The president of the International Mask Arts and Culture Organization yesterday stressed the importance of the preservation and the need of utilization of mask arts and culture to help people understand the history and worldview of individuals and communities.
IMACO president and Andong City Mayor Young-sae Kweon said he personally could see the power of mask and culture in rebuilding the community or society. So this will be their important agenda in the general assembly in Andong in 2021.
In fact, the mask culture around the world is losing its previous glorious status and vitality due to changes in perception of tradition, institutional limitations, among others, he said.
Young-sae Kweon said he believes he has witnessed the future of the mask through the general assembly in Bacolod City and he is grateful for the hospitality shown them during the conference.
He said that to the IMACO, the MassKara Festival is very important and the city has very good insight into the development of IMACO. The strong relationship between his country and Bacolod City has been made possible through the support of the citizens of the local government.
Young-sea Kweon said he believes that Bacolod City has set a good example or model of IMACO development
Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia yesterday said that without IMACO, they would not have been even aware that there is the existence of such a culture and the mask has brought them all together.
“We thank IMACO for bringing altogether 63 countries to make us realize that we are all part of a world culture that is unique, that is distinctive, and that we are all contributors to this culture and that is why there is much to thank IMACO for all of these,” he said.
On the part of Bacolod, the MF is a story of an evolution. It has been an icon and a source of economic income, in fact and it is already a part of the culture of Bacolod. This has also become an identity for Bacolodnons, Leonardia said.
“When you talk about the mask, for me, it is that significant and important aside from its relevance to world culture. Personally, I feel that the mask, because of the MassKara Festival of which I was part when it started, is what has made me a politician. This is what I feel as a major factor why l became a mayor. So you can say that l am a mayor MassKara-made in that extent,” he said.
Leonardia said that one more proof that the MassKara is in his heart and soul is that he named his only daughter Kara because of the MassKara. “So MassKara-wise l am part of you all the way,” he said.
He said they are hosting the IMACO international convention at a time when the Philippines and Korea are celebrating their 70th year of friendship and diplomatic relation. So this is part of the celebration of that Korea and Philippine relationship.
IMACO secretary-general Hong Sik Jeong said he is thankful for the cooperation of the local government of Bacolod and the City Council and its citizens that has contributed to the success of the conference.
Sik Jeong said that for the last 13 years IMACO has been evolving very fast and has now more than 200 organization in 63 countries. Without the support of the City Council of Andong, IMACO would not have been in existence.
Former councilor Em Ang, who had authored an ordinance renewing and strengthening Bacolod’s relation with Andong City, said that when they renewed their sister-city ties with Andong in 2016, they participated in the Andong Mask Festival and brought the MassKara Festival there. And that is how they started talking about more active participation by the City of Bacolod in IMACO activities.
“We owe it all to IMACO for giving us the inspiration, for giving us the example and also because we have replicated many of the good practices that IMACO and Andong have been implementing in their festivals as well as learning from other member-countries of IMACO,” she said.
Ang said it is time that we bring our famous MassKara festival to the world stage. It is undoubtedly right now one of the biggest festivals in the Philippines. Because of the MF, Bacolod is now in the world map and it is becoming a sought-after festival. We have increased tourist arrivals because of the experience that our MF gave to those who come who visit in the month of October.*
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