By: Dolly Yasa
BACOLOD City – Former Bacolod City Councilor Em Ang today, November 7, 2019 said the International Mask Arts Culture Organization (IMACO) introduced the MassKara festival to the world.
Ang made the declaration in a press conference at the Bacolod Government Center lobby with Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia, IMACO president Young Sae Kweon who is also the mayor of Andong in South Korea, and IMACO Secretary-General Hongsik Jeong.
The IMACO biennial international conference hosted by the city government of Bacolod ends today, Nov 8, 2019. It is attended by more than 200 delegates from various member-countries.
Ang recalled that it was more than three years ago when she was still a councilor in the city that, upon the advice of Leonardia, she authored an ordinance strengthening the sister-city relations with Andong City.
She said that in 2016, Bacolod City’s MassKara festival participated in the Andong Mask Festival.
“That is how we started,” Ang recalled.
She added that since then, talks between the city and IMACO progressed with the city attending the IMACO International Conference in Laos, Vietnam.
“The importance is to preserve the MassKara festival as part of our culture and heritage and eventually through IMACO the MassKara festival became known worldwide,” she added.
IMACO has 24 member-countries that hold mask-based festivals.
She added that MassKara festival has also become the most sought after festival recently performing in Disneyland, the very first Filipino group to perform there.
She said IMACO “has given us the inspiration and example which we have replicated.”
Leonardia said that he is grateful to IMACO for having invited the city to become a member of the said organization.
“Our participation and exposure in the IMACO activities gave us a sense of being part of a global community, now we are aware that we are not alone,” he said.