June 20, 2011

Must try: MassKara

No, I didn't commit any spelling errors on the title because I was pertaining to the MassKara Festival of Bacolod, Philippines. MassKara Festival was coined from the terms Mass (meaning many) and Kara (meaning face) hence "many faces".

Yes I could just ride the train during rush hour and see many faces and poof, MassKara festival, right? Wrong. This festival is much more than that or so they say, I've never really witnessed the festival firsthand but I have read a lot about it.

Image courtesy of Byahilo.com

First, people wear smiling masks and parade the streets. Everything appear colorful and jolly and lively and I also imagine it to be really noisy. Then there are activities like drinking, street dancing, eating, pig catching, pole climbing, beauty pageant, mask making, coconut milk drinking and I guess other things that google forgot to mention but the main point is that it's fun - like Disney, but more cultural. 

That's the best part for me, it's a Filipino culture, something that I can be proud of. It shows how Filipinos still managed to celebrate despite the negativity around them (Note: MassKara Festival started out as a celebration to give the people courage and hope to face the tragedies that befell Bacolod then). Other cultures may find it weird to celebrate in times of death and mishaps but this is precisely the reason why Filipinos are still fighting and hoping, it is because we know how to look at the bright side or at least we can pretend that everything's gonna be okay. We can just smile and give life's misfortune a middle finger or something.

People may say that it's all in the past and that the MassKara Festival of today is just a tradition that attracts tourists and business. Well... that holds true too but the fact that there are still hardworking people out there, there will always be a reason to smile, to celebrate, to join the MassKara Festival, because every hardworking person deserves to be able to smile and hope, despite all of life's shits. 

Surely, someday I'll join the MassKara Festival and I'll tell the world how amazing it is (and if it doesn't turn out to be as amazing, I just know that I'll find a way to make the experience awesome, I'm a Filipino after all, I can at least do that)

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