Mayor Evelio Leonardia, paid tribute to the people of this city as the 40th MassKara Festival kicked off on Monday.
“If we’re proud of the MassKara, it is because it is our people who made MassKara what it is today,” the mayor said in his message before hundreds of spectators at the Bacolod Public Plaza.
Leonardia and Lone District Rep. Greg Gasataya led city officials in witnessing the event’s grand opening, which featured short performances by MassKara dancers, an Electric MassKara float, international solo mask performers from Cambodia and Indonesia, as well as light shows and fireworks.
“MassKara is a reflection of the Bacolodnons as a people. We can see that in whatever problems, whatever challenges, and difficult circumstances, we only not just survived but in fact, we also excelled,” the mayor said.
Leonardia, who was among the group of Bacolodnons that started the staging of MassKara four decades ago, shared that as the festival evolved through the years, it was “not always a smooth ride”.
“When this started, we did not have any idea where this would go. There were problems that almost caused the festival to vanish. With all the challenges it faced, today, the MassKara is something that has become so big, so attractive, very much an icon of Bacolod,” the mayor said.
Leonardia said he hopes such spirit will be there for all the people of Bacolod.
“So that whatever happens to our lives, whatever happens to our city, we will rise and we will even excel,” he added.
This year’s festival, which runs until October 27, will be graced by President Rodrigo R. Duterte as the guest of honor.
Leonardia said the President is expected to arrive anytime during the festivity. It will be the Chief Executive’s fourth attendance to the MassKara since he assumed office in 2016.
The Ruby MassKara celebration, themed “Bacolod, City of Smiles”, will have highlights starting on October 24 and 25, featuring the Electric MassKara parades.
The much-anticipated MassKara Street and Arena Dance competitions will be held on October 26 and 27. (PNA)