Saturday, July 23, 2016

Sandugo de Kuradang - The Most Fun Sandugo Yet!

Kuradang Queen and King 2016
22 July 2016 - For once, a Bohol Day brought us a Sandugo event where the performers were genuinely having fun -- more smiles, vigour and energey and less strained & exhausted faces (the late afternoon start sure helped) --  which inspired the audience and in turn inspired the performers. It also helped that the familiar fun(ny), upbeat melody, lyrics and dance steps (!) of the Kuradang that harked back actual fiestas and family celebrations had us all beaming and wanting to join in the fun.

This year's Sandugo Street Dancing Committee took their chances in bringing back the Sandugo to its basics, essentially back to the people - and we're glad. Piskay.

Tita's of Sandugo 2016
Kuradang-based Sandugo is not only a colorful remembrance of things past, it also opens up possibilities for future concepts both for the Sandugo (which is historically iffy anyway, IMO) and what's needed most in the world today (e.g. inclusivity over exclusivity); and kuradang (e.g. evolve its courting theme into more gender-equitable, gender-inclusive concepts; connect it to the 'eskrima' tradition). And how about a post-modern bare-bones kuradang? That should be exciting.

I personally would love to see an exhibition presentation of Bohol's best kuradang dancers, and that means senior kuradang dancers!

Everyone's happy, no?
A few notes:
  1. Moving the street fest to Bohol Day (a non-working holiday here, anyway) is not a bad idea, actually quite proper. (We must lament the lack of info-dissemination, though.)
  2. The dancing Sikatunas and Legazpis are  cute (especially with their stoic expressions).
  3. The dancing mini- Sikatuna and Legazpi are way cuter (especially with their full-on smiles).
  4. But the elder kuradang dancers are, hands down, the best!
  5. Odoni Pestelos' Sandugo+Kuradang+Subli music is spot-on. The lyricist must be a Bol-anon poet! (Edit: Indeed, he is! No less than Marianito "Nitz" Luspo, himself!) 
  6. Props to those who made the effort to sing 'live' during the 'Subli sa Sandugo part (aka the re-enactment), though, it could've been better if they just recited their parts in a sing-song, balaknon way if they couldn't get the tune/tone right. 
  7. Some teams didn't get the idea to keep it simple. Those huge stage props are so passé.
  8. That said, the stage was probably, too small, with or without those huge props. A bigger (like Cebu's Sinulog) stage with fewer distractions like the backdrop and the monitor speakers would allow for the dancers and their movements to be highlighted more.

While there were clear winners among the eight performing contingents, Lumad Napoanon (Barangay Napo, Loon), Holy Name University and Dr. Cecilio Putong National High School (DCPNHS) aka "Bohol High", among the crowd favorites, -- because of the basic kuradang movements and music shared by everyone

This is not to discount the - by the winners, of course.

Lumad Napoanon of Barangay Napo, Loon, Bohol
Lumad Napoanon (choreographed by Nelson "Kookie" Relayosa), the shoo-in for the top prize, was indeed declared the Grand Champion, the Best in Street Dancing and Most Colorful Contingent. Their costume, although, somewhat remnant of the past Sandugo's and most other cultural festivals, especially the 'head gear', did set them apart from the rest, who adhered to the more traditional 'kuradang' and 'subli' garb (I believe HNU's long dresses and scarves could've covered up the intricacies of their hand and feet movements).

Lumad Napoanon's Jose Zuasola Lugo and Julie Rebucas Murcia, Kuradang King and Queen.
And of course their main kuradang pair, the more elderly, therefore more adept Jose Zuasola Lugo and Julie Rebucas Murcia, stole the show -- they were awarded the Kuradang King and Queen!

Dr. Cecilio Putong National High School was declared 2nd best contingent, while LGU Balilihan came in third.

Half of the board of judges.
Comprising the board of judges were no less than Prof. Felipe Mendoza de Leon, Chairman of the National Commisssion for Culture and the Arts (NCCA); Marichu Tellano, Deputy Executive Director of the NCCA; Shirley Halili Cruza, President of the Halili-Cruz School of Ballet; Prof. Eric Zerrudo, Executive Director of the UST Center for the Conservation of Cultural Property; and Maribel Legarda, Artistic Director of the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA).

Small stage, huge props. Not a good combination.
The lean Mabini Team was still a delight to watch, because Kuradang.
See Sikatuna and Legazpi juniors? Grade schoolers should totally do Sandugo-inspired plays in schools.
Some teams actually made efforts to have their kuradang dancing slip-ons be made specifically for the event. That's one industry we should revive.
Sikatuna doing a superman. 

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