LONG BEACH, CA — The annual Masskara Festival is a bright reminder of dark times in Bacolod City.
“It’s one of the best top tourist attractions right now in the Philippines; the Masskara festival has just grown tremendously,” says Peter Ramirez, president of the Long Beach Bacolod City Association. “It’s based on fact that the people of Bacolod were actually celebrating the people that died in a 1980 ferry boat crash, and they have decided to instead of mourn, celebrate, so they wear the mask to show they’re smiling.”
With masks on and the chicken inasal on the grill, Filipinos celebrated the Masskara Festival in Long Beach. It’s believed to be the first time the Bacolod tradition, regarded as the Philippines’ version of Mardi Gras, was celebrated stateside.