Play Video



The Hidden Maestros of MassKara


Think of a city where the streets pulsate with lively music, vibrant masks, and an atmosphere that’s nothing short of electrifying. That’s Bacolod City during the MassKara Festival—where even the most unyielding souls can’t resist breaking into a grin. 


As our team dove headfirst into Bacolod’s smiling soul, we yearned for more than just the surface-level experience. MassKara is not your typical festival that celebrates patron saints. This was a festival of resilience, of giving smiles and happiness to the people of Negros, and we were determined to uncover the stories that danced beneath the masks. 


After immersing ourselves in the lively street parades and electrifying music, we ventured into the heart of the competition—the MassKara Festival Street Dance and Arena Competition.  

Barangay Granada, a three-time champion in the Street Dance Competition, was our next destination, and we had the privilege of chatting with the Production & Costume Designer behind their winning performances,



Yob started joining the MassKara festival when he’s 20 years old, taking inspiration from his predecessors. Outside the festival, he also does mural paintings, portraiture, and “everything related to art”. Besides creating Barangay Granada’s Street Dance costumes, Yob was also the artist behind Barangay 25’s float. 

Yob gave us a background of the Street Dance Competition. Each barangay (local community) has a choice: to join either the float competition or the street dance competition. Barangay Granada opted for the latter. Preparations began as early as August, and it was a fierce battle of creativity, choreography, and  commitment. The gym where they rehearsed was guarded by tanods (local bodyguards), and no photos or videos were allowed, adding an extra layer of suspense. Teamwork was paramount, from the barangay members cooking food for rehearsals, to the Barangay Captain (local community head) securing the budget, and the design and choreography teams ensuring every detail was perfect.

Brgy. Granada’s last night of rehearsals

Yob’s Design Team during the awarding ceremony

This year, Barangay Granada once again proved their supremacy, besting all the nine other contestants. Their victory earned them not only 1 million pesos but also accolades for Best in Headdress, Mask, and Costume; Best in Theme; and Best in Music. This victory was a testament to their dedication, creativity, and the competitive spirit that drives the MassKara Festival.


Now, as our adventure continued, we sought out one of Bacolod’s most famous mask-makers, Jojo Vito. His story was nothing short of extraordinary. With 25 years of experience under his belt, he had crafted a unique path to success.

Jojo began his journey as a printing press owner, and when life threw challenges his way, he transformed the scrap papers from his printing press into exquisite paper mâché masks. It started as a means to provide for his people, but little did he know that his creations would become a beloved part of MassKara. They continued to experiment with more materials, but fiberglass had an unmatched versatility that took their craftsmanship global. They may be renowned in Bacolod, but their artistry and passion extended far beyond the city limits, reaching people worldwide.

Jojo Vito of The Jojo Vito 

Designs Gallery and Garden

Jojo’s studio was not just a hub for masks; it was a creative powerhouse known for chandeliers and home decors, keeping them busy all year round. However, their studio truly shines during the MassKara Festival, offering handmade masks with unique stories behind each one. But don’t fret, because Jojo Vito’s masks are affordable, with pricing like those masks being sold on the streets. 

Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach – inspired mask

Inspired by the sea, the Sireneya Mask

Jojo Vito’s Bacolod Mask

When asked about leaving a legacy, Jojo said that it’s not just about the glory, not just the smiles from the masks, but it’s really the joy of providing a livelihood to his people, to his artists, helping and mentoring them until they succeed in making their own business. 


Our adventure also led us to DUMAICOS ARTS & CRAFTS, where the magic of mask-making takes shape. To get here, you have to traverse a long, winding, remote alley in the heart of Bacolod.

We met one of its owners and crafters, Sir Reynaldo Dumaicos, who leads the creation of fiberglass molds for various barangays, who rely on their craftsmanship to bring their mask designs to life. For the 2023 MassKara Festival, 7 out of 10 barangay candidates for the Street Dance Competition entrusted DUMAICOS with the task of creating their molds. Their team of 12 churn out an astonishing 60 molds for each barangay within a mere two weeks! But their dedication doesn’t stop with the festival; they also supply molds for other artists like Jojo Vito, whose studio operates all year round. 

Fiberglass mold in the making

Tatay Rodolfo Edem in front of his stall


Tatay Rodolfo Edem in front of his stall

Venturing out onto the festival streets, we discovered a different kind of mask-making magic. They weren’t hidden away in a studio or workshop; they thrived amidst the hustle and bustle of the MassKara Festival. Just walk along the street between the historic San Sebastian Cathedral and the Bacolod Public Plaza, and you’ll find a row of mask peddlers, each showcasing a distinct mask design.

We crossed paths with Kuya Rodolfo Edem, a true artisan who’s been crafting smiles right on the streets for the past decade. His approach was as unique as the festival itself. He handcrafts his masks right at home, each with its own mold and design. His creative process kicks off three months before the festival, and it’s a marvel to listen to him as he tells us how, in just 30 minutes, he can craft a large mask, and a mere 20 minutes for a smaller one. His masks sell for 800 – 200 pesos. It used to be cheaper, but then,  the pandemic happened. 

Just like Yob, Kuya Rodolfo also joins nearby festivals, like Iloilo’s Dinagyang and Cebu’s Sinulog, to sell his masks. And in case you’re wondering what he does when festivals aren’t in full swing, Kuya Rodolfo sells fish in the market.

As you explore this cultural gem, remember that behind every mask, there’s a story, a passion, and a smile that’s worth celebrating. So, the next time you stroll through the festival streets and see a smile-inducing mask, you’ll know that it’s a labor of love, a masterpiece in progress, and a reason to join in the joyful festivities of MassKara! 

So, tara sa MassKara next year?

In our quest to uncover the stories at the heart of the MassKara Festival, we found an indispensable partner in the Mitsubishi Xpander.


With its reliability and adaptability, the Mitsubishi Xpander became an integral part of our quest to celebrate Bacolod’s unwavering spirit, where every ride led us to new chapters and more smiles in the captivating story of MassKara.

In our quest to uncover the stories at the heart of the MassKara Festival, we found an indispensable partner in the Mitsubishi Xpander.

With its reliability and adaptability, the Mitsubishi Xpander became an integral part of our quest to celebrate Bacolod’s unwavering spirit, where every ride led us to new chapters and more smiles in the captivating story of MassKara.