ILOILO CITY, Philippines — For the first time ever, an international cultural night was held here as part of the Dinagyang Festival.
Last Friday, January 27, an international cultural presentation highlighted the Golden Anniversary s of the Dinagyang Festival.
“We are very happy to bring to you this cultural extravaganza, where we bridge our racial differences by sharing traditional artistry,” said Ramon Cua Locsin, president of the Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation Inc (IDFI).
Greeting the audience in the jampacked Cinema 6 of the SM City Iloilo in six languages, Locsin said that “linkages are necessary to gain new insights and unusual perspectives and to develop a culture of mutual awareness and favorable growth through music, arts and dances.”
The cultural performances showed festival numbers from South Korea and New Zealand as well as versions of festival dances from China, Spain and the Philippines.
Anseong City of South Korea, for the second time, brought to Iloilo City its Namsadang Baudeogi Festival, one of its countries major Korean traditional festivals.
Dubbed as the oldest dance troupe in Korea, the Namsadang Baudeogi Festival dancers are known for their rope-dancing, puppet shows and acrobatics.
One could not imagine where the performers draw their strength as they twirl and twirl the long piece of cloth for several minutes using their heads without getting drowsy. Every choreographed movement sent the audience clapping.
Miss Dinagyang Philippines 2016 Vanessa Ann Caro and Miss Hawaii Filipina 2017 Kimberly Yap wowed the audience as they swayed their hips to the tune of Hula dance.
“I am so honored and grateful to be a part of the cultural night. I was just called in last minute and was able to practice my dance one day before this so I am very excited. It’s my first time in Iloilo and I love it” said Yap.
A tribal group called Te Amiorangi from Ruapotaka Marae from New Zealand showed how passionate they were with their culture as they danced the Kapa Haka.
“The presentation was about their culture, how they live in New Zealand, how they believe that the earth, the sun, the moon, they all come together and that’s basically how powerful it is,” said Tess Peeters of Dinagyang New Zealand, Inc and whose group facilitated to bring the performers to Iloilo.
“It’s amazing having the opportunity to perform with different groups, talents and definitely just giving us more opportunity to boost our confidence considering this is our first time performing in a serious competition,” said one of the New Zealand performers.
Ilonggo businessman Fulbert Woo, one of those who supported the performance of the Sun Yat Sen Lion and Dragon Dance, said the cultural night made Ilonggos appreciate the culture of other places.
The Annie Divinagracia Sartorio School of Performing Arts and the University of San Agustin Kawilihan Dance Group also captivated the crowd when they performed the Spanish Suite.
“As we expose the Dinagyang Tribes abroad to aspire for better performances, we also invite our international friends to experience the best that our country and Ilonggos can give,” said Locsin.-Perla Lena/PNA