BACOLOD CITY – Barangay Granada took home PHP1 million in cash prize after defending its title in the 44th MassKara Festival Street Dance and Arena Competition Sunday night to clinch its fifth champion’s trophy in 10 years.
Besting nine other contingents during the showdown at Paglaum Sports Complex, its winning streak continued after bagging the championship during the festival’s return in 2022 after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Village chief Alfredo Talimodao Jr. said their victory has cemented the status of Barangay Granada as the “home of the champions” and dedicated the “honor and pride” to the people of the barangay.
“I bring back all the honor, praises and glory to God for granting our prayers as we conquered our fifth MassKara title,” he said in a statement on Monday.
The crowd favorite danced their way to another title with an elaborate seven-minute production of performers garbed in colorful costumes, masks and headdresses, backed up by some 200 propsmen to showcase dances and scenes depicting the theme of “Super City Bacolod”.
Aside from being the grand winner, Barangay Granada also bagged three of the four special awards, including Best in Headdress, Mask and Costume, Best in Theme, and Best in Music, which has a cash prize of PHP25,000 each, as well as corporate awards from FoodPanda and Pocari Sweat, which came with PHP75,000 worth of food vouchers and PHP50,000 in products, respectively.
Choreographers Joedem Casabuena and Mark Philip Lamirez once again helmed Barangay Granada’s winning performance together with costume and mask designers Joenel Buenaventura, Christopher John Puerta and Romnick Rafael.
“I’m so happy. The dancers and propsmen delivered what we practiced during the rehearsals. We worked hard, stayed up late, and we even scolded them. This is the result of all that,” Lamirez said in an interview after they were declared the grand winner.
Casabuena and Lamirez were also instrumental in the village’s successive victories in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
After Barangay Granada took a respite in 2017, the duo also steered Barangay 18 and Barangay Estefania to the titles in 2017 and 2019, respectively.
This year, Barangay Tangub, the sixth placer in 2022 and the champion in 2018, was adjudged first runner-up, taking home PHP500,000, under trainors Ramil Huyatid and Alfredo Joseph Muyco, and costume designer Brent Naranja.
The first runner-up in 2022, Barangay Sum-ag, mentored by veteran dancer-trainor Segundo Jesus Cabalcar Jr., settled for second runner-up, with a cash prize of PHP300,000, as well as a special award for Best Introduction Video with a PHP25,000 cash award.
Notably, Cabalcar also choreographed and trained Barangay Tangub when it won the title in 2018.
Meanwhile, the rest of the contingents, including Barangays 21, 34, 40, Cabug, Mansilingan, Vista Alegre and Handumanan, received consolation prizes of PHP100,000 each.
Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez said he takes pride in showcasing the MassKara Festival street dance and arena competition not only in the Philippines, but also to the rest of the world.
Distinguished guests who attended the culminating event were led by Senator Ronald de la Rosa, Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose and Department of Tourism-Western Visayas Regional Director Crisanta Marlene Rodriguez. (PNA)