When Bacoleños boast that the annual MassKara festival is unlike any other in the world, they are not just engaging in a hyperbole to advertise the event. They are, without being aware of it, telling the truth. Something of an anachronism among major festivals in the Philippines that are invariably tied to religious events because Spain used them for cultural imperialism, MassKara is unique in its purely secular roots. Actually conceived as early as the 1970s in keeping with former First Lady Imelda Marcos’ Kasaysayan ng Lahi project, it took on its present state only in the1980s as a newly minted mask festival distinct from those that are rooted in centuries-old tradition like Peru’s La Diablada and Bali’s Topeng festival. Like the island from which it sprung, MassKara is an “invented tradition” made up of varied elements from Germany’s Oktoberfest and Rio de Janeiro’s Carnavale, and like its creators, of recent vintage. However, because memory is selective and people remember what they like to remember, MassKara has often been interpreted as an expression of Bacoleños’ joie de vivre and resiliency in the face of adversity. The only major Western Visayan festival that is not tied to Pedro Monteclaro’s grand narrative of how Visayans came to be, it has nothing in common with Aklan’s Ati-Atihan, Iloilo’s Dinagyang, and Antique’s Binirayan – which trace their origins to Monteclaro’s Maragtas, starting with the Bornean hegira to escape the oppressive rule of Sultan Makatunaw and ending with Datu Puti’s bartering a golden salakot and a trailing gold necklace for a piece of Panay from the Aeta chieftain Marikudo.