Having a total population of 561,875 (as of 2015 census), Bacolod City has the greatest number of people in the Negros Island Region. It is considered as a highly urbanized city and is the capital city of the province of Negros Occidental. Bacolod City is well known as the “City of Smiles” because of its “Masskara” festival. But aside from this festival, there are also other major events in Bacolod that makes it rich in culture and tradition.
FEAST OF SAINT SEBASTIAN
Bacolod’s Roman Catholic Church commemorates the Feast of St. Sebastian who is the patron saint of the said city. Saint Sebastian was a saint and a martyr who was killed during the persecution of Christians by the Roman emperor Diocletian according to the Roman Catholic faith. According to legend, he went to Diocletian to warn him about his iniquities, and as a result was smashed to death.
The celebration of this festival is started with a mass led by the bishop of the Catholic Church. Then, there are series of games and activities for the street children and residents of Bacolod City. The program is held at the Bacolod Public Plaza.
(Every Chinese New Year)
The term “Bacolaodiat” comes from the words “Bacolod” and “Lao Diat” (which means celebration). This festival is celebrated on the last week of January to the first of February of every year. This event is known as Bacolod’s Chinese New Year.
Tourists and visitors will be attracted to the Lantern Dance Parade, the Cultural Events, the Imperial Village, and the Chopsticks Alley which are only experienced during the said event. This festival is also made remarkable by the dragon and lion dances, the religious rituals, the gift-giving and family feasts, and of course, the fabulous fireworks display!
Bacolaodiat Festival 2020 Schedule of Events (coming soon)
PANAAD SA NEGROS FESTIVAL
Panaad is the hiligaynon translation of the word “vow”. This Panaad sa Negros Festival is celebrated to commemorate a vow in exchange of a good life. It is held every year in the month of April. Originally, this festival is held at the Capitol Park and Lagoon. But as it grew each year, a more spacious venue became necessary to accommodate the growing number of people attending this fun event.
Known as “The Festival of Festivals”, this Panaad sa Negros Festival includes uniquely designed booths and cottages that portray the culture and products of each city in the Negros province. There are series of events on this 7-day celebration. There are fireworks display during the opening (first day) and the closing (last day) ceremonies of the event. Many Filipino artists would come and visit for a tour during this time, too. And they even perform live on stage for free! But the highlight of this Panaad sa Negros Festival is the beauty pageant known as “Lin-ay sang Panaad”. Several Filipino beauties from different cities will compete to get the crown. They will walk with their elegant gowns, show their talents, dress up with their swimming attire, and show what they got during the on-stage interview with the judges.
The Masskara Festival is held during the week ending the last weekend of October, although the highlights of the festival used to be held during the week of Bacolod City’s Charter Day, which is October 19.
The first Masskara Festival was held during a period of crisis (1980) when the profit from sugar production was at its lowest due to the introduction of sugar substitutes in USA. On April 22 of this same year, there were 700 lives that were lost due to the MV Don Juan (an inter-island vessel) tragedy. The government decided to hold a festival of smiles to bring break the gloomy atmosphere brought by the crisis.
This festival features a series of events which everyone will surely enjoy. There is a street dance competition to be participated by people from different barangays of Bacolod City. You can see colorful masks and creative costumes worn by the dancers. Carnivals, drum and bungle corps competition, sports, food festival, and musical shows or concerts are also part of the celebration. There are also garden shows for the plant and flower-lovers. And of course, this festival will not be complete without the Masskara Queen Beauty Pageant where different beauties from different cities will show what they got to win the crown.