Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Macro Monday: Bacolod's Masskara Festival

Bacolod is known for its sugar industry, and each year, since 1980, Bacolodnos celebrate their Charter day on Oct. 19 with color and gaeity. Mass means 'crowd' and cara is a Spanish word that means 'face.'

The happy face symbolizes the Negrenses' upbeat spirit despite economic downturns in the sugar industry. The round of festivities includes a parade in elaborate costumes, and contests in mask-making, pig-catching, pole-climbing, and coconut milk-drinking.

Tourists flock to watch and join the celebration, and get to enjoy shopping for orchids and native handicrafts.

Bacolod belongs to the second major island in the Philippines, the Visayas.
(photos courtesy of flickr.com)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Color Carnival: Singkil, a Muslim Dance

A big part of our cultural heritage is a rich hodgepodge of dances. Mindanao, which is the third major island in the archipelago, and is home to the largest cultural minority in the country, the Muslims, is host to many of these captivating dances.

Their dances are famous for royalty and enchanting beauty.

Below are pictures of SINGKIL, a dance of the Maranao tribe, which originates from Lanao, Mindanao. There's this epic about a princess who was caught in an earthquake in the middle of the forest. The person behind her is her slave. The person holding an umbrella is a waiting lady. She is rescued by a prince after a long ordeal.

Singkil derives its name from the bells on her ankles. The criss-crossing bamboos represent the falling trees.

Dancers wear a solemn face and keep a dignified pose during the dance, and proceed from a slow to a faster tempo, as witnessed from the movements of the apir, or fans, which signify the winds. To this day, royal princesses in the Sulu Archipelago are required to learn this elegant and noble dance.

(photos courtesy of www.likha.org)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Skywatch: Pinoy Kitefest

Ladies and gentlemen, showcasing the ingenuity of the Pinoy! Using only inexpensive materials, the participants, called kite marshalls, built gigantic birds, insects, superheroes, flags, churches, even tricyles and a pair of bakya (local clogs). They all flew!

Kite festivals were held from 1990-2005 by the Magna Kultura Foundation all over the country. It is a Non-government organization whose goal is to uplift the morale of the grassroots by building their capacities through education and arts and crafts.

Kite-flying is a most enjoyable outdoor sport, especially since it's all-summer weather in the Philippines. Indeed, when we fly our kites, it's our dreams that soar.

Hope you enjoyed these!

(pictures courtesy of magnakultura.multiply.com)

Spectacular Lea Salonga

Lea Salonga is a performer par excellence. I cannot begin to enumerate the many honors she has brought the country. When she won the Sir Lawrence Olivier Awards and the Tony Awards for her portrayal as Kim in Miss Saigon, she put the Philippines on the map. Not that it was never there. But she made us shine even more.

I hope you enjoy this one as well!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Butanding of Donsol, Sorsogon

Hello, my friends. I have promised to blog about my hometown in the Philippines, and I was thinking why not do so in snippets, while at the same time, blogging about other things in the Philippine culture? I am starting off with the whale shark, locally called butanding, which is the largest in the world, and is found in Donsol (accent on 'sol'), Sorsogon (accent on 'gon').

Sorsogon is located in the southernmost tip of Luzon, which is one of the 3 major islands of the archipelagic Philippines. Sorsogon is my hometown (now a city), and at the same time, it is a big province consisting of 13 municipalities. Donsol is one of them, and it is but 15 minutes away from where I used to live. As you know, the Philippines is teeming with all sorts of fascinating marine life and treasures, and the butanding is just one of them.

More next time. Enjoy the video and let me know what you think!