WHENEVER October comes, Bacolodnons get into their groove for their most-celebrated festival – MassKara. Streets are lined with food stalls and decorated with colorful buntings. Malls are jam-packed with celebrity shows. Tourists come and indulge in sweets. Locals enjoy the activities that make the festival a world-renowned event.
Panay News talked to some millennials in Bacolod City to know how they celebrate MassKara. Rica Presbitero, a content creator, Krisna Barbon, a media company employee, and Angel Hilario, a medical student, shared their know-hows in having a worthwhile MassKara experience.
Raised in Bacolod, Presbitero and Hilario surely know how to celebrate MassKara. Witnessing how the festival evolved, they said it is important to know the history of the event before you can fully celebrate it.
Now grownups, Presbitero and Hilario shared they like to attend MassKara’s night festivities, like the Electric MassKara and the dance parties. They also love hanging out with friends on Lacson Street and “just feel the vibe.”
Barbon, who works as a television segment producer, admitted she celebrates MassKara while working.
“That’s what it is when you’re in the media,” she said. “But I always have fun covering the events.”
For her, it is her duty to broadcast to the world how fun MassKara is. The more people know about the festival, the more she enjoys her job and the more she feels proud that she is part of the event.
The three also reiterated that MassKara is best celebrated with friends and family.
“I am always with friends. MassKara is never complete without your friends,” Presbitero said.
As for Barbon, she has friends from other parts of the region who go to Bacolod to experience the festival. “I always make time to meet with them, make them feel the Negrense hospitality.”
BEST THINGS TO DO?
Presbitero said the best thing to do during MassKara is to “be out on the streets and celebrate with everyone.”
She also suggests watching the street dance competition. “In the afternoon, you can watch the street dance competition and be amazed by the stunning and colorful costumes and performances.”
To be in “full MassKara vibe,” Presbitero said you can buy souvenir items like masks and T-shirts. This way you also support local entrepreneurs.
Hilario, on the other hand, believes Bacolod is a gastronomic capital. Eating, for her, is one of the best things to do during MassKara.
“Food trip is definitely on my list. During Masskara, Lacson Street gets filled with food stalls,” she said.
In addition, one should not miss watching the Electric MassKara, Barbon said. “It’s a total package. There’s history, talent, creativity, entertainment, and of course culture in every performance.”
PEOPLE MAKE THE FESTIVAL
Presbitero, Hilario and Barbon all believe that the best thing about the MassKara Festival is the people.
“The festival is as grand and joyful as the people celebrating it,” Presbitero said.
Barbon, for her part, reiterated how MassKara came to be – how it was conceptualized to cover the struggles brought about by the sugar crisis and the MV Don Juan tragedy.
“These are two tough events that the Bacolodnons were able to survive. They managed to stand up again,” she said.
“Through the colorful celebration of MassKara, people are reminded to stay happy despite our downfalls and to always fight back with smiles on our faces,” Barbon added. “Knowing how the MassKara started makes you appreciate the festival more.”
Indeed, MassKara continues to be a reminder of the resiliency of Bacolodnons – that no matter how big a tragedy may be, they will always rise up and fight the battle with a smile./PN