MassKara festival, dance declared ‘cultural property’ of Bacolod
BACOLOD CITY—The popular MassKara Festival will forever be a property of this city.
The city council on Wednesday approved on the third and final reading an ordinance, declaring the festival and dance as a “cultural property” in a bid to preserve and protect the rights of Bacolod to the festival.
In its regular session, Councilor Em Legaspi-Ang, author of the MassKara Cultural Property Rights Ordinance, said the Bacolod City Tourism Office should register the MassKara festival and dance at the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property (Precup) which is under the National Commission for Culture and Arts.
“Precup is the repository of all information pertaining to cultural properties in the Philippines that are deemed significant to our cultural heritage,” Ang said.
According to Precup, establishing a registry “plays a crucial role in identifying and providing information on all available cultural resources in the country which can be used by the public, land use planners, property owners, developers, the tourism industry and educators.”
The Local Government Code, she said, mandates that local governments “ensure and support the preservation and enrichment of culture, and preserve the comfort and convenience of their inhabitants.”
MassKara, a signature festival of the city, is held annually with highlights held every fourth Sunday of October.
The word “MassKara” was coined by the late artist Ely Santiago from “mass” (a multitude of people), and the Spanish word “cara” (face), to mean a “multitude of faces.”
It is also a pun on “maskara,” Filipino for “mask,” since it is a prominent feature of the festival and is always adorned with smiling faces, earning Bacolod the tag “City of Smiles.”
According to Ang, MassKara is one the biggest festivals in the country and has been giving domestic and foreign visitors the chance to experience local culture, have fun, dance and party on the streets of Bacolod City since 1980.
The MassKara dancers from Bacolod have performed in many cities around the country and abroad, including Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and the United States. They have also been featured in numerous international conferences of the International Mask Arts and Culture Organization, Ang said.
“The MassKara Festival has been running annually for 43 years and it is timely to declare it as an important cultural property of Bacolod City,” she said.