Pacete: Special features at Silay International Rondalla Festival

THE Silay City Government informed the world through media that Silay City will be hosting the International Rondalla Festival on November 3 to 11, 2018.

The special feature for the event is an exhibit on Silay cultural history at the historic Gabaldon Puericulture Center (recently restored with the assistance from the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts).

Kansilay Festival. It evolved from the Hiligaynon zarzuela, “The Legend of Kansilay,” scripted and directed by yours truly when I was still teaching Theater Arts for Dona Montserrat Lopez Memorial High School (1990) and the Silay Teachers’ Cultural Group (1993).

“Kansilay, the Zarzuela” was staged in Silay and in the Palarong Pambansa in Iloilo.

The late Ireneo Reyes conceptualized the Kansilay street dance-drama and was approved for inter-barangay competition.

The festival won first runner-up in the 2009 Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (Atop) Best Emerging Festival in the Philippines.

Kansilay Festival celebrates Silay’s mythical origin through the life, love, and death of Lin-ay Kansilay, the story’s heroine.

Now, it has developed into a “sadsad” (merrymaking) with music, fun, and carnival celebrations, adding color to the sights and sounds of Silay’s Charter Anniversary from June 6 until June 12 (D-Day).

Junichiro Doi. He is a lieutenant in the Japanese Imperial Army Air Force assigned in Negros Occidental during World War II.

He was ordered by his commanding officers to bomb the Church of San Diego de Alcala in Silay before retreating to Patag with his unit on March 30, 1945.

When he entered the church, he discovered the rich architectural details of the structure. It was also the refuge of many Silaynons who were not able to flee the city at the outbreak of liberation.

Doi, educated Japanese and a disciple of history, went out of the church and reported to his superior officers that the mission was accomplished. Silay’s most enduring landmark was saved. I call it a “sacred lie.”

In his later years, Junichiro Doi went back to Silay. I was already the tourism officer. We became the best of friends.

When asked what made him abort his mission, he replied, “I am a student of history. I cannot afford to destroy such a beautiful work of art. We have no enemies there.”

When he passed away in the late 1990’s (leaving behind a young, beautiful Filipina wife), he left a little amount for the construction of a memorial in Patag to all those who have fallen during the war.

A part of his ashes is fittingly enshrined in the memorial. In 2010 Tomihiro Kogune (younger Japanese) contributed resources to further develop the site.

I love Kansilay. Her portrait is in my sala. I salute Lt. Doi.

His memory is in my heart. Visit Silay International Exhibit on November 3 to 11. Join us at our music festival.


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