BACOLOD CITY – The world-renowned Masskara Festival dancers of this city will perform in New York City for the first time during the 125th Philippine Independence Anniversary Commemoration Parade on June 4.
The performers will be comprised of 22 dancers from the multi-awarded Barangay Granada street and arena dance team, who will fly to the United States on May 29.
Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez, who will lead the contingent, said on Friday the presence of Masskara Festival dancers in the cultural event is an opportunity to promote Bacolod, which celebrates the colorful "festival of many faces" in October each year.
“When we promote Bacolod City, awareness about the city will increase. It will bring in tourism, it will bring in investments, and will redound to development and benefit for all of us,” he added.
“New York is a different market. It’s a different audience. Let’s show them what we have,” he added.
The event, which will feature cultural shows, dances and festivities showcasing the rich Filipino heritage on Madison Avenue, is being organized by the Philippine Independence Day Council Inc. together with the Philippine Consulate General in New York.
Bacolod City Councilor Jason Villarosa, who chairs the committee on tourism, said before the Philippine Independence Day parade, the Masskara dancers will also perform in various events in New York.
On June 1, they will have a performance at the State Capitol in New York’s capital city of Albany; June 2, ABC’s television program “Good Morning America”; and June 3, oath-taking of Bacolod-Negros Sugarlandia community at the Philippine Consulate General.
Councilor Em Legaspi Ang, who is also part of the delegation, said five Masskara dancers will perform at the 3rd Masskara Festival to coincide with the Philippine Independence Day celebration on June 11 in Long Beach, California.
The event, hosted by the Long Beach Bacolod Association, will feature the Bacolod Masskara dancers for the second time.
Long Beach is a sister city of Bacolod since 1994.
The Bacolod contingent will also include Granada village head Alfredo Talimodao, councilors Celia Flor and Simplicia Distrito, chief tourism operations officer Maria Teresa Manalili, and Local Economic and Investment Promotions Officer-designate Jonah Javier.
In Long Beach, only Villarosa, Ang, Manalili and Javier will join the Masskara dancers. (PNA)