BACOLOD CITY—Mayor Evelio Leonardia said the MassKara Festival has yet to reach its full potential as the city’s famous annual celebration reaches its 39th year this October.
“There’s so much potential and I believe the best is yet to come for MassKara. There’s much more that will happen to MassKara. It will be a very effective vehicle for our tourism campaign,” said the mayor, who led opening rites of the festival’s 2018 edition at the Bacolod Public Plaza on Monday night.
This year’s festival will run for 21 days—from Oct. 8 to 28—with highlights set on Oct. 26 to 28.
Leonardia pointed out that MassKara is a uniting factor and serves as a family reunion for Bacolodnons, aside from being a source of pride for the city.
“We really should see to it that we nurture this festival like a treasure. MassKara brings us all together. That is why, when they ask who should be credited for the MassKara Festival, I always say it’s the people because it’s really true,” the mayor said.
“Everybody in MassKara is important, everybody is a part of it. All of us are part of MassKara,” he added.
During the opening program, which also served as a celebration of Bacolod’s 80th birthday, Leonardia offered a toast for the “progress development, peace, and prosperity” of Bacolod with Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran and other city officials, as well as the city department and office heads.
Leonardia also announced that a day before the MassKara Festival opened, Bacolod won the bronze medal in the World Mask Dance Competition 2018 in South Korea.
As one of the highlights of the Andong Mask Dance Festival in Andong City, which ran from Sept. 28 to Oct. 7, the competition showcased the performances of mask-based festivals from 13 countries.
Bacolod placed third, behind Europe’s Latvia and Africa’s South Africa, which won the gold and silver medals, respectively.
“We’re the only Asian (country) who were able to make it,” the mayor said.
Leonardia and Councilor Em Ang, chair of the City Council committee on tourism and action officer of MassKara Festival, accompanied the 10 MassKara dancers to South Korea as the official delegation from Bacolod invited by the festival organizer, International Mask Arts and Culture Organization.
Ang said it was the first time that MassKara joined the World Mask Dance Competition, and the good result of Bacolod’s participation is something to be proud of.
“MassKara has a very bright potential,” the councilor said, adding that after the competition, Bacolod received invitations from other countries for MassKara dancers to perform in their festivals.
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