Reasons for smiling
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
This will be the 33rd time that Bacolod City is celebrating its now world-famous MassKara Festival. This celebration is unique in that even its name was coined to fit the occasion. The first MassKara Festival had only hoped to gather a mass of faces, representing those of the people of Bacolod City and the Province of Negros Occidental, who were then trying to understand why they had to undergo such hardships and tragedies that had characterized the early 1980s.
Those who conceived it and worked to launch it had not reckoned with the response their brainchild would elicit. Not even they had imagined the need of their kasimanwas, or province and city mates, to have something to divert them, to give them something to smile about.
They did not also imagine that the tradition they started would continue, and has now gone through more than three decades of testing and trying, and surmounting birthing pains and obstacles that would impede its progress.
If there is anything that the MassKara symbolizes, therefore, it is the determination and belief in themselves of the Bacoleños, and the resiliency that is native in them, to hang on, and pursue what they have started, finding ways and means along the way to further perpetuate their plans.
And today, MassKara is no longer just a palliative for sorrows, or a time for cavorting and having fun. It has become an avenue for local artists to show their craft, for talented Bacoleños to offer their help, and even for students to display the promise of their capabilities.
And in addition to that, it is also a big boost to the economy of the city, as post-MassKara statistics have always shown. All aspects of the local economy are benefitting from the MassKara and that is why everybody now looks forward to it, and the friendships, contacts, and all the potentials that it brings.
People in Bacolod no longer have to depend on masks to smile for them – their smiles, and what they mean, are real and sincere. It is now truly the “City of Smiles” and its people have reasons for smiling.*