice cream cakes, cheesecakes, and fruit cakes, making it the perfect place to satisfy your cravings.

Take advantage of the opportunity to try Calea’s Signature Cake and their best seller, Chocolate Mud Pie. Enjoying a slice of these mouthwatering pastries is a delightful experience that will leave you wanting more.

Sharyn’s Cansi House

If you are around the North Shopping area, visit Sharyn’s Cansi House, a hidden gem and beloved local eatery that serves the most delicious and authentic cansi.

Everyone loves this traditional soup made with beef shank and bone marrow, and Sharyn’s Cansi House offers a culinary experience like no other.

The rich and flavorful broth is simmered for hours, resulting in tender meat that falls off the bone. The casual ambiance adds to the charm of this dining spot, making it the perfect place to relax after participating in the celebrations. 

Image Source: https://www.facebook.com/sharynscansihouse
Image Source: https://www.facebook.com/sharynscansihouse

Food Kiosks at The Upper East

The Upper East is a new spot that provides an extended selection of food options, offering a delightful dining experience for locals and tourists.

Nestled in the heart of Bacolod, the kiosks provide a diverse range of food options catering to every palate, from the beloved chicken inasal and traditional Filipino favorites to international cuisines and desserts.

The casual and outdoorsy atmosphere adds to the charm of this destination, making it the perfect place to unwind with friends or family after a day of participating in the Masskara Festival festivities.

Image Source: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100087791061670
Image Source: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100087791061670

The annual Masskara Festival in the City of Smiles is a celebration of art, culture, and tradition and a banquet for food enthusiasts! To get closer to these food spots and other events in the festival, consider having a home with Camella Bacolod.

This will give you easy access to all the happenings, fully immersing yourself in the festivities. 

Enjoy the fun and festive experience by visiting the Super City until October 28.

Real Estate Properties in Bacolod

Immerse in the laid-back lifestyle Bacolod has to offer.
Beautifully-crafted homes complete the safe, secure, and lush neighborhoods of Camella communities in Bacolod. Let the smiles of the people and verdant community beckon you home.


Brgy. Mandalagan, Bacolod City


Brgy. Mandalagan, Bacolod City

real estate properties for sale in bacolod city negros occidental at camella homes bacolod south

Bacolod SOuth

Brgy. Tangub, Bacolod City

View all Camella Communities in Negros Occidental

Compare listings