“WE WILL promote Bacolod and it will bring tourism and investment to the city.”

This was stressed by Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez Friday, May 26, 2023, after the 22 MassKara Festival dancers from Barangay Granada will compete in Madison Square Garden, New York City next month.

“When we go there, it’s not all about traveling there to show our culture but we also bring the future development of the city,” Benitez said.

He said it’s the first time the MassKara dancers will perform in the United States of America (USA).

“So let’s show them what we have,” he added.

The mayor noted that he requested cash assistance from Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) and Solaire Resort and Casino for the travel expenses of the MassKara dancers.

The MassKara dancers will travel to the USA on Monday, May 29, along with the mayor, some city councilors, and Barangay Granada Chieftain Alfredo Talimodao.

Councilor Jason Villarosa, chairperson of the City Council committee on tourism, said the MassKara dancers will arrive in New York on May 30.

He said the performances of the MassKara dancers will start on June 1 followed by a television interview. On June 3, they will perform again for the Sugarlandia oath-taking activity at the Philippine Embassy.

He added the main event will be on June 4, the Philippine Independence Day celebration in Madison Square Garden where the MassKara dancers will compete with several participants including some performers from the Philippines.

Villarosa noted that the MassKara Festival dancers will be backed up by the MassKara New York edition dancers.

On June 8, five of the MassKara dancers will also perform in Long Beach, California.

Councilor Em Ang said it’s the third MassKara Festival in Long Beach, California which is being organized by the Long Beach Bacolod Association and this will be the second time that the MassKara dancers will perform in the celebration.

She said in 2019, the Bacolod MassKara dancers also performed in Long Beach, a sister of Bacolod City.

She added that the MassKara dancers will stay in Long Beach until June 14.

Ang noted that the MassKara dancers will also bring their brand-new costumes, and they will perform with the same MassKara Festival music.

Talimodao also expressed his gratitude to Benitez and was thankful for the cooperation of the 22 MassKara Festival dancers.

“It’s an honor to perform in the USA and it’s an opportunity for the dancers to travel abroad to showcase the city’s culture,” Talimodao said.

Barangay Granada was adjudged champion in the street and arena dance competition in October 2022.

Barangay Granada, which is already in the Hall of Fame, also bagged the awards for Most Disciplined and Best in Music.

They also won in the 2014, 2015, and 2016 MassKara street and arena dance competitions.