Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia yesterday said the MassKara Festival this year was unprecedented in many, many ways and that he is flattered that it is even being replicated by other foreign countries.
“And crowd-wise I believe that was a record if you accumulate all the people who somehow made their appearance in all the activities,” he said.
He himself wondered where they all came from. But he believes that many of them were not from Bacolod, which means that tourism is really working, he said.
“At least we have shown that our MassKara Festival is indeed world class. And we saw that, over the years, as we try to innovate since MassKara itself is an evolution of many things,” Leonardia said.
The Mayor recalled that when the countdown and the Lacson Tourism Strip became successful, they continued it. And the newest attraction, which is the fireworks competition, was a very big crowd drawer, so they should also institutionalize it in every MassKara Festival from now on to add more color and attraction, he said.
Councilor Em Ang said the Ansan Street Art Festival Committee and Tourism Office want a memorandum of agreement with Bacolod because they want to replicate the events that were staged during the MassKara after learning that the festival was borne out of a ship tragedy. This is because some of the students, who also figured in a sea mishap in Korea, were from Ansan City.
Many foreign groups come here to replicate and benchmark the MassKara Festival, she said.
Leonardia said imitation is the best form of flattery. He also thanked God for the good weather.
Festival director Eli Francis Tajanlangit said “I think the 2016 MassKara Festival will be remembered as the year when we started concretizing our presence in the world stage.”
The Associated Press Television, which supplies 500 television networks all over the world, also covered the schools and barangay category during the highlight of the MassKara Festival, he said, adding that it shows how intensive the coverage of this year's MassKara was.
Tajanlangit said “The presence of international mask festival representatives should show that we are now concretizing our presence on the world stage. We are now truly international and world-class.”
“Rising above any adversity and triumphing in the end,” was the inspiration that started the MassKara,” he said.
Leonardia recalled that during the opening, he said the MassKara reflects our sense of survival from tragedy, and our zest for life.
“We are resilient and we are survivors,” he said. Even the Bangladesh Ambassador said he noticed how happy Filipinos are and in his four years as ambassador to the Philippines, his best experience was the MassKara Festival.
Tajanlangit said there is no such thing as a hall of fame and that it was the barangay captains themselves who declared it. But they want a three-time winner to continue participating in the streetdance competition so they will be the standard with which the rest of the barangays will compare themselves and strive for excellence, he said.
“If you stop something that is excellent from joining, that is the recipe for mediocrity,” Tajanlangit said.
There is no rule that will stop a three-time winner from joining the competition. He believes that the continued participation of an excellent group like Barangay Granada, a three-time champion, will inspire the rest of the barangays, he said.
Meanwhile, Leonardia said he will write the Bacolod Sangguniang Panlungsod to request that the MassKara Festival should culminate on the third Sunday of October.
He will also ask Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya to file a bill declaring June 18 as the Charter Day, and declare it a holiday in Bacolod City. Correspondingly, there should be a bill passed that should repeal October 19 as the Charter Day of Bacolod, he said.*CGS
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