The MassKara Festival will be held from the 8th of October until the 27th of October in Bacolod City, Philippines.
The MassKara Festival started at a period of disaster and despair in Negros Occidental. World market costs for sugar, the region’s monocrop, plummeted. And its effect was felt, by everyone.
A year before the MassKara Festival was born, two artists visited then Mayor Jose “Digoy” Montalvo and submitted the idea of promoting mask making as a substitute income for the metropolis.
The two, George Macainan and Ely Santiago, proposed to help teach barangay folk how to create masks out of paper mâché. Montalvo loved the idea of mask-making for income. But how would the masks made by the barangays be sold? Who would purchase them? The mayor had an answer: Let’s have a mask festival!
Santiago sketched the initial MassKara logo, and thought of the title of the festival: MassKara; “mass” meaning several; “kara” meaning faces. Literally, it is a Festival of Many Faces.
Then M/V Don Juan—an inter-island boat transporting several Bacolenos and Negrense, plus important families—sank in April 22 of the same year, tallying to the despair. In its wake, the question rose: With the disaster and misfortune, should the festival continue as planned?
Montalvo had answered: “Exactly because of the disaster and catastrophe, the more we require a festival that would bring back the smile on people’s faces and make them dance.
Hence the MassKara’s fundamental meaning is that it is a statement of the people’s determination to get over hardship and win over disaster, misfortune, and adversity. It also trailed the placing of Bacolod as “The City of Smiles”.
Main activities like the beauty pageant MassKara Queen, Electric MassKara—Bacolod’s largest road party, MassKara Red Party—a festivity for the Bacoleño youth, Choreographers’ Face-off—a road confrontation of the metropolis’s leading choreographers, singing and dance competition, and fireworks contests, amongst others, are being planned every year.
And the MassKara Street and Arena Dance Competition, where partakers from schools and barangays in the metropolis wear vibrant masks and outfits and dance to the contagious tempo of the natively-created music, calls attention to the festival.
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Fashioned by artist Mark Lester Jarmin, this year’s logo includes features from the initial festival logo drawn by Ely Santiago. The 2019 theme is “Bacolod, City of Smiles.”
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