Bacolod Festivals - Philippines

The best way to learn abut Philippine culture and life is by watching or taking part in their numerous festivals and fiestas. Bacolod City and Negros Occidental exemplify this more so than any other, with every locale having a fiesta.

The Masskara Festival

Of the numerous festivals in Negros, the Masskara Festival, held every October in Bacolod City, is without question the most well known.

The word masskara is derive form the words “mass” and “masks”. The use of the large and colorful smiling masks makes it an apt description of the festival (and also pays tribute to Bacolod’s reputation as the City of Smiles). The event is marked by a parade through the streets by dancers clad colorful attire and accompanied by the steady beat of drums.

The Masskara Festival is held every 19th of October, the foundation day of the city, but it has come to symbolize other things, including representing the determination of the Filipino spirit.

The Sinigayan Festival

Every March 19, the Sinigayan Festival takes place. Although it mainly occurs in Sagay City, it is also commemorated in Bacolod and nearby towns.

It is a thanksgiving fiesta in honor of St. Joseph, and it is done through the demonstration of the skills, crafts and dances of the Negrense.

The Kali-Kalihan Festival

For a taste of something exotic, be sure to check out the Kali-Kalihan fiesta in Don Salvador Benedicto, which takes place in November.

This purpose of this festival is to demonstrate the ancient beliefs of the tribes concerning nature spirits, and also their styles of fighting and self defense. If you are in Bacolod, you will want to make this trip, as one of the highlights is an exhibition in live coal walking.

The Pasasalamat Festival

This fiesta is held in every May in the town of La Corta, which is not far from Bacolod City.

The name means “a festival of thanks” and has a long tradition. During the olden days the local tribes would give thanks to the elemental deities for giving them a bountiful harvest, and this practice is commemorated today by a colorful parade which provides a glimpse of the religious beliefs of the locals.

The Pinta Flores Festival

There is a strong tradition in Bacolod and the nearby cities of welcoming visitors by way of dancing in the streets, a tradition that began during Spanish times.

This tradition continues today with the Pinta Flores festival. Taking place in November, the dancers are now more often covered with flowers than tattoos, although in areas the latter is still favored.

The Ugyonan Festival

One of the most popular fiestas in Negros and Bacolod City is the Snake Festival, or Ugyonan. Its main theme is the spirit of cooperation, or bayanihan in Tagalog.

There are several aspects to this festival, and among them are street dancing, highlighting the local folk dances; there are also sports contests, and several programs depicting the culture of Negros. Finally there is a parade colorfully and artfully designed floats.

The Babaylan Festival

Not far from Bacolod is the city of Bago, which hosts the Babaylan fiesta, held every February 19.

This fiesta commemorates the life and times of the ancient tribes that lived in the area. From their local legends, music, handicraft and religious beliefs, it is a showcase of the history of Negros.

Maskara Festival

Maskara Festival is the major tourist attraction in Bacolod City, the capital city of Negros Occidental. It is the reason behind the tag “City of Smiles”.

Maskara Festival is all about merry-making, fun activities, and street dancing. It is intended to commemorate the cityhood of Bacolod City. Critics tag it as a Mardi Gras-like event with costumes and colorful masks imprinted with big smiles. It basically showcases how the locals of Bacolod can adapt even to drastic changes. They face life forward still with big smiles, regardless of how it has been difficult.

Maskara festival is held yearly, every third week of October.

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Pyromagic Festival

Pyromagic Festival is something new for tourists and locals alike. It is held every December starting in 2007 in SM City Bacolod. This festival features a fireworks competition that takes place for two separate weekends. Six contestants join the competition.

Pyromagic Festival is intended to make Christmases even more colorful and lively. Every contestant in the competition strives to offer the best and light up the sky amazingly to be able to bag the prizes. So you can expect nothing but the best.

Pyromagic Festival is definitely a must-see. It is an event you cannot miss as the skies of Bacolod lights up with the spectacular fireworks every time it is being held.

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Panaad sa Negros

Panaad sa Negros is tagged as the mother of all festivals that are held in Negros Occidental. It is celebrated annually, every April, representing the festive nature of the locals. An enormous display of the culture around Negros is present during the festival with all the towns and cities participating.

Panaad sa Negros usually commence with a mass. Afterwards, native delicacies, lots of local handicrafts, and fireworks displays are enjoyed. The festivities last for a nine-day period, showcasing what the province has to offer in terms of trade, culture, and of course, tourism.

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Bacoloadiat Festival

Bacoloadiat Festival is intended to celebrate Spring. It is held every January by the Filipino-Chinese community right at the main plaza. Bacoloadiat Festival is all about celebration as the name is derived from the city’s name aand a Hokkien word representing celebration. This festival is also known as the Chinese New Year of the city.

Delectable Chinese cuisine form the chospticks alley. But aside from food, lots of festivities are also being held during the festival. There are live bands, comedy shows, musicals, and a colorful display of Chinese culture. Bacoloadiat Festival also hosts a yummy cookfest.

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