THE month of October is designated as Tourism Month in Bacolod City, thus the staging of the annual MassKara festival was institutionalized in the highly-urbanized capital city.
However, with the community quarantine brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, this year's MassKara festival was put on hold.
Nevertheless, the spirit of this festival remains in the hearts of Bacolodnons, Negrenses, and tourists who usually come to Bacolod to enjoy the annual festival and the smiling residents of the city.
Noteworthy, however, was the endeavor of Negros Occidental Provincial Tourism Office staff Raymond Alunan, who wore a MassKara designed mask to welcome overseas contract workers, locally stranded individuals, and other important travelers going in and out of Bacolod City.
Jennylind Cordero, provincial tourism officer, said that Alunan uses the MassKara-designed mask every October.
"It so happened that we have Covid-19 where we need to use face masks, but before Covid, he uses a MassKara designed mask which is not a full-faced mask. But with Covid, he chose to use the full-face mask," she said.
Such artistic initiative, which she also supported, gave the new normal travelers a little lift considering the strict health protocol that is required of them by the provincial and local governments as provided in the health protocol implemented by the Covid-19 Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Cordero said.
Before, the smiling MassKara-designed mask drapes the sad face of Bacolodnons during the sugar crisis and the sinking of the ill-fated Don Juan vessels that killed many Bacolodnons and Negrenses. Now, the face mask is essential to one's survival as prevention to Covid-19, Cordero added.