Monday, August 15, 2005

Revisiting my cultural heritage

Michelle wrote this entry on the guest book of Catherine’s Corner:

“Hey! I was bored tonight and being in the Folklorama aftermast of sadness I decided to google the word "magdaragat" and see what comes up. I read your page entry about your visit to our pavillion (pearl of the orient) a few years ago and I have to say I was very entertained to hear an audience member’s point of view from the entire experience! I've been a member of the group for 7 or 8 years or something, and this is the first thing like this I've read. I hope that visit wasn't your last!”

I think it’s cool that pages of my humble website appear in Google searches. And no, it wasn’t my last visit. Actually, I have been visiting the Philippine pavilions ever since.

Last week, we went to see the “Nayong Pilipino” pavilion held at the new Philippine-Canadian Centre of Manitoba (PCCM) building. As usual, I was mesmerized by the opening song. A Filipina youth rendered Sana’y Wala Nang Wakas, originally popularized by Sharon Cuneta. I was enthralled once again by the graceful movements of the Kayumanggi dancers in their colourful costumes. I finally had the chance to see the dances from the North. I was looking forward to watching the Igorot dance. It was the first time I saw a live performance of men clad only in bahag (G-strings). I also saw some of the dances from the South, the Moslem dances. I was in awe while I watched a couple dance, each of them on top of just a single thick bamboo pole carried by two men. They both managed to dance gracefully without falling off. Whew! And I just can never get enough of the tinikling. Ang galing talaga ng mga mananayaw.

And of course, going to a Filipino gathering like this, I bumped into a few familiar faces. And it’s always a treat to taste our delicacies. A huge tent was set up to accommodate the eating area. I noticed that there was only a small room for the cultural displays. I think that the PCCM building is quite small to hold a Philippine pavilion. But we had fun though.

Folklorama, by the way, is an annual two-week event that celebrates the diverse cultural heritage of the people who settled in Manitoba and Canada. Pavilions are hosted in church basements, community halls, gymnasiums and theatres of schools. The pavilions showcase traditional home-cooked meals, cultural displays, music and dances of the different cultures of the world.

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