The festival instills among the people the culture of escapism and obscurantism, where they have to accept and forget their sufferings caused by the exploitation and oppression of the landlords. In this city, people are encouraged by the organizers, mostly big business and hacenderos (big landlords), to forget the economic hardships and depression which happen especially during tiempo muerto (dead season, or off sugar harvest-milling season). Bacolod is the capital city of Negros Occidental , known as the Sugar Bowl of the Philippines and is part of Western Visayas in central Philippines .
The Masskara Festival through the years gives the people of Negros , as well as local and foreign visitors, a chance to drink and be merry for 20 days. Originally designed to show the hardships of the people of Negros , the Masskara Festival has become a tool of escapism and a way to generate revenues for big business. It has indeed come a long way, and it is clear that the path turn away from the progressive goal. Bacolod City is known for the popular Masskara Festival which takes place here Oct. 1-20. Local and foreign visitors get a chance to enjoy 20 days of merry making, beer drinking, dining and street dancing. On the weekend nearest to 19 October, the biggest party in Bacalod is scheduled to take place. Bacalod is the capital city of the country's sugar-producing province of Bocalenos .
The Masskara festival was first envisioned in 1980 to add color and jollity to the Bcolod City 's celebration of its Charter Day anniversary, on 19 October. The symbol of the festival - a smiling mask - was adopted by the organizers to dramatize the Negrenses happy spirit, in spite of periodic economic downturns in the sugar industry.
Throughout the week, people from all over the Visayas, gather to the town plaza. They join Bacoleños in the non-stop round of festivities. Even if you don't feel like dancing and singing, the pig catching and pole climbing competitions are musts. Some are also trying their luck and testing their skills in mask-making contests, disco king and queen competitions, coconut-milk drinking to name a few.
Masks are the order of the day at the Masskara parade, as brightly-costumed men and women dance and strut in the streets. Their beaming faces are be-dimpled, smiling and laughing in molded clay or papier-mâché. Every group is represented: civic associations, commercial establishments, schools, even private and government organizations. They march out in excited crowd wearing their painted masks and elaborate costumes, all vying for prizes in judging that will be held in the afternoon. The festival also benefits Bacolod tourism not only because tourists flock the city during this time to join the merrymaking but also to buy the orchids and ornate handicrafts on sale.