PC #253: Masskara Festival – The Philippines

Okay.. so I decided to collect written and stamped Philippine postcards as well, instead of them  being ‘fresh’ from the bookstore/s. I have this HUGE collection of unwritten Philippine postcards I keep for myself, that is, I do not intend to send them out because 1.) they’re rare and 2.) I like them so much. Anyways..

Ate Shengkay from Bacolod City sent me a card featuring the most famous festival in Negros. My dad is from the same province so I’m pretty much familiar with the festival, though I haven’t witnessed it myself.. no, not yet. Let me just quote the caption printed on the back of the card: “Masskara is coined from the word ‘mass’ which means ‘crowd’ and the Spanish word ‘cara’ which means ‘face’. The two words combined have become the local word for ‘mask’. This festival showcases colorful costumes of smiley masks made out of papier mache or molded clay. Masskara is held on the weekend nearest October 19.”

Aside from the etymology of its name, Masskara has an interesting history as well. There was a time, I think in the 80’s, when the sugar industry in the province (Negros is known as the Sugar Bowl of the Philippines) faced a major downfall due to the introduction of artificial sugar in the market. Added to that is the death of hundreds of Negrenses aboard a ship which collided with a tanker and sank. In order to give hope to the people and to lift up their spirits, the government and some artists came up with the colorful festival. From hence, Bacolod City became known as the City of Smiles.😉

Colorful Masskara Festival in Bacolod City

The stamps used are part of the CY2010 Definitives which feature the Philippine Marine Biodiversity. The Philippines boasts an ocean region which is long known as the world’s  center of marine biodiversity. Maraming salamat, Ate Shengkay!

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