Cordillerans resound their gongs in Global Village, Dubai-A A +A
Sunday, March 10, 2013
AS HIGHLANDERS, we have constantly prided ourselves with the fact that we were able to keep our cultural traditions, rites and systems intact despite the rapid pace and proliferation of modernization. The secret perhaps to this aside from us being so grounded on our history and culture, is that we respect the essence of these customs and thus willingly attempt to keep these alive, even when we are far away from our mountainous dwellings.
For Cordillerans here in the UAE, we considered it a great privilege to have had the chance to showcase some of our native dances to not just a local audience but to international spectators from across continents. Dubai’s Global Village was an avenue for this opportunity.
As a premiere outdoor shopping, cultural and entertainment venue in UAE that is flocked by over five million visitors annually, world-class entertainment shows are especially commissioned by this theme park to show various folk performances of a wide array of participating countries.
Daily performances from varied regions, countries, or in our case, tribes are staged in the numerous pavilions for the constant entertainment of the shoppers and visitors. For this year, participants from the Philippines chose to highlight the country’s tourism slogan, “It’s more fun in the Philippines”, while presentations from different Filipino dance groups were being performed. So while marketing the slogan, the aim was to entice more international tourists to visit the archipelago through the display of the diversity and richness of our culture.
It was a joy to witness our very own native dances being shown in an international venue. But more than the delight of knowing that the Filipino expatriates’ participation means helping promote the country’s tourism, is that unmistakable pride one gets upon realizing yet again that our culture is so rich, unique and heterogeneous that it is truly unparalleled in a lot of aspects.
The highlanders performed the common traditional dances namely; the climactic war dance, the all-time “balangbang”, the energetic “sakuting”, “takik” the courtship dance, and the very artsy “banga” or pot dance that were all choreographed into a dynamic sequence that narrates the significance of these dances. A special feature of the modern Igorot warriors showcasing their combat arts added a charging and exciting twist to the whole performance. The native attires worn by every performer added to the genuine ethnicity of the presentation. Yes, even the men proudly wore our symbolic g-strings.
What was really interesting was that most of those who performed are not at all expert dancers unlike some of the commissioned groups who really dance professionally. As members of our mountain tribes, dancing to tradition is more or less inherent. It doesn’t require much skill to be competent in proudly performing our own dances. My belief is that as long as one is still grounded to our existing traditions and has the heart to be an active participant in keeping our customs alive, there’s no reason not to be adept and efficient in introducing our unique culture in the international arena.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 11, 2013.