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2001 – Obra Maestra 2

PerformanceObra Maestra
Date and TimeMay 19 , 2001 – 08:00 PM
May 20 , 2001 – 03:00 PM
VenueCultural Center of the Philippines
TheaterTanghalang Nicanor Abelardo
TypeSeason Production

Sentrong Pangkultura ng Pilipinas


The dance was a vital part in the lives of our ancestors. It was through the dance that they celebrated every important aspect of their lives, from birth to death. The dance was eternal, a part of the traditions to be passed on from one generation to the next.

With the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group, we are reassured that the dance will live on. For nearly thirty years, Ramon Obusan and his group have worked tirelessly to ensure the preservation of the various dance traditions among our country’s diverse ethnic groups. Through their efforts, we are privileged to witness the dance as a living and vibrant memory of the past. Indeed, this is a true obra maestra.
To the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group and the dedicated cultural workers behind this production, our sincerest best wishes and warmest congratulations.
In the end, the dance lives on.


Sentrong Pangkultura ng Pilipinas

In ancient times, the dance was not just a form of entertainment. It was an expression of worship and a celebration of life through the beautiful union of movement and music. Our ancestors used dance to celebrate every important signpost of life – birth, coming-of-age, courtship, marriage and even death. They danced their rage and fury during war and they danced for the sheer joy of living during peace. In many ways, the Dance itself transcended the life that it symbolized and became Life itself.

Today, the dances of our ancestors are our only memory of the life they led before. Once more, Ramon Obusan ensures that the m em ory of the dance will neverdie here in his Obra Maestra. This is a fitting title to nearly thirty years of dedication and hard work in preserving the rich dance traditions of the various cultural and ethnic groups in our country. Even as we step into the twenty-first century, the legacy of our past remains with us, a worthy inheritance to pass on to our children and our children’s children.

To the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group and all the dedicated cultural workers behind this production, our sincerest congratutations. May your company continue to enjoy every success.



Artistic Director andVice-President

Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group

Hindi masusukat ang nadarama kong kasiyahan sa pagsasaentablado ng mga makukulay na kaugalian at mga ritwal ng ating bayan.

Thinahalintulad ko ang aking sarili sa isang munting batang pinakawalan sa isang tindahan ng mga laruan -hindi alam kung ano ang unang hihipuin, ano ang unang gagalawin. Sa dami ng ating sayaw-bayan di ko na malaman kung anong uunahin kong ihandog sa bayan at sa mundo.

Narito po ang ilang gawang obra maestra ng inyong lingkod. Tapat sa paglalarawan ng ating sining at kultura.

Salamat sa inyong pagdalo!

RAMON A. OBUSAN Artistic Director

Ramon Arevalo Obusan
The Philippine dance scene first received Ramon Obusan into its ranks in 1964 as a member of the Bayanihan Philippine Dance Company (now Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company). He continued with group while completing a degree in anthropology at the University of the Philippines, balancing a career of performance with a real desire to learn and later teach the tradition behind his craft. Not only was he then a dancer with the company, he was a researcher as well, taking many trips around the archipelago recording songs, dances, poetry and collecting costumes and musical instruments. With Bayanihan he was one of the performers of an extensive Asian tour in 1968, which was then followed by short tours in Hong Kong (1969);Taipei (1969); Okinawa, Japan (1969); Japan (1970). He joined also the company on its 5th World Tour from the year 1970 to 1971, the longest performance tour that Bayanihan ever embarked lasting for 15 months and covering four continents. It is on this tour that in one of their performances at the Lincoln Center in the U.S.A. that Martha Graham called Obusan the “caveman” dancer.

He took over the management of Larawan Dance Company (official dance troupe of the then Bureau of Customs) in 1967. His involvement with all aspects of running a company brought about the realization of a need for establishing on his own. Thus, on the day that Martial Law was declared, the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group was born. He named his group after himself and adding “folkloric” to ensure that authenticity was never left out (a suggestion by the late National Artist and Film Director Lamberto Avellana). The ROFG became the logical expression and extension of Obusan’s activities, a means to explore, express and create the many dances that are now found in company’s repertoire. With the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group, Obusan has so far spearheaded international and local performances that were received with accolades and praises for its adherence to ethnicity, context and much more its true mirroring of its country and people’s culture and folkways.

Obusan has contributed to Philippine Dance a veritable collection of folk dance productions and suites which he has solely conceptualized, directed, choreographed, designed, mounted and more often produced. These productions evolved from documenting, reviving and in many cases rediscovering traditional folk ways from the dustbins of places as far as Aparri in the North and in Jolo, Sulu down south. Indeed, these dance pieces are results of Obusan’s painstaking work in the recovery of precious fragments of many Philippine traditions. Over the years, Obusan has held true to his vision of maintaining authenticity in his chosen art by using actual movement patterns, costumes and music while keeping a flair for good theater as the dances are presented on-stage.

Thirty-five years of unrelenting research and documentation led Ramon Obusan to villages, coastal towns, mountain slopes, caves and forest clearings where precious traditions long preserved and treasured by communities or bands were shared with him and allowed to be staged for all the world to see. Braving threats to his life and safety, hunger, sickness, curtailment of movement and the ever-present danger of treading upon sensibilities of the group(s) encountered, Obusan has accumulated a vast amount of data and artifacts of envy. Proof of this life-work is a compilation of over 200 video-documentation of some of the most precious customs and traditions of his researches; photos and slides of costumes, accessories, jewelries, weapons as well as collections of museum pieces and artifacts. Out of an immense storage of dance information from Obusan’s researches came the core of more than one hundred dances now used by folk dance groups, lecturers, educators, choreographers and dancers. Further, these dances today are principal fare in the repertoire of folk dance performances, lecture-demonstrations, clinics and competitions.

Two documentaries he directed for the CCP Tuklas Sining series won awards in France : grand prize Prix de Reportage for Sayaw 1990, and Special Mention, Grand Prix International Video-Dance, 1992 for Philippine Ethnic Dance. A consultant for UNESCO, he has been cited for his achievements in research, conferences, workshops and presentations. He was given the Patnubay ng Kalinangan award by the City of Manila in 1992 and the Gawad CCP Para sa Sining Sayaw in 1993. He has actively worked as a member of the Executive Committee of the Philippine Folk Dance Society, and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts since 1987. He was consultant and co-director of the 1998 Centennial Parade Celebration. He was co-curator and program director of Pahiyas : A Philippine Folk Festival, the Philippines’s participation to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in the USA in 1998. In 1999, he was one of the 100 artists awarded in the CCP Centennial Honors for the Arts.

Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group
The Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group (ROFG) celebrates 29 years of preservation and perpetuation of Philippine dance and music traditions.

Founded in 1972, the ROFG started as a fledging folk dance company, composed of not more than thirty performers. Leaning on the vast amount of data and artifacts that he had accumulated while he was doing researches, Ramon A. Obusan thought of starting a dance company that will mirror the traditional culture of the Filipinos through dance and music.

For twenty-nine years, the ROFG has created a niche in the world of dance as forerunner of Philippine dance performed closest to the original. Boasting of over a thousand performances in the Philippines and abroad, the ROFG became a resident folk dance company of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) in 1986.

Under the able leadership of its founder and Artistic Director, Choreographer and ResearcherRamon A. Obusan, it has so far gone on three successful European Tours in 1987, 1990 and 1993. In 1992, the group was the first Filipino performing artists to receive resounding applause and standing ovations for all its performances in Japan under the auspices of Min-on. In 1994, the group had its first American Tour visiting 16 states capped with a proclamation of February 8 as ROFG Day in Cleveland, Ohio. In Asia, the group represented the Philippines in various dance festivals and conferences as cultural ambassadors. Along with this, Mr. Obusan was chosen as Artistic Director of the first performing group composed of the various dance companies in the ASEAN Village in Sentosa, Singapore performing not only Philippine dances but dances of other Asian countries as well.

In 1995, it helped raise HK1.5M for Filipino OCW’s in Hong Kong when they performed for a fund-raising event sponsored by the Hong Kong Bayanihan Trust. In April and May 1996 the group went to Paris, Turkey, Greece and Sweden for a series of performances under the auspices of the Department of Tourism. In May 1998 the company performed at the Lisboa Exposition ’98 in Portugal as part of the Philippine Centennial Celebration. In 1999, the group returned to Japan for the Philippine Independence Day celebration through the invitation of the Embassy. Early in 2000, the company received the ASEAN Travel Awards for Cultural Preservation in the recently concluded tourism congress in Thailand and later on the Aliw Awards for Best Cultural Group.

Though steep with international recognition, the ROFG has never forgotten the people who are the very source of its pride. For the past two decades it has documented and performed the rituals of more than 50 ethnolinguistic groups in the country. With about fifteen outstanding full-length Filipino dance works, among which are the memorable suites from the Cordillera, Bagobo, T’boli, Tausug, Maranao, the Aeta and the Talaandig among others – the ROFG has served to highlight the authenticity of the movements and costumes of these people.

. Today, the ROFG humbly celebrates 29 years of fruitful existence and service to the Filipino people. To the ROFG, there is no stopping in the pursuit of recording and staging of fast fading Filipino traditions.

LIKHA – Pilipino Folk Ensemble
In May of 1992, a collective of individuals came together to form a group that celebrates Philippine culture and tradition. From this group, LIKHA-Pilipino Folk Ensemble was born, a 501c.3 status non-profit cultural organization. Since their very first annual presentation at San Francisco State University’s McKenna Theatre, the goal of LIKHA, meaning “creation” in Pilipino is to collect and preserve indegenous Philippine art forms as expressed in music, dance, arts and costumes and to develop a folk dance repertoire for the theater based on traditional culture and ethnic art forms. Now in its 9th season, under the artistic direction of Rudi C. Soriano, the Ensemble continues its mission in presenting all aspects of the Pilipino culture to the general public with hope of educating their audience, both Pilipino and non-Pilipino alike, about Philippine culture.

This mission does not stop at the boundaries of the San Francisco Bay Area, the company’s home. LIKHA continue to expand its horizon by performing in different cities outside of California, performances in Reno, Nevada; Corpus Christi, Texas and collaboration with the Los Angeles based Kultura Performing Arts in Los Angeles and Canada’s Kababayang Pilipino in Vancouver, British Columbia and Edmonton, Canada. Aside from participating with different Philippine festivals, LIKHA has also performed in San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, Bay Area Dance Series Festival, Asian Arts and Dance Festivals in Los Angeles, California;Eugene, Oregon; Carson City, Nevada and the Third International Folk Dance Festival in Malta highlighting a performance for the President of Malta.
The Ensemble is not only geared toward educating teenagers and adults, it pushes to educate the youngest member of the community. In 1997, LIKHA established its Contra Costa chapter which teaches children age 6-14, the basic concept of Philippine folk dance.

Projects of LIKHA include research to the Philippines to further their mission of collecting and preserving the Philippine culture as well as continuing their long standing goal of educating their members and the public about Philippine tradition.

LIKHA-Pilipino Folk Ensemble is a member of the Alliance of Filipino American Performing Artists.

Mga Anak ni Inang Daigdig

Mga Anak ni Inang Daigdig, Children of Mother Earth, is an environmental group of young people from Smokey Mountain, the infamous garbage dump in the city of Manila. Through songs and dances of the indigenous tribes in the Philippines, they would like to remind everyone that if we deny our spiritual legacy, we contribute to the extinction of these people and add to our own impoverishment as we seek for purpose and direction in this dream-crossed twilight between birth and dying.

These young people, members of the Youth and Kids for Christ, woul like to call on everyone to join the race to save the planet (the only one we have) and help us unite young people throughout the world in a new understanding of the fragility of life systems. They would like to dedicate their performances to all human beings who have suffered pitifully and needlessly because of human injustice and stupidity, especially the children in the garbage dumps all over the world. May we remember their pain, change our ways and rediscover the sacredness of Mother Earth.

As we celebrate the Great Jubilee, it is good to remind ourselves that the Earth does not belong to us, we belong to the Earth which God has created.

1. CORDILLERA Cordillera, a name given by the Spanish Conquistadores when they first saw the mountain ranges. Meaning “knotted rope”, the Spanish term refers to the jumbled rolls and dips of this long-range traversing the northern part of Luzon island. The cordillera is home to at least 10 ethnolinguistic groups, scattered sporadically in all directions. Separated by high peaks and deep valleys, the cordillerans as they are collectively called have developed cultural traits distinguishing each one from the other. Despite clear differences,” regionalistic” similarity threads through all the groups lumping all, as it were as one distinct ethnic group. (Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group)

Kailian. A name of endearment given to a villagemate. The ROFG opens this suite with a display of people’s culture, costumes, weaponry, body ornamentation, dance vignettes included. Groups represented are the Apayao, Bago, Benguet, Bontok, Gaddang, Ifugao, Itneg, Ilongot, and Kalinga.
Tuntak (Nueva Ecija). Swoop and glide of mighty birds over vast expanse of fields are interperted by hyper-active Gaddang. (Likha-Pilipino Folk Ensemble)

Tadek (Abra). Once considered the most barbaric headtakers of Abra, the Itneg are now settled in lowland plains and foothills of this northern province. They are noted for their industriousness and great ability in weaving textiles including “mother” blankets sought after by collectors for their beauty and rarity. Never meticulous about their way of dressing, the Itneg poured their every artistic effort into the blankets the ROFG proudly displays. Tadek, the loveplay between Itneg roosters and hens offers the occasion to display the blankets. (Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group)

Bendayan (Benguet). Also popularly called bendian, this circle dance of the Benguet of Mountain Province is restaged, keeping true to the dance’s context and meaning. Long known as a dance to celebrate the arrival of successful headhunters, the Bendayan has taken a new face. It is part of every Benguet festivity with the circles slowly giving way to other formations and interpretations. (Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group with Mga Anak ni Inang Daigdig)

i Tarektek (Benguet). Two tareketek woodpeckers vie for the attention of three females. One male woodpecker rhythmically bang on a brass gong to represent a good voice, while the other swish about a colorful blanket representing beautiful plummage. (Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group with Mga Anak ni Inang Daigdig)

Canao (Ifugao). A canao feast’s success is measured by the amount of food prepared and the length of time spent for dancing. In a ili village setting, the ROFG presents Ifugao feasting, drinking and dancing. As a fitting finale warriors as big birds in flight as the weaker, smaller ones take the role of trappers in a dance called paypayto. (Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group with Mga Anak ni Inang Daigidig)

Dumadel (Zamboanga del Norte). Subanon maidens gracefully dance about with a length of palm frond creating the gentlest sound the gods’ love. They are in to search for husbands. (Lika-Pilipino Folk Ensemble)

Birginia (Palawan). It was during the American occupation that Birginia (obviously of Virginia, USA origin) became popular. Except for it having been Filipinized, the Birginia is all but a Virginia reel complete with jigs, paso doble and grand chain. The familiar “Home Sweet Home” refrain makes it even more American. (Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group)

Pigapir (Maranao). Apir are lavishly decorated fans gracefully manipulated by Maranao maidens to emphasize her gentle wrist movements as she walks with the “kini-kini” sway, a sign of good breeding. (Likha-Pilipino Folk Ensemble)

Pang-alay sa Agung (Tausog). Pang-alay, a traditional Tausog dance form has as many versions as there are dancers. Agung, a brass gong with a big knob at the center becomes a unique prop used by two Tausog suitors to get the attention of the lady of their desire. (Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group)

Jota Cagayana (Cagayan). The jota brought by the Spaniards from Southern Spain found its way into many places in the islands. One such jota is named after the valley it adapted. Though Filipinized in many ways than one, Jota Cagayana still displays the fire and fury of its European origin. (Likha-Pilipino Folk Ensemble)

Sagayan (Cotabato). The most colorful and the most visual of all Maguindano dances. Composed of an all-male ensemble, sagayan plays a serious part in the healing ritual centering on the sagayan warriors fight with malevolent spirtis. Kamanyang fumes inhaled by the sagayan moves him to perform in a magic-like trance. (Likha-Pilipino Folk Ensemble)

Pagkawin Tausog (Jolo, Sulu). Trading with the Chinese go a long, long way back with Sulu and Borneo as the center of commercial as early as the 10th century. Little wonder many changes in the folklife and social structure of Sulu are attributed to the Chinese merchants who came and went. In a typical child -wedding, also of Chinese import, the formal ceremony itself – food, dressing, make-up and decorations are clearly Chinese. Only the wedding ritual is Tausog. Pang-alay, bula-bula and silat – dances typical to any Tausog event are adapted to a children’s wedding such as this where three brides dance with their snobbish young grooms. (Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group with Mga Anak ni Inang Daigdig)

Anrgy gods, repentless people and a child named Durian, fruit of the union of Mother Moon and Father Sun ironically meet in a legend that ends in a tragedy. (Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group with Mga Anak ni Inang Daigdig)

Birguere (Palawan). This dance would have not been “created” had it not been for the faulty water system of Cuyo island. In the late evenings villagers troop to a water source just outside of town where they wait in line to have their containers filled. These long waits prompted the impatient group to create an activity to while the time away. Groups were formed with a leader-choreographer who planned such moves. Pretty soon there were several groups doing their own thing. Musicians were called in and very soon there were nightly competitions to choose who did best. New steps were introduced each time and so Birguere, a quadrille similar to a square dance was born. (Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group)

Malaguena (Quezon). The town of Catanauan sits across Marinduque island where people ply their trade since they can remember. Goods, ideas – people came and went each time learning a part of their island on the other shore. This exchange include songs and dances. Malaguena (of Malaga, Spain origin) was brought to Catanauan by Marinduque merchants probably in one of its fiestas, then permanently stayed: Today it is uniquely different from its original, having been modified to the likes of the islanders. (Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group)

Buling-Buling (Quezon). Ash Wednesday is no ordinary day for the pious people of Guiniangan town. After mass, villagers, mostly over fifty form groups and move from house to house soliciting alms for church. Plates on hand they sing and dance in the town’s streets sending a festive air to the day. Buling refers to the ash-cross marked on the forehead of Christians to remind them that this day is the start of Lenten season. It also is a reminder that man came from ash and to ash he shall return. (Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group)

Rigodon Royale (Negros Oriental). The rigodon is a double quadrille popularly used to open grand balls. A modest eight pairs to a staggering fifty may make up the head and side lines. It is usually the affluent, popular and moneyed members of society who make up the rigodon. Some see the rigodon as a means to gauge a persons place in the social ladder. It is also considered by some as a means to discriminate, perhaps because couples are particularly chosen for their social status, those who are rich, popular and famous fill the head lines or cabizera and the not considered rich end up in the side or costado lines. Zamboanguita in the past must have had grand times especially when the landed threw parties. Rigodon royale opened such parties. (Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group)

Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group
Cherry Ylanan
Christine Carol Singson
May Liwanag
Emelita Medina
Marie Ruby Ocampo
Omega Venus Peralta
Genoveva Garcia
Kanami Namiki
Maricel Cosejo
Donna Cosejo

Raul Nepomuceno
Sergio Anlocotan Jr.
Jhunnard Jordan Cruz
Kim Parco
Renato Castelo
Warren Munar
Sherwin Santos
Omar Aguilar
Ronnie Riparip
Levy Portales

Susan Elizabeth Manucdoc
Rhona Flor de Pedro
Cecil Brazil
Ma. Cecilia Manalo
Lucille Ambal
Chona Marina
Vanessa Liano
Alvin Cano
Marvin Sayson
Francis Bungayan
Antonio Aniceto Jr.
Emmanuel Zuniga
Derick de la Cruz
Mitsuhiro Ogiya
Allan Lomboy
Raoul Labatete
Joven Sumangat

Likha-Pilipino Folk Ensemble
Felisa Alvarez
Beverly Buhain
Ronald Cabarloc
Edgardo Cruz
Eloise Cruz
Edward Cruz
Bernadette David
Manuel de Vera Jr.
Fides Enriquez
Maria Frianeza
Vincent Hutalla
Chariss Ilarina
John Laxa
Warren Manuntag
Ike Najarro
Kristin Nepacena
Michael Palad Jr.
Bryan Pangilinan
Laurie Quillope
Joseph Reyes
Angelo Salumpides
Paulino Tamayo
Angie Wilson

Mga Anak ni Inang Daigdig

Amante Villacorta
Abigail Vera
Butchoy Vera
Mark Anthony Ferreras
Diane Angelic Pido
Riza Rizabal
Geneva Rose Balaoro
Jogielyn Rosima
Unice Santiago
Nweme Gahunera
Alona Villacorta
Armie Zamora
Jelica Villacorta
Maricar Dacuno
Catherine Estorco
Aileen Somooc
Bonalyn Amestosa
Ma. Bernadette Rabelas
Merlita Balubal
Norielyn Quilloy
Ma. Virginia Cerillo
Derick Rizabal
Marvin Villarba
Carlo Vergara
Jayson Villacorta
Alvin Domingo
Arnold Zamora
Angelo Lipata
Jomar Arbosa

ROFG Music Ensemble
Orlando Ocampo
Romeo Medina
Michael Bayani
Rolando Jorge
Ernesto Layug
Caesar Marcelo
Geonyss Pascual
Isagani Lastra
June Sablawon
Lauro Pastrana

Guest Artists
Kathy Mae Dente

Over-all Concept and Design Artistic Director, Researcher and Choreographer
SONNY PEROCHO Technical Director and Lighting Designer
Music Director
DENNIS TAN Production Consultant
KIKAY Production Manager & Stage Manager
EMELITA MEDINA Costume Custodian and Tickets Coordinator
WARREN MUNAR Hair and Make-up
OMAR AGUILAR Photos Coordinator
REY HONRADO Food Sponsor Coordinator
Press Releases

Rudi Soriano, Artistic Director
Bryan Pangilinan, Rondalla Maestro Edward Cruz/Angelo Salumbides, Percussionist Directors
Sol Cuenco, Board Chairman Pol Gravador/Belle Hutalla/Warren Manunta/Alex Nepacena/Lucille Poblete/David Seigel
Board Members Epee Rafanan, Executive Director Lauren Steihauer, Art Director

Our heartfelt thanks to you all …


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