‘Masskara Festival is our treasure’
“Masskara Festival is our treasure.”
THIS was the message of Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia, who led the opening rites of the 39th Masskara Festival and the city’s 80th anniversary celebration at the public plaza Monday night.
Leonardia was joined by Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, Councilors Em Ang, Cindy Rojas, Bartolome Orola, Ayesha Villaflor and Lady Gles Gonzales, barangay officials, department heads and some beauty queens during the slicing of the 80th anniversary cake and the wine toasting.
Congressman Greg Gasayata’s son, RD, represented him.
“Year-in and year-out, we are waiting for this time to celebrate the Masskara Festival because this occasion has become a uniting factor that provides a family reunion,” Leonardia said.
This year’s festival theme is “Happy Birthday, Bacolod.”
Before thousands of Bacolodnons and city officials, after his speech, Leonardia said: “By virtue of the power vested upon me as the City Mayor of Bacolod, I hereby declare the Masskara Festival of 2018 open.”
Leonardia said on Sunday, the Masskara Festival dancers, representing the Philippines, bagged the bronze medal at the World Mask Dance Competition 2018 in South Korea.
“We are so proud of the Masskara Festival and this the creation of the people of Bacolod,” he said.
The international competition, participated by mask-based festival from 13 countries, was one of the highlights of the Andong Mask Dance Festival in Andong City, South Korea.
“When Masskara came out, it was meant by a loud applause. When they were on stage, I realized I was coming emotional... we were so proud of the Masskara Festival and this is a creation of the people of Bacolod. We realized that we are so attached to the Masskara Festival and we realized that we considered it as our own product, this is our baby,” he said.
He added if Masskara is this big, popular and has gone long, long way, the credit belongs to no other than the people of Bacolod.
Leonardia pointed out that Masskara Festival will be a very effective vehicle for tourism campaign because his administration subscribed to the belief in the projection that tourism is going to become a biggest industry in the world.
“So we really should try to see to it that we nurture this festival to something like a treasure because this is really our treasure,” Leonardia said.
The mayor also said that President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to arrive in Bacolod for the third consecutive time during the highlights of the festival.
“That also means that President Duterte has a high respect for Bacolod. For the third consecutive time, we will have the presence of the President,” Leonardia said.
For his part, Familiaran said: “Let us enjoy the most colorful, the happiest festival in the Philippines.”
Ang, Masskara Festival action officer, said there are also guests coming from other countries like Korea, specifically the Imaco officials with their k-pop group and Mask Dance group.
“We have prepared a lot of activities and events leading to the highlights of the festival on October 27 and 28 with more visitors because we are also celebrating our 80th Charter Anniversary,” she said.
BACOLOD City Mayor Evelio Leonardia leads the toast during the opening of the 39th Masskara Festival last night at the public plaza.