• CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
An ordinance declaring the MassKara Festival and MassKara Dance as cultural property of Bacolod City, was approved by the Bacolod Sangguniang Panlungsod on third and final reading Wednesday.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Em Legaspi-Ang, said the MassKara Festival is one of the biggest festivals in the Philippines and has been giving domestic and international visitors the chance to experience the local culture, have fun, dance, and party on the streets of Bacolod City since 1980 when it first started.
The annual MassKara Festival, which is similar to Brazil’s Carnival, literally translates to “many faces,” and is celebrated every October in Bacolod City with people dancing on the streets, wearing masks with smiling faces, it said.
The ordinance said the MassKara dancers from Bacolod have performed in many cities around the country and in many different countries including Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and USA. They have also been featured in numerous international conferences of the International Mask Arts and Cultural Organization (IMACO).
In June 2019, the MassKara Festival dancers also made history as the first-ever foreign performing group to have graced the Maduhee Festival in Ulsan City, South Korea, it said.
In May 2019, the MassKara Dance Team was declared Best Foreign Group during the Daegu Colorful Festival in Daegu City, South Korea, after besting 22 other groups in the foreign category, the ordinance said.
On August 2, 2019, the MassKara dancers became the first Filipino group to perform at the Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California, USA, and the first guest performers with masks that were allowed by the Disney Performing Arts, it said.
The MassKara dancers were also the first group to have performed at the San Francisco Filipino Cultural Center in San Francisco, California, USA, after its re-opening in 2019, it added.
The ordinance said the group were featured in the Gala Night of the “MassKara Festival in Long Beach” at the Marriott Hotel, and at the Trade, Travel and Consumer Expo, hosted by the Asian Journal Publication in South Bay Pavilion of Carson City.
The ordinance to be known as the MassKara Cultural Property Rights Ordinance, said the MassKara Festival has been running annually for the last 43 years and it is just timely to declare the same as an important cultural property of Bacolod City.
The Bacolod City Tourism Office will register MassKara Festival and MassKara Dance with the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property, under the National Commission for Culture and Arts as a local important cultural property, it added.*