(Image from Masskara Festival Facebook page) 

BACOLOD CITY – Six sites will be set up for the various events of this city’s world-renowned Masskara Festival, which returns after two years on Oct. 1 to 23.

As of Wednesday, identified as the main festival sites are Lacson Street, Bacolod Public Plaza, and the Bacolod City Government Center while extension sites include the Baywalk at the Reclamation Area, Upper East, and Pana-ad Park and Stadium.

Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez had earlier said the city aims to bring in some 200,000 visitors during the three-week festival, which is divided also into three parts.

“This will allow visitors to choose the events and activities they want to attend,” he added.

According to organizers from the Bacolod Yuhum Foundation led by festival director Pinky Mirano-Ocampo, the first week will feature the Masskara Sports Olympics from Oct. 1 to 8; second week, the Masskara Trade Fair, from Oct. 10 to 16; and the third week, the Masskara cultural activities, which are mainly the festival highlights until Oct. 23 such as the street and arena dance competition and the Electric Masskara float parade.

In his message during the sponsors’ gala event last Aug. 21, Benitez urged the organizers and the Bacolodnons to give their best to make the festival successful.

“We want to bring back what we have lost during the pandemic. It is very important that we should give our best effort in making this a very successful event,” he said.

The festival’s 43rd edition is themed “Balik Yuhum”, which means to smile again or bring back the smile, referencing Bacolod’s tagline as the “City of Smiles”.

Organizers said the theme “Balik Yuhum” reminds and inspires the Bacolodnons that despite the complexities of life especially during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, everyone “should work and unite together in bringing back those beautiful, radiant and iconic smiles that made Masskara Festival unique in so many ways”. (PNA)