PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte lauded Bacolod City anew in its celebration of the 37th MassKara Festival as he expressed that Bacolodnons will find a new meaning in the distinctive celebration.
“I hope that, as you gather for this year’s festivities, you find a new meaning in this distinctively Bacolodnon celebration,” the President said in his message sent to Sun.Star Bacolod.
He added: “The MassKara Festival is a symbol of Filipino resilience and optimism amidst great challenges. Despite the economic downturn and calamities that came your way, you never lost hope and continued to move forward towards progress and prosperity.”
Duterte, who led the festival’s opening rites at the Bacolod public plaza on October 2, also said he “congratulates the people of Bacolod City for your constant endeavor to hold this event that invigorates the oneness of the people, fosters the Bayanihan spirit, and enriches the culture of our nation.”
“Tough circumstances are opportunities to rise to greater heights as long as we can muster our courage, gain wisdom from our experiences, and of course, never forget to smile,” the President told the people of Bacolod, also known as the “City of Smiles.”
This year is the longest celebration of MassKara Festival so far, set from October 1 to 23.
The highlights this weekend will feature the much-awaited street and arena dance competitions in both school and barangay categories.
On Saturday afternoon, seven elementary and four secondary schools are joining the showdown to be held in partnership between the Silver MassKara Festival Organization and the Department of Education Division of Bacolod City.
Participants in the elementary level are Andres Bonifacio Elementary School-II, Rafael Alunan Elementary School, Bata Elementary School I, Handumanan Elementary School II, ETCS III (District VI), J.R. Torres Elementary School, and Francisco R. Flores Elementary School.
Contestants in the high school category are Domingo Lacson National High School, Luisa Medel National High School, Fr. Gratian Murray, AFCS Integrated School, and Sum-ag National High School.
There will be separate winners for the elementary and secondary categories.
The street competition will start along Lizares-Araneta Sts. at 3 p.m., while the arena competition at the plaza will start at 4 p.m.
On Sunday, 17 barangays will compete in the street and arena dance showdown.
Participants are Barangays 5, 6,7, 8, 26, 29, 33, 39, Alangilan, Alijis, Banago, Bata, Felisa, Granada, Pahanocoy, Punta Taytay, and Tangub.
The street competition will start along Lizares-AranetaSts. at 3 p.m., while the arena competition at the plaza will start at 4 p.m.
Meanwhile, the 10th edition of the Electric MassKara started Thursday night and will run until Sunday.
Conceptualized by Mayor Evelio Leonardia in 2007, when he was also mayor, the Electric MassKara turns the Tourism Strip – the whole 17 blocks of Lacson Street from 5th St. to 22nd St. – into one big street party, with concert stages in five clusters.
Nine performing floats (Barangays 3, 7, 8, 22, 23, 28, 37, 41, and Singcang Airport) paraded in the whole Tourism Strip on Friday night. Each float carries MassKara dancers with lighted masks and costumes.
This is the night version of the popular streetdance competition.
The five finalists will come back on Saturday night for the Champions Showdown.
The fourth and last night will still feature street parties and concerts.(NLG)