When the dance anthem blasted away at the main Lacson Street in Bacolod, the Philippines, it signified the start of the annual celebration known as the MassKara Festival.
Groups of dancers from different barangay (villages) put on their beautifully decorated masks with shiny trinkets, native beads, colourful feathers and flowers, with pride. They were getting ready for the dance where a sea of Bacolod people would religiously gather to witness the event every year. All the masks sported smiling faces; there was not a single sad-looking mask anywhere. This is a typical scene during MassKara.