AS HOMAGE to the mountains, the annual festival once again features school children clad in flower-inspired costumes sashaying to music inspired by the ancient Bendian dance, staying true to the Ibaloi tradition of celebration.
For the high school division of the annual street dancing competition, a come-backing University of the Cordilleras (UC) Senior High School street dancer’s present "Kalajo,” denoting a thanksgiving.
UC Senior High academic director Ronaldo Fontanosa explained preparations for the university’s performance started January with the ideas of Kalajo already in place during the launching of the Cor De Mayo Festival last year.
Fontanosa said the theme gives thanks to all schools as well as the comeback of UC after eight years of absence in the festival.
UC’s 120 performers include instrumentalists with the UC Senior High Dance Company wearing green open long sleeves complimented with magazine bead necklaces and flowers.
Fontanosa said props are made of newspaper baskets, pop-up fans, sunflower petals, white cover cloth adorned with flower and a “Bul-lul” conceptualized and created by the students.
The Saint Louis University Laboratory High School will depict the traditional "Panagyaman,” based on the celebrations of a successful harvest giving tribute and thanks for bountiful blessings.
Panagyaman depicts the celebration of a rich culture, honoring Filipino farmers for their patience and hard work aside from offerings of thanks to the great provider for a rich and sustainable harvest.
Caba National High School from La Union, focuses on "Fruits of the Sea" depicting the lush fishing industry of the province.
Performers clad in costumes made of foam, tulle, cloth, bamboo strips, sequence, tire wires, glitter, stones and shells, fish net, bamboo strips, insulators, plastic pans, chip board, plastic straws, paper plates, chicken wire and garlands with the trademark salakot and bilao.
For the elementary division, defending champion Mabini Elementary School eyes a grand slam for a spot in the coveted hall of fame.
The Salud Mitra barangay based school’s theme is centered on strength and beauty entitled "Pigsa ken Kadamya," likewise a tribute to the Cordilleran culture.
School coordinator Romy Manzano said from its magical world presentation last year to its integrated ethnic and modern presentation this year, it is a tribute to the folklore of Bugan, Lumaing and Makalung, a millennial fusion of modern and cultural.
Over 100 student dancers with the Cordilleran Bulol, shield and sword with musicians on the drums, conga, table lyres and marumba wearing the traditional tapis and bahag, glittery ball gowns, headdress, accessories and vests handmade in satin highlighted with sequence, chicken feathers, everlasting flowers, and remnants of rubber mats.
Manzano said the presentation was conceptualized June of last year with the idea of developing skill through culture.
The Baguio Central School is set to present the Bendian dance anew in a showcase of culture, nature and elements of the region.
"Flowers will play center stage as we seek to feature the legend of the blooming and Goddess of flowers of the Cordillera,” Frank De Guzman, school coordinator explained.
De Guzman said the three majorettes represent the sun, while half of the contingent will compose the drum and lyre team while the other half will give life to the goddess of blooms as street dancers.
While music emulates the endemic birds from Benguet and the Kalinga province with the intention of presenting the youth as the guardians of the nest embodied by the region and its culture.
Published in the SunStar Baguio newspaper on February 24, 2018.
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