Bacolod City is eyeing more global exposure to promote the annual festivity every October, following the successful stint of the MassKara Festival dancers in the 2024 Cathay International Chinese New Year Night Parade in Hong Kong over the weekend.
Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez said in a press conference on Monday the MassKara dancers, who comprise the street dance champions from Barangay Granada, were the only group from Southeast Asia invited by the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) to participate in the event.
“MassKara Festival is one of those making a mark in the international community,” he added.
Benitez said Maria Teresa Manalili, city chief tourism operations officer who joined the Bacolod delegation in Hong Kong, told him that HKTB general manager for event and product development Raymond Chan said “Bacolod does not only represent the Philippines, but the whole Southeast Asia.”
“The HKTB invited world-class performers per continent, and for Southeast Asia, they have only chosen and invited our Bacolod MassKara dancers,” the mayor quoted Manalili as saying.
Later this month, the MassKara dancers of Barangay Sum-ag will also perform at the 2024 Lantern Festival in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan.
“Next will be Taiwan. We are also now looking at several invitations from different parts of the world. We have one from Europe and standing invitations from Long Beach, California, and New York. We will try to see how we can fit all these schedules,” Benitez said.
In June last year, the MassKara Festival dancers from Barangay Granada performed for the first time in New York during the 125th Philippine Independence Anniversary Commemoration Parade on Madison Avenue, while the dancers from Barangay Sum-ag participated in the 2023 Busan International Dance Festival in Busan Metropolitan City, South Korea.
The City Council will soon grant Benitez the authority to sign an agreement with the foundation to run the 2024 MassKara Festival.
“We have to prepare early. We want it to be better this year. We received interest from TV5 to cover our MassKara events,” Benitez said. (PNA)