The day was Saturday, just like any ordinary day preparing for my fencing training and my visiting cousin’s prep up for Palarong Pambansa when we were suddenly glued to the television at ABS-CBN2. It was the Grand Final Showdown for Showtime’s Inter-Town Edition. Honestly, I was never a fan of Showtime though would catch snippets of it on television but what got me going was the fact that my hometown’s Bacolod Masskara is a participant to the contest, together with another Negros Occidental Festival, La Castellana Bailes de Luces and Dumaguete’s Pride from Negros Oriental. A friend of mine commented on Facebook that it looks like when God rained talents on Earth, it seems that Negros Island got most of the share.
First one to perform from Negros Island was Dumaguete’s Pride with several on the studio and more in the Silliman University grounds. The group got off with a good performance, all drapped in red and superb dancing skills. Dumagueteños wowed the crowd with their amazing dance skills which garnered a 10 from Vice Ganda. The live feed was superb and the pristine surroundings of Dumaguete City amazed the judges as well. Representatives from the City of Gentle People definitely fought well.
When it was the turn for Bacolod Masskara to perform, all eyes were glued on the television. The live feed from the new City Hall or what is known as the Government Center had technical difficulties due to temporary blackout but was restored after a few minutes. As if to remedy the little setback, the dancers from both in the Studio and in the Government Center started in full bloom of colors. Brgy. Alijis dancers were at the Studio while on the ground were dancers from Brgy. 17, 21 and even from the Bacolaodiat Festival.
I was thrilled that they used the old Hiligaynon, Latin beats-tuned Masskara dance music at the performance at Showtime. Since I moved here in Manila, I have not been to Masskara Festival or has seen it live so this was the closest I have to seeing Masskara Festival. The dance moves in the studio were perfectly coordinated with those in the Government Center grounds. Everyone, those in Bacolod, those in the studio and even those watching the television were just holding their breaths everytime.
While the symphony of colors and dance moves wowed both the judges and studio audience, everyone was surprised when all of the sudden, a chopper appeared in the middle of the performance! This chopper, said to have been loaned by Third District Rep. Albee Benitez, dropped confetti and balloons to the dancing crowd below. As the performance was capped, everyone stood for a loud cheer and applause with the crowd suggesting a perfect 10. Vice Ganda was speechless, agreed with the crowd and gave a perfect 10.
Just as we were about to turn off the television and leave for some errands, the other dance contingent from Negros Occidental, La Castellana Bailes de Luces also performed after Bacolod Masskara. It was a feat that they made it in the finals for they failed in their first attempt of joining but came back as a wild card and proving that they deserve to be there in the first place. Learning from the mistakes of the initial failed performance, their live feed dancers performed this time in the town’s darkened covered court.
Not to be outdone, the pulled up a really colorful performance both on the studio and on the live feed. The dancers in the studio and in the live feed were in perfect coordination, as if they were just dancing on the same location, just like how it is done every January 5 annually at La Castellana. The group tapped all the participants to recreate one of Negros Occidental’s most colorful festivals. In showing their artistry, they also garnered standing applauses, audience demands for a perfect 10 which Vice Ganda also agreed.
In the end, it was a close match between the three Negrense participants, besting the rest from around the country. Dumaguete’s Pride got a statistical third place with an average score of 9.6 while La Castellana Bailes de Luces got an almost perfect score except for a single 9 which got a 9.9 average score. The air got tensed when the score for Bacolod was announced, from the perfect 10 given initially, other judges followed suit and gave their perfect 10 after another to an average score of a perfect 10! The studio and the live feed erupted into cheers when Bacolod Masskara was announced the winner. Their performance was only a fraction of what to expect this Masskara Festival 2012, especially on something grand prepared on October 19, 20 and 21 for the highlights.