BACOLOD CITY – Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez bared on Friday that hotels and other accommodation establishments here are already fully booked for the highlights of the Masskara Festival as he estimated PHP5 billion in revenues during the three-week festivity.
“I learned that for the last week, it’s fully booked. The first and second week, 80 to 90 percent. I have asked the Department of Tourism and the head of the City Tourism Office to conduct a head count,” he said.
Benitez said the city’s goal is 200,000 visitors for the entire festival set from Oct. 1 to 23.
“We are expecting about PHP5 billion to enter the system because of the festival,” he added.
Benitez will lead city officials and residents during the countdown to the 43rd Masskara Festival at the Bacolod City Government Center grounds at midnight on Friday.
“Prepare for the best-ever Masskara. We have planned this for a couple of months. You can see the people’s reaction, it’s very positive. Even in Metro Manila and in Filipino communities in other countries, they are expressing interest and excitement for Masskara,” he said.
On Friday afternoon, an art installation dubbed “Soaring High: The Power of Imagination” was unveiled at the fountain area of the Bacolod City Government Center.
The masterpiece, comprised of six colorful flying figures, was conceptualized by Negrense contemporary visual artist Charlie Co, in collaboration with 11 other local artists.
“Soaring High” was inspired by Co’s work that was featured at the Dubai World Expo last year.
“I wanted to highlight the spirit of nationalism among us,” he said of the figures placing their right hand on the chest.
“Let us be proud of our culture, let us celebrate our local talents, and let us bring back the smiles in Bacolod,” Co added.
All the figures were sculptured by Neil Benavente while Co painted the central figure.
“Bacolod artists are ready to take on the global stage, and Charlie has done that. Similarly, this is a celebration of Masskara which has earned a name globally. After two years under the pandemic, we are ready to soar high, we are ready to smile again,” another local artist Bry Cervantes said.
The Masskara Festival 2022 is themed “Balik Yuhum”, which translates to smile again or bring back the smile, a reference to Bacolod’s tagline as the “City of Smiles”. (PNA)