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The Gallery of Masks is located in Bacolod, Negros Occidental. Bacolod is officially known as the City of Bacolod and is also often referred to as Bacolod City. It is a highly urbanized city that serves as the capital of the province of Negros Occidental. Bacolod is notable for its Masskara Festival that takes place every October.
The word “Masskara” is a portmanteau coined by the late artist Ely Santiago. It comes from the word “mass,” which means a multitude of people, and the Spanish word “cara,” which means face. “Masskara” thus means a multitude of faces. It is also considered a pun of the word “maskara,” which is the Filipino word for “mask.” Since the masks, a prominent feature of the festival, is always adorned with smiles, it gave rise to Bacolod being called the “City of Smiles.”
Many of the masks featured in the festival are designed by Jojo Vito, a local designer who is well-known for his extravagant designs. Aside from having his creations used in the annual festival, many of them are also displayed in his own gallery, which is formally called Jojo Vito Designs Gallery but is also referred to as the Gallery of Masks. Each mask is handmade and beautifully painted. Along with masks, Jojo Vito also creates custom-made furniture, trophies, ornaments, and jewelry.
Jojo Vito Designs Gallery sits along Alunan Avenue in Bacolod City's downtown area. The gallery is about 19 KM away from the Bacolod-Silay Airport as well. The best and most convenient way of getting here is by renting a private car or taking a taxi. You can also opt to take public transportation like jeepneys and tricycles if you prefer more cost-effective ways of getting to the gallery. Otherwise, you can book tour packages that already include a visit to the gallery in their itineraries for a fuss-free trip here.
The Jojo Vito Designs Gallery accepts visitors all year round. It is open from 9 AM to 5 PM from Mondays to Saturdays and is closed every Sunday. It is best to visit outside of the Masskara Festival season, which takes place every October, as to avoid the large crowds that the festival attracts. Visiting outside of October also allows you to get a closer look at the masks as they wouldn't be in use at the time and will likely be displayed inside the gallery.