“Every year that we celebrate the MassKara Festival is like a recharging process that invigorates our people, and that is why this is a necessity for our soul, to keep Bacolod moving forward and surging ahead,” Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia said last night.
Thousands gathered at the Bacolod City Government Center last night where they were entertained by fireworks and performances rendered by the winning participants in the Electric MassKara and the streetdance competitions, during the event called Salute to Bacolod.
Giant La Consolacion College-Arfien puppets were an added attraction around the fountain area last night.
Senior Supt. Ricardo de la Paz, Bacolod police director, estimated the crowd that overflowed from the Government Center to the Circumferential Road at 20,000.
Leonardia welcomed balikbayans to the Salute to Bacolod and honored them at dinner at the Government Center, saying he hopes to increase their number next year because it will be his last MassKara celebration as mayor of Bacolod, this being his last term.
Leonardia said he would like MassKara to be “better than the best” next year, “Something that our people will long remember.”
He recalled that when he promoted MassKara during his visits to America this year, he told the balikbayans that MassKara is not just a show of color and pageantry, eating and drinking but, in essence, it is a reunion of Bacolodnons.
Inasmuch as home is where the heart is, this is still their home, he said. But this reunion is not complete without the balikbayans, he said, adding that this is going to be the theme of the Salute to Bacolod next year.
SHARE THE MASSKARA
Leonardia said “I appeal to the public that, with all the technology available, let us bring our balikbayans back here as we want to share the MassKara with the rest of the world.”
This is the time of the year when people from all walks of life, from every status in society, gather without distinction, he said.
“So let us ride on the momentum and popularity of MassKara. Let us follow it like a star,” he added.
Festival director Eli Francis Tajanlangit said “This is a display of the creativity and artistry of our people.”
From day one up to the last day of the festivities, it showcased the creativity of Bacolodnons and this makes MassKara Festival different, he said. “The MassKara is a celebration of our collective declaration of hope as a people,” he added.
Leonardia said they saw during the previous days the energy and the intensity of the people.
“And now we can even say, literally and figuratively, that MassKara was explosive as it displayed the spirit of Bacolod,” he said.
Leonardia said they saw that people came and gathered for the festival because they love our city. “It is a culmination of the many days of preparation so that now, we can salute our beloved city,” he said.
“This is indeed an event that will gather us as a people, raise our spirits, and propel us to greater heights,” he said.
Councilor Caesar Distrito said this is a fitting tribute to the city and people of Bacolod. After all the hardships and crisis, still Bacolod showed that she can withstand whatever trouble, he said. The 2011 MassKara Festival was 101 percent successful, he added.
Councilor Em Legaspi-Ang said the Salute to Bacolod was very successful and is another first for the festival. It is very fitting to celebrate because there are many Bacolodnons who are based abroad who really come home for the festival, she said
Ang said the MassKara this year is much better than last year in that there was zero untoward incident. So far this is one of the best attended MassKara celebrations, she also said.*CGS