By Nanette Guadalquiver

INTERNATIONAL APPEARANCES. The MassKara Festival dancers of Barangay Granada, the reigning street dance and arena competition, during their performance at the Paglaum Sports Complex in Bacolod City in October this year. On Monday (Dec. 11, 2023), Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez said MassKara dancers have been invited to perform in Hong Kong and Taiwan in February 2024. (PNA Bacolod file photo)

BACOLOD CITY – This city’s MassKara Festival, one of the Philippines’ most colorful festivities, goes worldwide with the scheduled appearances of its street dance performers in various festivals abroad in 2024.

Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez said on Monday the dancers from Barangay Granada, the reigning street dance champion, and Barangay Sum-ag, one of the runners-up, have invitations to perform in Hong Kong and Taiwan, respectively, in February.

Both countries celebrate lantern festivals and other grand festivities during that month.

“Other countries also communicate with us. They would like to bring the MassKara dancers there. Slowly, we are now becoming worldwide,” Benitez said.

He said there is also an invitation for the MassKara dancers to perform for the Filipino community in Italy during the Independence Day celebration in June next year.

Last June, the MassKara Festival dancers from Barangay Granada performed for the first time in New York during the 125th Philippine Independence Anniversary Commemoration Parade on Madison Avenue.

The event was organized by the Philippine Independence Day Council Inc. together with the Philippine Consulate General in New York.

Also in June this year, the dancers from Barangay Sum-ag performed in the 2023 Busan International Dance Festival in Busan Metropolitan City, South Korea.

After the MassKara Festival in October, Benitez said he has been receiving inquiries from several foreign embassies asking to be part of the MassKara Festival and invitations for MassKara dancers to participate in cultural events abroad.

“Aside from the usual events in California and New York in the United States and in Korea, now we have from those in Milan (Italy), Canada and other parts of the world requesting to see our pride that is MassKara Festival,” he said.

Benitez said a television network has also informed him of its plan to broadcast the festival to other countries next year. (PNA)