By Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – Barangay Granada has retained its title for the fifth time after they emerged as champions once more in this year’s MassKara Street Dance and Arena competition here.
The barangay bested nine other villages in the competition during the culmination of the 44th edition of the MassKara Festival last Sunday.
Barangay Granada headed by Alfredo Talimodao Jr. took home the P1-million cash prize.
The barangay also received special awards – Best in Music, Best in Headdress, Best in Mask and Costume designed by Joenel Buenaventura and Christopher John Puerta, Best in Theme, and Best in Music, with cash prizes for each plum amounting to P25,000.
They also won in last year’s competition and bagged the Grand Slam title in 2014, 2015, and 2016 under the supervision of choreographer Jeodem Casabuena.
This year, the dancers were still choreographed by Casabuena, along with Mark Philip Lamirez.
In a media interview, Lamirez said that he was happy that the dancers and prop men were able to execute and deliver what they have practiced.
“Paagi sa pangabudlay, pulaw bugtaw, amo na ni ang baylo. Thank God kay nami amon performance kag wala kami naulanan,” Lamirez said.
He said that while they spent more than the cash prize, they were delighted with their achievement.
The first runner-up was Barangay Tangub which took home P500,000.
The second runner-up was Barangay Sum-ag which took home P300,000. They also won the Best in Introduction Video.
MassKara Dancers danced their way from Rizal-Araneta Streets at 3 p.m. to Paglaum Stadium, where the arena competition was held.
Other competing villages were Barangays 34, Mansilingan, Handumanan, Cabug, Vista Alegre, 21, and 40. They each received P100,000.
Judges in the street dance were Maria Lester Ybañez, Catherine Vestil, Mhike Jelord Rollo, Odysso Oyales, March Mandal, and Carlou Bernaldez.
For the arena competition, the judges were Cristalle Belo, Rhiza Pascua, Tim Yap, SM Supermalls President Steven Tan, Jane Basas, Carl Fider and Pat Fider, and Ann Ong.
Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez expressed his pride and gratitude for the exceptional talent showcased in this year’s festival.
“Sa mga nagtambong di sa siyudad sang Bacolod para maglantaw sang aton highlight sang streetdance competition, ini ginapabugal ta gid kay indi lang ni ya bantug sa bilog nga Pilipinas kundi sa bilog nga kalibutan,” the mayor said.
The event was also graced by several distinguished guests, including Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Lacson, Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya, Valladolid Mayor Enrique Miravalles, and Department of Tourism-6 director Crisanta Marlene Rodriguez.