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BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – City, provincial government officials, and spectators usher in the 44th edition of the Masskara festival with a grand countdown salubong at the Bacolod City Government Center grounds on Friday, October 6.
Rodney Ascalon, director of the salubong event, said that the stage will be set for pre-show entertainment by 5 pm.
They have also prepared games for those participating in the countdown with prizes courtesy of their platinum sponsors.
The 15 candidates for the Miss Bacolod MassKara will also perform along with some contestants for this year’s search for Electric Diva. The main show will feature display snippets of what the people expect in this year’s MassKara Festival, Ascalon added.
The festivities will take place from October 7 to 22.
Jojie Dingcong, the festival chairperson, said, “It’s all systems go with all preparations in place to make this year’s festival even more exciting, bigger, bolder, and brighter.”
“We are bringing in the popular pop-rock band, The Juans, as our main attraction for the opening salvo. There will also be other performances by local bands and three of the top winners in last year’s Arena Dance Competition,” Dingcong said.
Meanwhile, Bacolod Yuhum Foundation President Katherine Matiling said they had a final interagency meeting last week to ensure that all preparations, mainly for security, are in place as the festival begins.
At midnight, a fireworks display will cap the Salubong, followed by DJ Bien for the after-party celebration, Matiling said.
The tradition of the Masskara Festival in Bacolod dates back to 1980, during a time when Negros Occidental province was struggling with economic challenges under the administration of then dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos.
Ely Santiago, coined the term “Masskara,” combining “mass” (a large group of people) and the Spanish word “cara” (face).
The Masskara Festival was conceived as a celebration of hope, optimism, and resilience in the face of challenging events, while also promoting tourism.
Yuhom Foundation Incorporated public relations chief Mate Espina said the Bacolod City Public Plaza will be decked with festival lights this year as sectoral organizations parade with torches and trikes on the opening night of the “MassKarapatdapat sa Plaza” on Saturday night, October 7.
Espina said that city officials, including first lady Nikki Benitez, are expected to grace the opening of one of the seven major festival sites for this year’s MassKara Festival.
Christopher Mallo, the festival site coordinator, said they have lined up several nightly activities for 16 days, starting with the “Bida ng Bacolod,” a talent competition to search for the best performer or performers in the City of Smiles set on October 8.
Contestants will showcase their skills in singing, dancing, impersonation, juggling, lip-synching, stand-up comics, and magic tricks, with the Grand Finals slated on October 15.
A Zumda dance fest called RetroDance MassKara will also occur, with spectators expected to arrive in groups dressed in their best retro-inspired costumes.
A MassKara Dog Fashion Show and the MassKahariang Sektor, an advocacy-based pageantry in search of the king and queen among sectoral groups, are some anticipated activities scheduled on October 14.
LGBTQ event showcasing their talents in drag impersonation dubbed “Drags and Divas” is set on October 17.
The famous Mardi Gras Samba Dance Competition will be the highlight on October 18, where groups of four to five performers will compete against each other, and individuals dressed in colorful festival attires will go around the plaza dancing to the samba beat.
On October 22, the festival will conclude with a big bang with invited Kapuso stars Pokwang, Kuya Kim, and Jayson Gainza. – Rappler.com