I’ve been to a lot of festivals around the country. In January, there’s the Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo, the Ati-Atihan Festival in Kalibo and the Sinulog Festival in Cebu.
Come February, there’s the Kalilangan Festival in General Santos and then the Moriones Festival in Marinduque during Holy Week.
Of course there’s the Pahiyas Festival in Lucban and the Pintados Festival in Tacloban among others.
Yes, I’ve been to a lot of festivals around the country. And I can honestly say that it’s in Bacolod, where I see the sweetest smiles.
If you’re wondering why I say so, then perhaps you should know how the Masskara Festival came to be.
More than a celebration of the city’s foundation day; more than a celebration to honor the Sto. Nino; it is as I’ve discovered, a celebration of optimism and the triumph of the human spirit against insurmountable odds.
It was 1980 and Bacolod was down on its knees. The sugar industry which the province heavily relies on for income is down. Add to that the sinking of inter-island vessel Don Juan which claimed around 700 lives, most of whom are Negrenses and belonging to prominent families in Bacolod City.
Who would have the strength to even smile amidst these tragic events? But from the most challenging of times, Bacolod proved to the world that they are indeed, the City of Smiles.
Masskara Festival, is a celebration and a declaration, that as long as you have hope and optimism, everything will be okay in the end.
Today, with rising commodity prices and even an impending global financial meltdown, what we all need is a little bit of Bacolod and their optimism.
And that is why I want to experience and join Masskara Festival 2011 – to celebrate the triumph of the spirit through optimism and determination that Bacolodnons are known for.
So that I too, can have smiles that are a little bit sweeter, and have hope, that will carry me through the tough times in my life.
Experience MassKara Festival, Hermosa Festival and Lanzones Festival this October. Airphil Express flies daily to BACOLOD, ZAMBOANGA and CAGAYAN DE ORO from Cebu and Manila. Visit www.airphilexpress.com to book!