Pampanga wins Dulansangan anew

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Monday, January 27, 2014


MALOLOS CITY -- The Pampanga delegation represented by Mabalacat City won for the second straight time on Thursday the top prize in Dulansangan, a street- and free-dance competition in the Fiesta Republika here which commemorates the declaration of the very first Philippine republic.

The annual national completion was organized by this city’s Mayor Christian Natividad to make aware the Filipinos about the significance of the declaration of the first Philippine Republic here on January 23, 1899.

Pampanga sent again some 200-strong delegation led by artist and arts and culture advocate June Magbalot of the Mabalacat City government. The delegation received the most applause and admiration from the audience during the street and stage competitions as it gave emphasis on the role of Aetas during the revolt against the Spaniards.

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Pampanga’s 10-minute dance interpretation on the stage included an elaborate choreography, real-life costumes, and 30-feet props where Aetas, clad in their red loin clothes, climbed, crawled and danced.

Dulansangan is part of the week-long Fiesta Republika 2014 pushed by Natividad since 2010 to convince the Aquino government and both houses of Congress to declare January 23 a national holiday to honor then President Emilio Aguinaldo’s declaration of the Malolos Republic at the Barasoain Church here.

Magbalot expressed gratitude to Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda and Mayor Marino Morales for entrusting them the representation in the national competition. He also thanked the dancers and crew for their support.

“It was not easy to be mobilizing all these people and props to Bulacan, but I am so thankful for the support of everyone especially our leaders”, Magbalot said.

“We are glad that Pampanga’s role in the revolution is highlighted once again through our presentation and that is what we wanted to impart in this victory,” Magbalot said.

He was referring to the Aeta tribes who reportedly joined the Katipuneros in Pampanga in fighting the colonizers and their army during the Spanish rule.

Magbalot collaborated with Pampanga historian Lord Francis Musni for the specific heroics deeds of Aetas during the Spanish revolt. The musical arrangement was made by Andy Alviz of Arti Sta. Rita. Lead choreographers were Davu Reyes and Carl Ursal who underwent training under Douglas Nierras, along with other dancers last year.

Aguinaldo, who died in 1964 in Quezon City, is considered the first President of the Philippines who ruled from 1899 until 1901 when he was captured.

“This is not just about Aguinaldo and the events in 1899 but all the written and unwritten stories about the Filipinos’ bravery displayed against the colonizers since 1521 when Spain arrived in the country,” said Natividad.

“If not for Aguinaldo’s declaration in 1899 and our heroes, including Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio and Gregorio del Pilar, to name a few, we would have remained as mere race and not a nation and people with identity,” added the two-term mayor.

Natividad, who described the Pampanga performers as “crowd-favorite,” said his dream and desire is to see the national government in the future host this January 23 local holiday in Malolos City with the military forces marching on the streets and their war planes hovering over the skies of the historic city.

For his part, Magbalot vowed to support the advocacy of Malolos City and its some 240,000 people by participating annually and “if we won in the qualifying rounds.”

Magbalot, a known advocate for arts and culture renaissance in Pampanga, and Mayor Marino “Boking” Morales are expected to lead the “Caragan Festival” on February 28 honoring the first leader of Pampanga’s newest city who is an Ayta.

Magbalot included 18 Aytas in the delegation and they were mobbed and adored during the course of the street performance, which started at the Malolos Cathedral.

Musni, who provided the historical content of the winning 10-minute “free dance performance” of the delegation in front of the Malolos Sports and Convention Center, said “based on actual writings and historical accounts” the Aytas were discovered at the jails of the Spanish government in Pampanga sometime in 1898.

Musni said that when the Philippine revolution against Spain was heading towards Pampanga, the colonizers recruited ilustrados and they would used to fight with the Spanish army against the Filipinos. He added that these educated class of people in Pampanga instead revolted against their recruiters and destroyed Spanish-occupied government offices and Churches.

“Then the Ilustrados found Aytas jailed by Spanish rulers,” added Musni.

Pampanga won over Pangasinan, Manila, Nueva Ecija and Rizal in the national level. The host province of Bulacan performed but didn’t join the open competition.

Arwin Paul Lingat, Pampanga tourism officer, said the Capitol Brass Band of Pampanga also got the grand prize for the competition against other bands from other provinces.

Lingat said the delegation had “virtually dominated” the competitions when reigning Miss Pampanga Kathleen Hazel Evaristo of Magalang town became the first-ever Binibining Fiesta Republika, besting six other contestants.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on January 28, 2014.

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