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Puso ng Barrio and Cultural: Behind the Scenes
Happy post-PCN week! This past week and weekend, FCA members were busy preparing for our annual event, Philippine Culture Night, the night that brings together everything FCA does as an organization and unites the community for one last hurrah. This year’s show, Puso ng Barrio, or Heart of the Town, focused on the new and the old, keeping old traditions or bringing about new changes. Traditionally, in addition to the play, FCA incorporates our modern dances, Mezzopinoys, and of course, cultural dances. This year, we did 4 of them: Idudu, Aray, Maglalatik, and Kadal Taho/Kadal Blelah. In honor of successfully executing those beautiful dances, let’s take a closer look at each dance and their respective suites!
Idudu and the Cordillera Suite – The show start it’s cultural pieces with Idudu. Idudu symbolizes a day in the life of a farmer and his family. With it’s origins from the Itneg tribe/Tinguian people from Abra, Luzon, in the dance, the father plows the field while the mother takes care of the children. In some renditions, they take turns, so the mother plants the seeds, sows the field, and the father watches the kids. Near the end, a lullaby is sung to put the baby to sleep.
The Cordillera Suite comes from the tribes who live in the mountainous areas of Luzon, a Philippine island. The collective tribes, also known as Igorot, dance to symbolize war, peace, worship of nature, and general symbols of life.
Aray and the Maria Clara Suite – Aray! The flirtiest dance of them all. Aray, influenced by the Northern Spain, is a Filipino version of the dance, Jota. It’s a flirty dance between the man and woman, notable for the beautiful skirts, barongs, ribbons, and spirited tambourines.
The Maria Clara Suite is interesting in that it is heavily influenced by Western European styled dances, such as the waltz, polka, or jota, with that added Filipino flare. The suite was named after Maria Clara, the heroine Noli me Tangere, a novel written by Jose Rizal during the Spanish colonization of the Philippines. Dances in this suite focus on love, romance, and are obviously extremely flirtatious.
Maglalatik and the Barrio Suite – A dance you’ll never get tired of watching is Maglalatik. Originally from Binan, Luzon, the dance represents the battle between the Moros, or Muslims, and the Christians over the latik, a coconut based ingredient, typical in Filipino cooking. Not only does that dance show battle, but also reconciliation and the winning of a prize. Dances, typically men, worn coconuts on most joints – their knees, shoulders, elbows, and hands. The dance is rhythmic with an upbeat drum-like beat.
The Barrio Suite can resonate with many Filipinos, as it literally means town or neighborhood. The dances are evident in their enthusiasm, happiness, spirit, and pleasure for the simplicities in life. The most known barrio suite would have to be Tinikling.
Kadal Taho and the Lumad Suite – Originally from the T’Boli Tribe from Mindanao, Kadal Taho is a dance celebrating good harvest. It mimics that animals that the tribe lives with on their holy lands and is also notable for flying behavior and short, hopping movements.
The Lumad suite itself focused on tribes of the mountains of Mindanao, like the T’Boli Tribe. The tribe is forever united with nature, has a goodness with it, and really depends on a harvest. The people are craftspeople, including weavers, sculptors, and poets, bringing that artistic side to the suite as a whole.
Muslim Suite – One suite that was not shown in PCN was the Muslim Suite. Like it’s name, this suite preserves the Islamic tradition of the almost one million Muslim Filipinos residing in the Philippines. These traditions roots back to way before the Spanish colonization and has influences from Arabian, Indonesian, and Malaysian cultures. The Muslim dances are very regal, mystic, and very commonly accompanied by traditional instruments, such as the kulintang. Dances include Pagapir, Pangalay, Singkil, and Kappa Malong Malong.
Stay tuned for potential cultural performances during the summer and the school year to come!