The Bacolod Sangguniang Panlungsod approved on third and final reading an ordinance declaring the MassKara Festival and MassKara dance as cultural property of Bacolod City during its regular session Wednesday, February 8.
It shall be known as the MassKara Cultural Property Rights Ordinance, Councilor Em Ang, who authored the ordinance, said.
With the passage of the ordinance the Bacolod City Tourism Office shall register the MassKara Festival and MassKara Dance with the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property (PRECUP) under the National Commission for Culture and Arts as a Local Important Cultural Property, she said.
“PRECUP is the repository of all information pertaining to cultural properties in the Philippines that are deemed significant to our cultural heritage”, Ang said.
Ang, in pushing for the passage of the ordinance, had said that the MassKara Festival is one the biggest festivals in the Philippines and has been giving domestic and international visitors the chance to experience the local culture, have fun, dance and party on the streets of Bacolod City since 1980 when it first started.
The annual MassKara Festival, which is similar to Brazil’s carnival, literally translates to “many faces,” and is celebrated every October in Bacolod City with people dancing on the streets wearing masks with smiling faces, she said.
The MassKara dancers from Bacolod have performed in many cities around the country and in different countries, including Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and USA.
They have also been featured in numerous international conferences of the International Mask Arts and Culture Organization, Ang said.
In June 2019 the MassKara Festival dancers also made history as the first-ever foreign performing group to have graced the Maduhee Festival in Ulsan City, South Korea, she added.
In May 2019 the MassKara Dance Team was declared Best Foreign Group during the Daegu Colorful Festival in Daegu City, South Korea, after besting 21 other groups in the foreign category, Ang also said.
She said in Aug. 2, 2019 the MassKara dancers became the first Filipino group to perform at the Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California, USA, and the first guest performers with masks who were allowed by the Disney Performing Arts.
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.*