‘Masskara Fes­ti­val is our trea­sure’

Sun Star Bacolod - - Front Page -

“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.

MERLINDA PEDROSA

BA­COLOD City Mayor Eve­lio Leonar­dia leads the toast dur­ing the open­ing of the 39th Masskara Fes­ti­val last night at the pub­lic plaza.

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