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2002 – Glimpses of ASEAN

PerformanceGlimpses of ASEAN
Date and TimeJul 13, 2002 – 3:00 PM and 8:00 PM (Gala)
Jul 14, 2002 – 3:00 PM
VenueCultural Center of the Philippines
TheaterTanghalang Nicanor Abelardo
TypeSeason Production


I. INDONESIA Shadows from the Ramayana/Pulao Kelapa * Tari Pendet * Rateuh
II. LAOS Labam
III. VIETNAM Co Gai Non Thonz
IV. CAMBODIA Excerpts from the Ramayana/Apsara
V. BRUNEI Kipas-Kipas * Aduk-Aduk
VI. PHILIPPINES Pandanggo sa Ilaw/Oasioas
VII. SINGAPORE Singapura Bandaraya * Biduh
VIII. MALAYSIA Wau Bulan * Masri Kerching * Kuda Kepang * Joget
X. THAILAND Loy Krathong * Therd Theung * Thai Classical Court Dance

CCP Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (Main Theater)
July 13, 2002 * 3PM & 8 PM
July 14, 2002 * 3 PM

Over the past thirty (30) years now, the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group (ROFG) has made an indelible mark in the world of dance through the presentation of authentic of more than fifty (50) ethnolinguistic groups in the Philippines.

Today, as part of the celebration of the 35th Anniversary of the ASEAN region, the ROFG goes beyond our borders and unfurls a rich and varied repertoire of the different cultural expressions of our Southeast Asian neighbors.

The ROFG, under the leadership of Ramon Obusan, has always been an active promoter of the ASEAN spirit of unity in diversity through its dances and music. In 1992, the ROFG was the official Philippine representative to the First Joint ASEAN Performing Troupe. At the CCP alone, the ROFG has mounted two (2) much-applauded productions with ASEAN themes.

In its travels abroad as participant in dance festivals, tourism events and cultural exchanges, the ROFG would always find the opportunity to learn varied songs and dances of its ASEAN counterparts, and they would afterwards interpret these in performances here and abroad with unfailing fidelity to even the minutest details and nuances of every gesture, costume and prop.

Obra Maestra 3 : Glimpses of ASEAN is a dazzling tapestry of dances, songs, rituals and music of the ten ASEANmember countries, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. It is the result of many creative interactions and exchanges the ROFG has had with the ASEAN artists.

We congratulate the ROFG, and the other dance troupes performing with the group – SLPC Sinag Banahaw Cultural Troupe, Lyceum of the Philippines, Mariano Marcos Memorial High School and the Mga Anak ni Inang Daigdig or the children of Smokey Mountain – for their contributions to the celebration of the thirty (35) years of ASEAN brotherhood.

Mabuhay tayong lahat!


Vice-President & Artistic Director


The ASEAN Region has come of age. Added to the concern about economics, security and politics are the dance and musical traditions, finally recognized for the influence and force they have on the well-being of the ASEAN people.

It is indeed time to recognize similiarities between our nations and put them into general view with an instrument – DANCE, by which we can foster unity among ourselves. An event precisely in this vein remains one of my greatest joys : the formation of the Joint ASEAN Performing Troupe in 1992 where I was chosen as Artistic Director and the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group as the Philippine representative. It was a position I dearly held with no small feeling of pride, further increasing the realization that not only did I have an office by which i could express my art, but also contribute to the cooperation between nations. .

GLIMPSES OF ASEAN is a test of the skill of the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group, if the 30 years of experience in Filipino dance tradition have given them the flexibility to approximate, closest to the original, the music and dances of our ASEAN neighbors.
GLIMPES OF ASEAN is intended, even in the smallest way, to view the ASEAN as a single homogenous region – one in movement, one in step, one in music and one in dance.

Artistic Director


The Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group (ROFG) celebrates 30 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 thirty years, the ROFG has created a niche in the world of dance as forerunner of Philippine folk dance performed closest to the original. Boasting of over a thousand performances in the Philippines and abroad, the ROFG is one of the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ leading resident companies since 1986.
Under the able leadership of its founder and Artistic Director, Choreographer and Researcher-Ramon A. Obusan, it has so far gone on three successful European Tours performing in 13 countries including Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, France, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Yugoslavia, Greece, Italy, Spain, and Austria in 1987, 1990 and 1993.
In the 8th Hong Kong Festival of Asian Arts 1983, critics showered the ROFG with praises describing it as “the stuff an arts festival should be made of”. Three years after, in the 1986 Expo in Canada, its 21 shows ended in 21 standing ovations. 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 extensive 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 Joint ASEAN Performing Troupe in 1991 and the ROFG as the official Philippine representative. In 1994, it was the only Filipino company asked to perform for six months at 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. In the year 2000, the company received the ASEAN Travel Awards for Cultural Preservation in the tourism congress in Thailand besting other contenders. In 2002, the company traveled to South Korea, London, U.S.A. and Baghdad, Iraq for a series of special performances. It was also awarded the Sining Kalinangan Award of the City of Manila as outstanding folk dance company in the same year.
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 more than twenty 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 30 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. –

Choreographer, dancer, scholar and researcher. The son of Praxedes Obusan, a physician, and Josefina Arevalo, a music teacher, he went to the University of the Philippines for degrees in fisheries technology and cultural anthropology. He taught for several years at the Aklan National School of Fisheries, then became a dancer and researcher of the Bayanihan Philippine Dance Company.
In 1971 he founded the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group, and has since choreographed and directed for some 65 dance groups and over 100 productions nationwide – dance, pageants, festivals, special events, competitions, exhibits, television, movies and video-films.
His productions include the full-length presentations, notable are Kayaw ’68 and Kayaw ’74, Maynila – Isang Dakilang Kasaysayan (Manila – Its Noble History), Kaamulan (Gathering), Noon Po Sa Amin (The Way it Was), Sayaw – Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo (Dance – Filipino’s Gift to the World), Ritwal (Ritual), Under the ASEAN Sky, Glimpses of ASEAN, Philippine Festivals, Tausug Tapestry and Rare and Unpublished Dances of the Philippines series. He has collaborated in various film projects, among them American Ninja, Banawe, Hubad na Gubat (Naked Forest), The King and the Emperor, Maligayang Pasko (Merry Christmas), Noli Me Tangere, Waywaya and Rizal. His own group has joined international festivals and expositions in over 100 countries since 1974. It has also toured the Philippines extensively.
Through the years, Ramon Obusan has studied and documented the indigenous culture of Phil- . ippine ethnic groups from north to south, focusing on rites and traditions. Proof of these life-work of over three decades is a compilation of over 200 audio and video-documentation of this researches as well as a collection of museum artifacts. He has also done research on the Polynesian culture of Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti and New Zealand, and given lectures, demonstrations, and workshops worldwide. Obusan tries to keep his folk dance presentations authentic by using actual movement patterns, costumes, and music even as dances go on-stage.
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, 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 participation to the Smithosnian Folklife Festival in Washington D.C., USA in July 1998. In 1999, he was one of the 100 artists awarded in the CCP Centennial Honors for the Arts.

Ten nations, ten cultures.
A performance of cultures without borders, RAMON OBUSAN’s OBRA MAESTRA 3: GLIMPSES OF ASEAN showcases the dances, songs, rituals and music of the ten ASEAN-member countries, an ASEAN rich in culture and tradition. It unravels a gathering of nations merged in their delightful diversities but rejoicing in one magnificent picture of a peaceful and united region.
The Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group has always been part of many great ASEAN activities, gatherings and festivals. In 1991 it was chosen as the official Philippine representative to the First Joint ASEAN Performing Troupe with Ramon Obusan chosen as Artistic Director and Choreographer. At the CCP, the ROFG mounted two wellreceived productions with ASEAN themes. Until now, the ROFG has thoroughly documented and studied the many dances of their ASEAN counterparts making sure each gesture, movement, costume and prop are approximated to its purest form. Today, the ROFG continues to perform ASEAN dances and playing its music propagating and promoting the ASEAN spirit.
The program features high points in the stylized movements of Brunei Darussalam; the trance-like dances of Cambodia; the magic and mysticism of Indonesia’s ritualistic dances; the colorful and pulsating joget steps of Malaysia; the mesmerizing simplicity of traditional Laotian movements and an exhaustive but impressive dance from Myanmar. It also showcases the variety of Singapore’s multi-racial dances; the exotic royal court dances of Thailand and a folkish but elegant village girls’ dance from Viet Nam. This is capped with a cross-sectional collection of Philippine dances.
Glimpses… emphasizes the strong bond that threads through all the ten ASEAN countries. It celebrates unity in diversity. It commemorates 35 wonderful years of ASEAN brotherhood.

Brunei Darussalam
It was in January 1984 that Brunei Darussalam resumed its status as a fully independent sovereign nation, but it had been an established settlement ever since the 16th century as far as studies show. This oil-rich Islamic sultanate on the north-western coast of Borneo is known for its magnificent mosques, water villages, virgin rainforests that cover 70% of the country and their own version of Disneyland, Jerudong Park. Most of its inhabitants are Moslems, Islam having been introduced in the 13th century from the Middle East. Brunei is deeply steeped in Malay tradition, and it is often that one sees a similarities in its dances and those of neighboring Malaysia. Still the Bruneians enjoy the thrill of being pampered citizens and having the highest per capita income in the world as their living standards show. Also, the tenets and moral codes of religion show strongly in their dances – the soles of the feet and the armpits are never shown, the female dances never stare at the males and an apparent show of respect towards authority.

Aduk-Aduk. Literally means gathering, the dance is a form of a silat (Malay martial art form) using two coconut shells clicked in unison.

Kipas-Kipas. Maidens perform gentle and languid movements with their fans
and delicate shoulder scarves.

Royal Kingdom of Cambodia
Cambodia is the successor state of the Khmer empire. It has a rich culture dating back many centuries when the Angkor civilization was the region’s most developed. The magnificent temples built between the 9th and 13th century to glorify the succession of the Khmer kings remain one of the world’s great ancient wonders and the jewel of them all, Angkor Wat is the world’s largest religious monument. Cambodia’s scenic natural beauty and heritage of French culture are what makes it a charming country. From unspoiled beaches, fascinating markets, river cruises, rainforests, and the isolated hilltribe peoples are part of its unique attractions. Khmer dance, song and arts are sophisticated and integral to the people’s ordinary life.

Excerpts from Ramayana/Apsara. Cambodia’s rich version of the epic Ramayana centering on its main characters Rama and Sita, Hanuman, the monkey
and the evil giant Rawahna.

Republic of Indonesia
Indonesia is a land of many cultures. It is composed of more than 17,000 islands, of which only about 6,000 are inhabited by 300 ethnic groups and stretching almost 5,000 kilometers from the Asian mainland into the Pacific Ocean. The islands offer breathtaking natural beauty, imposing volcanoes and mountains, tropical forests and beaches. Indonesia offers the blend of scenic beauty, fauna and flora, culture and religion. Devotees worship in temples of at least five different religions. Art has therefore become diverse but an integral topic in the lives of its people and dance has developed in myriad forms, considered as the crystallization of the people’s thoughts and activities through the poetry of movement and rhythm. It is in this immense accumulated repertoire of dance that the country finds its point of unity in diversity, Training for dance is given to children as soon as they are able to walk. Development of this sense of discipline in the young benefits the country. In the complex assortment to be found in ethnic heritage, indigenous dance still remains a facet firmly rooted in Indonesia’s identity.

Shadows of Ramayana/Pulao Kelapa. Excerpts from Indonesia’s famous wayang-kulit shadow-play featuring Rama and Sita, accompanied by the song Pulao Kelapa bringing out the true sentiments of a people.

Tari Pendet. More popularly known as legong, this dance features young Balinese girls bearing ritual gifts to the gods in the temple’s courtyard. Trained at a very young age, the girls move in precise dance movements.

Sitya Hati. Translated as “glory of the heart”, a martial art form dramatically performed with no musical accompaniment except for one’s own rhythm, thereby giving emphasis to concentration and discipline.

Rateuh. A West Sumatran dance where rhythm in clockwork precision is given the greatest consideration, this heart-stopping dance rises to a peak from a possibility that a single false move may ruin the performance.

Lao People’s Democratic Republic
Bordered by Thailand, Cambodia, Viet Nam, China and Myanmar, Lao was formerly a French-Indochinese state. As the only landlocked ASEAN nation, Lao retains a remarkable serenity and timeless charm. The country has the most pristine ecology among its neighbors. Its mountains and plateaus are inhabited by 47 minority tribes that offers many insights into their ancient traditions and the arts. The Lao culture is mainly centered around Buddhism and its people are skilled carvers as shown by its intricately carved sacred pagodas that are found all over the country. Cotton and silk weaving is highly developed, distinct and prized. Many festivals correspond to the Buddhist calendar. The Bun Nam or Water Festival is a colorful sight as village boats compete in river races thoughout the country.

Labam. One of the most popular court dances performed in Laos. Maidens are dressed in the most exotic costumes move about in almost hypnotic steps under out-size
ceremonial umbrellas for which the country is noted for.

In the heart of Southeast Asia lies one of the world’s most enchanting lands – Malaysia. A tropical paradise of immense charm, Malaysia is a veritable treasure trove of diverse cultures and hospitable people, exotic cuisine, fascinating festivals, quaint villages and modern skylines. Bordered by Thailand to the north, Singapore and Indonesia to the south and southeast, Malaysia also stretches across the northern tier of Borneo to form the states of Sarawak and Sabah. Its wide spans of jungle have limited interaction between separate societies producing diversity in its ethnic traditions. The sultanates of the past have also contributed to this multitude of color which characterizes Malaysian culture. Its West Coast brushes the strategic shipping lanes off the Straits of Malacca, and western influence has been strong enough to change the outlook of Malaysians towards the performing arts. Ingenuity is shown with the blending of Eastern traditions with Western ways, and the beautiful result is what Malaysia considers its present arts. With this, dances are transformed from the traditional orang asli tribal dances to zapin, joget and ina which obviously have Western influence. As Malaysia’s economy and industry moves forward in leaps and bounds, its traditional arts, specially music and dance, have shown a commensurate progress.

Wau Bulan. This is Malaysia’s expression for the joy of living. Colorful kites called wau, not only representthe souring spirit of playful children but has been adapted as the national symbol of the country as well.

Masri Kerching. Unmistakably Midlle East in origin, dancers move and sway reminiscent of belly-dancers from the Middle East. Tambourines are struck in time to a lilty Arabian tune.

Kuda Kepang. Young boys playfully imitate wild horsemen of Johor.

Joget. Malaysia’s most popular form of dance revealing strong Western influence. The joget
has many variations but it is characterized by lilty quick-steps and fast-paced music.

Union of Myanmar
Myanmar, once called Burma is Asia’s hidden destination with abundant cultural diversities for all. Myanmar’s natural environment is equally brilliant with many parts of the country still covered in rainforest, while rice paddies dominate much of the remainder. It is the only country in the Southeast Asia with snow-capped mountains. Myanmar is also one of the most isolated and exotic countries in the region that offers rich cultural traditions that have developed with limited outside contact. Myanmar is so full of history and very rich in cultural heritage. Bagan is one of the famous archeaological sites in Asia while Mandalay is the center of Myanmar’s traditional arts and crafts. Myanmar has 135 ethnic groups with their own dialects, colorful costumes, traditions and festivals offering a unique variety of dance, drama and puppetry. The simple hospitality of the Myanmar people is legendary in the world.

Nabathwa. No other Myanmar dance brings out the skill and dexterity of a dancer. One wonders how a lady in a very tight skirt and a long loose tail can bend and twist through the dance without tripping over or losing a beat. Her unusual dance interpretation attracts a suitor who performs with her in a courtship dance.

Republic of the Philippines
An archipelago of 7,107 islands, the Philippines lies southeast of mainland Asia replete with sun-drenched and beautiful beaches, towering volcano peaks, varied flora and fauna and magnificent landscapes. The islands have always presented a physical barrier to the country’s formation of one homogenous culture. To the north and mid-section of the country lie traditions much influenced by European ideas while at the southern tip are to be found expressions that borrow heavily from the Islamic countries that lie near it. In the highlands are examples that have developed indigenously, free from the touch of the outside world due to their isolation. This variety is much evident in the country’s dances and the arts in general. Indeed, the Philippines has been a melting pot of different cultures for many centuries, and any comprehensive presentation of the country’s dances will inevitably be a cross-sectional picture of this diversity.

Pandanggo sa Ilaw/Oasioas. Two dances using lights, one from Mindoro island where dancers balance oil lamps on their heads and on their palms, while the other from Pangasinan uses lamps wrapped in
colorful scarves to provide beacon for fishermen coming home from the sea.

Republic of Singapore
From its beginnings as an island of fishing villages called Temasek, Singapore had grown into a free trading port under British rule and finally into the independent, bustling commercial and industrial center of today. A vibrant multi-cultural, cosmoplitan, sophisticated city-state where tradition and modernity, East and West, meet and mingle harmoniously, Singapore is the leading financial and commercial hub in the ASEAN region. In the course of its history it has collected to comprise its more that 3 million people, a large group of Chinese (76%), Malayans (15%), and Pakistanis and Indians (7%) plus a spattering of Eurasians and Europeans (2%). Each ethnic group, though being identified as part of the multi-racial community that is Singapore, managed to retain its own traditional culture. It is no wonder therefore that traditional dances of the country retain their distinct identities as Chinese, Malay or Indian.

Singapura Bandaraya. A mini-suite of dances highlighting the multi-racial, multi-layered Singapore,
touching on the vibrancy of each ethnic group, colorful activities and the merry-mix of people.

Biduh. A playful interlude involving three ladies and a gentleman executing typical
steps and movements from the Bharata Natyam.

Royal Kingdom of Thailand
Thailand is the kingdom of saffron-robed monks, temple spires and Budhhas of solid gold. Rich and varied natural scenery ranges from northern misty mountains and jungles, through emerald ricefields in the central plains, to east coast and southern palm-fringed beaches and lush tropical islands. In it, traditional arts such as theater and within its genre, dance, are cultivated by the court and the public. Thai song, dance and music are intricate and graceful. Thus several forms of performance art from the khon or the masked pantomime, the nang or shadow puppet theater to the more regional dances such as therd theung or dance of the long drums and rabam performed by court dancers have been continually developed. Dancers are selected according to physique with the most handsome tapped to play Rama, the most beautiful Sita, and the squat Hanuman or the monkey in the Ramayana epic. Retained in all these dances, however are the peculiarly stylized movements and positions of the hands and feet that make Thai dance very distinctive.

Loy Krathong. When the moon is full and the music enticing, the Thais go to the river to
celebrate and float colorful lighted paper flowers for the Loy Krathong festival.

Therd Theung. Long-drum dance. In the past this dance used to accompany monks on their way to the temple but since then it has been adapted for stage with male dancers beating on drums while courting ladies.

Co Gai Nonz Thon. A bountiful rice harvest brings maidens out into a celebration. Dainty but measured
movements create a wholesome picture of a bucolic Viet Nam village.

The Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group would like to thank the following
for making GLIMPSES OF ASEAN possible :
Senator Tessie Aquino-Oreta * H.E. Ambassador Ek Sereywath (Royal Embassy of Cambodia) Mr. Tony and Ms. Madeliene Tuviera * Ms. Mara Enrile * Ms. Che-Che Lazro * Mrs. Armita Rufino * Ms. Mia Concio Mr. Joey Isabelo * Mr. Dennis Julio Tan * Ms. Viz Bolanos *
Mr. Benjie Poblete * Ms. Charie Lagdameo Mr. Nestor and Ms. Iris Isla * Mr. Bill and Ms. Sonia Menor * Ms. Dulce Obusan Dr. Larry Gabao * Ms. Anabelle Cabacang * Mr. Conrado Contreras * Mr. Crispin Gemina
Mr. Raul Nepomuceno Jr. * Mr. Ricardo Cruz * Mr. Jeph Ramos
* Mr. Andrew Baldonado * Mr. Alfie Franco
Southern Luzon Polytechnic College (Lucban, Quezon)
Philippine Normal University Mariano Marcos Memorial High School
Lakandula High School
Carlos P. Garcia High School Mga Anak ni Inang Daigdig (Children from Smokey Mountain)
Don Bosco Catholic School (Makati) Quezon National High School (Lucban, Quezon)


Artistic Director Concept, Choreography, Production & Costume Design
SONNY PEROCHO Technical Director & Lighting Designer
KIKAY Production & Stage Manager EMELITA OBUSAN-MEDINA
Costume Mistress SHERWIN SANTOS
Props and Sets
Programs Video & TV Coverage by : NBN 4 * CCP Cultural Promotions

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