Go Mask Hunting in Bacolod
Masks have always been part of festive traditions all over the world. And we here in the Philippines can go all out when it comes to masks! The biggest masquerade event is undoubtedly the Masskara Festival held every fourth week of October in Bacolod. Here the streets swirl with color and style as hundreds come out in their best festive masks to celebrate the festival.
Historically, the festival stemmed from an era of crisis in the region. Back in the 80’s a ship named the MV Don Juan collided with another seafaring vessel. Around 700 lives were lost at sea including many people from Bacolod. Add to that the hardship of the times when their primary product which was sugar cane, hit all-time low prices. Not only was their source of income being taken away, but lives were lost, and the city fell to an atmosphere of gloom. But the people of Bacolod have always been tough and resilient. A move by the local government initiated a massive dance parade in the streets. And despite the hardships surrounding them, the people turned a simple parade activity into a legacy that will late make Bacolod known as the “City of Smiles.”
Every year now, people from all over the country flock to Bacolod to watch how the people there go all-out in spreading a message of cheer, happiness, and color despite trying times in the past, and in the present. And what is the best way to show a big smile? Well, go out and where a beautiful colored mask!
Photo via tuklaserangmatipid
Empowerment Through the Masskara
What Lies in a Mask
Masks do not just cover the face within. It not merely an object that will replace our own face with a graphic one. More than that, a mask is a representation of how we wish to show how we fill. It is not about hiding, it is about actually showing what we want to project or portray despite what we feel or how we look inside! It tells the world that no matter how hard times are or despite how we look and how we feel, this is what we want to show, this is what we want others to see!
Masks give us a sense of mystery as well as a sense of delight! They let us tell stories and create movements that we normally cannot! Much like how a cosplayer feels when he attends an event in full costume, he or she becomes more than himself. He or she becomes another character that receives empowerment through the design and the beauty of the costume or the mask!
More Than One Mask to Choose From
There are many types of masks that one can choose to use. There are the simple face masks that cover your face. Some or bolder and bigger. These masks come in all shapes and sizes often coming with full headgear and accessories. A mask isn’t just a mask! A mask must come with the whole look! There are many ways to choose your mask, and many ways to select how you want to appear or what your look is. Some go out in hand-made masks. Using their own innovative designs and splashing it with their own style and creativity, many come up with fun and festive masks that bring out the spirit and joy of the event.
But if you are on the more serious side of mask-wearing and would like to have the best mask around, there is always one place to go to where you will never be let down…Jojo Vito’s House of Masks in Bacolod!
Jojo Vito’s House of Masks
Photo via jojovito
Jojo Vito Designs Gallery is a company based here in the Philippines that is gifted in home furnishings, designs, gift and novelty items, and masks. Filipino artisans and artists showcase their intricate designs that show that the Filipino is truly a master artist. But their utmost specialty is the making of masks. As a result, the Jojo Vito House of Masks has been the official partner of the Masskara Festival in Bacolod for many years.
They create specialized and intricate masks that showcase the Filipino ingenuity. With many themes and options to choose from, you can be assured that the mask you pick will be the right fit for any occasion, if you want to go full FIlipiniana, the Ibong Adarna inspired masks is perfect for you! It is enchanting and vibrant and full of song that will surely charm anyone who watches you. There are also the beautiful Mariposa inspired masks that will take your breath away with the color and style in their design. Do you need trophy masks? Jojo Vito’s House of Masks also creates mask-themed trophies perfect for that masquerade ball to award the winning King and Queen of the Night.
Photo via jojovito
How about designing looks for beauty queens in pageants? Jojo Vito has got you covered! Look at these delightful contestants from the Miss Earth 2013 pageant! Jojo Vito’s House of Masks created designer-masks for all the young ladies, hand-picked and individually stylized for each one! They can do full gowns and dresses in addition to the masks. Need a tailor-made look for men? They have it! Jojo Vito will create your suit, your mask, and your entire look to fit your party or event motif!
Photo via jojovito
A Few Words from Jojo Vito
Jojo Vito’s Design Gallery has been featured in many TV shows and programs. They are highly reviewed and recommended by Tripadvisor. Jojo Vito is as legitimate as they can get. Their shop in Bacolod is very acclaimed and may be the grandest mask-maker in the country. In an interview read at www.thehappytrip.com, the designer had this to say.
Photo via thehappytrip
The Story of Jojo Vito’s Success
“I never thought of becoming an entrepreneur… I used to work as an HR Executive, doing consultancy and training on the side and I was very happy. Putting up my own business is an idea I don’t entertain before, until an unthinkable closure of the company I used to work in …I need to survive, but I don’t want to leave the province. I went into teaching and continue with my consultancy business. Until, I was invited to join the Association of Negros Producers Expo. A program of the Association of Negros Producers encouraging emerging producers display their products at the Negros Showroom for free.
Since paper is the most familiar material to me I started with paper bags with Negros and Bacolod Prints on it and Paper Mache Masks…While our products then were not as good quality wise as we have today, the market found them really enjoyable. It was an inspiration!
“I was doing the designs, purchasing, marketing, packing, accessorizing and even painting of the masks at times.”
Financially, it was very challenging for me to start a manufacturing business. Everything is purchased on a cash basis and I can’t afford to get many workers—I have to do some of the jobs myself. I was doing the designs, purchasing, marketing, packing, accessorizing and even painting of the masks at times. I don’t resent these activities because I love doing it first and foremost.
There were times that I have to report to my class at La Consolacion College with paints in my fingers not totally removed. Students would stare at my hands and I would simple say: “These are the hands that work”…and I would just tell them the story. Those were entrepreneurship classes anyway…The Bible tells us the “Everything works together for good for those who loved God” and nothing happens by accident. True enough, my handicraft business grew fast…our smiling masks really captured the heart of the buyers. In my first year of stay with the Association of Negros Producers, I became immediately the No. 7 top grosser of the year. The following year Number 4, then Number 2, then Number 1. Now he is still receiving blessings as of this writings.
From paper bag and paper mache masks, we evolve into the use of clay, wood, fiber glass and other materials for our masks…Indeed, the Lord has been so good to us and by His never ending grace, I am sure Jojo Vito Masks will continue to smile.”
Photo via jojovito
The Lesson of Jojo’s Journey
It is always inspiring to hear a success story. Therefore, even more inspiring is the fact that the designer chose to remain loyal to the country, hence, loyal to the city of Bacolod. He pursues his dream and gave honest and excellent work with his hands and with his heart. As he said so, it was a blessing to achieve both national and international success. Now the Vito masks are known from Bacolod, to Manila, and to New York! He is truly an example of what the Masskara Festival is all about. No matter then pressure and turns that life gives us, we can always persevere and as a result, choose to see what is good, work hard for it, and smile!
Being an Eventurer is all about making the most of your time, knowing what is happening around you, and sharing it with others! Just like the Masskara Festival in Bacolod, we are like that group of people who will join the parade. It’s time to show the world how much fun we are having and showcase the joy we feel. People like Jojo Vito are Eventurers, they share to the world their passion and together, we tell the world that life is a never-ending adventure that needs to be felt and shared. Need more inspiring stories? Craving for a new hobby? Or looking for what’s hot and abuzz in town? Check them out only at YuneOh!
Explore the Philippines more with the many festivals that share it’s rich culture. Check out our guide here.