Fireworks lit up the sky at the Bacolod City Public Plaza last night to usher in the official start of the 22-day 33rd MassKara festival with the theme “Life is Good in Bacolod”.
Bacolod Mayor Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia said that they are anticipating bigger crowds for this year’s MassKara festival than those of last year, especially because of the recent honors it achieved.
“I’m happy that we started on a very high note. Even the fireworks were more exciting than the other years’,” the mayor said.
In fact, Leonardia said, the participants in the League of Cities meeting which is set in Bacolod on October 19 and 21, found it hard to look for billeting areas as most of the hotel rooms are already fully booked.
The victories of MassKara festival dancers in the Inter-town competition of ABS-CBN’s noontime program “It’s Show Time” and at the Philippine Independence Day Celebration in New York City, have heightened the festival’s popularity, he said.
MassKara festival has become popular not only in the Philippines but even abroad, which is evident with its inclusion in the list of the 12 best things in the Philippines by the website of the Cable News Network (CNN), Leonardia also said.
The mayor said the organizers led by festival director Eli Tajanlangit have included new activities that are more interesting and exciting than those in the previous years’.
“I believe this is going to be the most anticipated MassKara ever,” the mayor said.
Although this will be the last time that he will be presiding over the MassKara as city Mayor, Leonardia assured Bacoleños that this year’s festival will be the grandest ever.
Leonardia, the former Bacolod City tourism officer, had been the chairman of the festival several times since it started while he was with the Department of Tourism.
The street dancing competition for the school level will be on October 20, which will be participated in by 11 elementary and high schools while the barangay category with 15 entrants will be on the following day.
Aside from Leonardia, his wife, Elsa, Vice Mayor Jude Thaddeus Sayson, Councilors Caesar Distrito, Em Ang and Mona Dia Jardin, Andy Leonardia and Bart Orola also led the opening of the festival.
The opening rites last night were followed by the elimination round of GMA DanssKara: The Masskara Dance Showdown featuring 20 dance groups. Festival director Eli F. J. Tajanlangit saidthe DanssKara is aimed at highlighting another breed of dancers who wear low-tech masks.
The 22-day MassKara Festival, themed “Life is Good in Bacolod,” will feature the streetdancing competitions on Oct. 20 and 21, Electric MassKara on Oct. 19 to 21, MassKara Art Weekend on Oct. 5 to 7, and MassKara Queen coronation night on Oct. 18, and the Living Rosary from Oct. 5 to 14.
The Majica MassKara installation dubbed “Ang Bukid kag Baybay sa Bacolod (The Mountain and The Sea in Bacolod) will be unveiled on Oct. 5 at the public plaza at 7 p.m. The rich artistic culture of Bacolod will be showcased during the MassKara Art Weekend on Oct. 5 to 7.*APN