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2005 – Vamos a Belen 2005

PerformanceVamos a Belen 2005
Date and TimeDec 29, 2005 – 08:00 PM
Dec 30, 2005 – 03:00 PM
VenueCultural Center of the Philippines
TheaterTanghalang Nicanor Abelardo
TypeSeason Production

Cultural Center of the Philippines
presents the

Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group
Vamos aBelen
Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater)
December 29, 2005 • 8PM / December 30, 2005 • 3PM.


Ang kahalagahan ng PASTORES sa sangkatauhang may takot at pagsamba sa Diyos. Tulad ng mga pastol sa Bethlehem noong unang pasko, sana ay mai-alay natin sa Niño sa belen ang ating sarili, ang kapayapaan at pagmamahal. Ialay na rin natin ang tradisyon ng pastores sa susunod na saling lahi…
Maligayang Pasko Mapayapang Bagong Taon.

Artistic Director

The Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group (ROFG) celebrates its 33 years of preservation and perpetuation of Philippine traditions with special emphasis on music and dance.

Founded in 1972, the ROFG started as a fledgling folk dance company, composed of some thirty performers. Leaning on the vast amount of data and artifacts that he has 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-three 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 was so far gone on three successful European tours 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 later in the 1986 Expo in Canada, its 21 shows ended in 21 standing ovations. In 1992, the group was the first Filipino performing artist to receive resounding applause and standing ovations for all its performances in Japan under the auspices of Min-On. The group had its first extensive American Tour in 1994 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, the ROFG helped raise HK1.5M for OCW’s in Hong Kong when they performed for a fund-raising event sponsored by the Hong Kong Bayanihan Trust.

April and May 1996 saw the group in 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 and 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 Award for Cultural Preservation in the tourism congress in Thailand besting other contenders. In 2001, 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 folkdance company in the same year. 2002 AND 2003 saw the ROFG in the Prince Hotel’s Philippine Food Festival in Hong Kong for three successful days in December. The company is now preparing for its 3-week performance tour of Hawaii in March 2006 as part of the celebrations of the Centennial of Filipino Migration in the U.S.A. under the auspices of the East-West Center.

Through steep 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 33 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 the fast fading Filipino traditions.

Cherry Ylanan • Raul Nepomuceno • Christine Carol Singson Marciano Viri • Emelita Medina • Sergio Anlocotan • Marie Ruby Ocampo • Jhunnard Jhordan Cruz. Jessa Enriquez Alvin Cano Ana Christine Pido . Omar Aguilar • Diane Angelic Pido • Ronald Asuncion • Marie Anthonette Rebanal Mark Angelo Ferreras Anne Lloraine Medina • Luisito Legaspi • Shyme Jeremy Arellano • Richard Signo • Shiela Mae Delalamon • Orlando Ocampo • Christine Laura Singson • Michael Bayani • Faye Tancinco • Joey Fungan . Jubelyn Alcantara • Christoper Perez Mary Grace Magaling • Luke Anthony Singson • Kanami Namiki Jose Roel Oga • Princess Virtudazo • Mark Roy Magaling Jennette Balian • Genesis Amolo • Sheena Lou Tesalona Ronaldo Mendoza • Julie Ann Casem • Abel Capampangan Shiela Mae Delalamon • Ron Brian Ramirez • Ma. Patricia Lauren Velasco • Rigor Zeus Daog • Paula Margaret Ferreras Franklyn Lobos • Sam Jazmine Arellano • Michael Angelo Medina • Kristina Marie Parato • Joana Wendy Alidon • Lalaine Delalamon • Ma. Diana Donaire • Hennessy Ferreras • Mikee Gemmema So • Amery Amor Torres

Dr. Clair Z. Manalo, AVP for Student Affairs Mrs. Loreto Panganiban, Coordinator Dr. Jonathan Catapang, AdviserZeline Jollana Angus • Felixberto Almeria • Everly Grace Aspi Joseph Jansen Aragon • Daisy Danica Brual • Adrianne Catahan Kristine Ellaine Cariaso • Michael De Castro • April Rose Emperador • Henry Dela Cruz Jr. • Aubrey Espera. Jeremil Ellado • Melissa Alexandrea Laure • John Jeffrey Salapare Gloryner Mia . Jorim Sampayan • Clarence Claire Christina Ngo • Daryl Separo Daphne Pambid • Gizelle Panganiban • Maricar Sayenga • Gia Eisen Soriano • Ma. Christina Sy • Carla Andrelle Tambis • Lolou Rose Yaranon • Angelyn Castillo

SINAG BANAHAW CULTURAL TROUPE Southern Luzon Polytechnic College
Victor Francia, AdviserBerlinda Paroan • Levy Portales • Judy Ana Macaraan • Albert Obina • Aizel Cardoza • Kim Laurence Arenas • Jaycebille Noble Francia • Jojo Oabel. Mylen Salvatus • Jude Azada • Rivina Rosales • Alexis Igloria . Mylene San Miguel • Dennis Aldene Nombrefia • Queen Donna Lynn Portes • Maria Donna Cosejo

Ma. Donna Cosejo, Adviser ,Kristine Joyce Peregrim • Ralph Raymond Jusi • Jennifer Anne Palma • Kenneth John Peregrim • Arabelle Comia • Mark Roland Afunggol • Kimberly Malubago • Allan Aranas • Liana Marie Mijares • Ralph Darell Mateo

Gabing Payapa. A song about the peaceful and quiet night when the Christ Saviour was borne.

I. POSADAS (Search for an Inn) Posadas is Mexican for “inn”. In the Philippines the posadas is the re-enactment of the search for an inn by Mary and Joseph who sing and recite verses pleading to heartless innkeepers for a place for the night. The posadas is popularized as the Panunuluyan (Tagalog), Kagharong (Bicol) Panarit (Waray), Ensayo (Southern Leyte) and Maytinis (Cavite). In the hands of the creative Filipino, the posadas, with its message of salvation and peace, metamorphosed into many delightful versions. The many years of ROFG’s researches found many Philippine posadas, first introduced to Mexico by the Spaniards. The practice traveled via the Acapulco galleons to the Philippines and since then, the posadas has been the centerpiece in the celebration of Christmas in all Christian centers of the country. Four of which are interpreted here by the ROFG.

Ensayo (Libagon, Southern Leyte). Utterly simple. A poor Mary and Joseph clad in pieces of curtain materials and faded blankets knock on doors of makeshift huts or barong-barong for a place to stay for the night, pleading their intentions in Cebuano. Kagharong (Sto. Niño, Pilar, Sorsogon). Unusual. All inns are over-crowded with early arrivals. Mary and Joseph are shove off by the innkeeper and his guests. The Bicol Region’s Mary and Joseph are usually portrayed by a couple in their late 70’s reciting verses and sing in the dialect. Panarit (Laurente, Eastern Samar). Panarit is to reject or refuse in Waray. Mary and Joseph are accompanied by a chorus that sings in the sing-song manner requesting for a place to rest. The main characters simply act with no singing or speaking parts. Maytinis (Kawit, Cavite). Maytinis, taken from the Latin word matins which means prayers to God at midnight vespers. Historic Kawit has the most impressive search-for-an-inn interpretation including a parade procession, small floats, thousands of walking contingents, a singing and acting Mary and Joseph and four innkeepers waiting on decorated porches of designated houses. The maytinis procession snakes through selected streets of Kawit on Christmas Eve and culminates in the old stone church where a Misa de Gallo or Midnight Mass is said.

II. VAMOS A BELEN (The Nativity Scene) Popularly known as the belen, short for Bethlehem it is a living tableau representing the glorious nativity scene. Perhaps the oldest Filipino Christmas symbol, the belen or crèche is believed to have been started by St. Francis de Asisi, originating from Italy, adopted in Spain, traveled to Mexico and finally introduced to the Philippines in the early 1700’s. Young girls dressed up as angels sing heavenly praises, strew flowers about while leading the tired couple to the belen.
Niño Dormido (Sleeping Child). Each year in Bakong, Negros Oriental, as in many places in the Philippines, a prominent and respected lady is chosen to be the Hermana. As the Hermana, she is given the honor of walking the main door to the belen set-up in the altar cradling a Niño Dormido which she gently lays in the manger. She is accompanied in her walk by a brass band playing overtures and a spirited choral rendition of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus. Sayaw Ning Bitoon (Dance of the Stars). Still popular in many old churches of the Visayan and Bicol regions is the dance of the star lanterns. The one of Bacong highlights a sun-lantern, starlantern and a comet-lantern, each different, each fabulously embellished. One after the other the lanterns glide and dance on strings extending overhead between the choir loft and the belen in the altar. The first two dances ahead while the comet accompanies the Hermana’s ceremonial walk. Tulo Ka Hari (Adoration of the Magi). Very much part of the re-enactment of the first Christmas is the visit of the three wise men, all dressed in resplendent majestic costumes. Each King is accompanied by individual entourages, bringing gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh.
III. PASTORA (Waray Christmas Suite) Several popular Waray versions of the pastores always include the posadas or the Christmas story, three kings, angels and the pastores shepherds. Songs and verses are sang and recited in Spanish, Latin and in
Waray. The suite is culminated by a social dance on Christmas Eve then followed by the standard fare of any Waray party – the kuracha.
Villansicos (Traditional Carolers). Troubadours or roaming singers dressed in traditional Cordova costumes sing spirited Spanish Christmas carols moving from house to house for a few pesos accompanied by a string band or rondalla. Pastores Mercedes (Mercedes, Eastern Samar). Young girls of Mercedes, Eastern Samar wear dainty pastel doll dresses dance with beautiful flower baskets while singing a Spanish carol or Villansico. Engañosa (Social Dance). Still one of the most popular double quadrilles performed on the eve of Christmas by the rich and landed Warays on the eve of Christmas. Kuracha (The Waray’s trademark dance). This ever-popular dance obviously of Mexican origin is still the darling of any festivities and gatherings. Fired by Samar’s favorite drink – tuba, Kuracha competitions attract the best dancers of the town ending with the choosing of the best Kuracha pair.

III. PASKUA-AN (llocano Christmas Suite) Riding high on the spirit of the season, the religious llocanos dedicate their year-end activities to church and the preparations to welcome the Savior. The rich, the poor everyone in Ilocos welcome Christmas in their most appropriate ways.

Infantes Ken Tubtubong (Sanches Mira, Cagayan). Sanchez Mira town dresses up for Christmas like any other place in Cagayan Valley. The center of the celebration is the only known version of the pastores, known as infantes. Young girls click bamboo castanets singing, dancing and reciting praises to the New Born King in Ibanag. Boys of the same age beat a rhythm on colorfully decorated bamboo internodes called tubtubong. Taking inspiration from a long-treasured German postcard, two elderly sisters who started the first performances of infantes dressing the dancers in Bavarian costume. Palo-palo (Sabtang, Batanes). Sabtang, a small island in the Batanes group of islands boast of a one-ofa-kind mock battle fought by the Christians against the non-believers. The protagonists strike each other with two fighting sticks called palo-palo, from which the dance got its name. After a series of losing and winning the non-believers are finally defeated and converted to Christianity. Christmas is the best time to perform the palo-palo. Nasudi (llocos Norte). The most popular of all rustic dances of the locos region, nasudi competitions are held at Christmastime as part of the town’s celebration of the holidays. Osi-Osi (Cagayan Valley). Osi is short for St. Joseph whose feast-day falls sometime in March. A dance to honor him, also called Osi-osi is performed at Christmastime together with other dances related to the season. Baile Navidad (Christmas Ball). Popular until the 30’s, Christmas was not without the much-awaited social gathering where friends, family and acquaintances come to celebrate the happiest season of the year. Dressed in imported European gowns, smelling of French perfume, guests wined, dined and waltzed all night to Strauss music played by an inspired symphony orchestra. The party is temporary interrupted when the church bells call for the midnight Mass. After church everybody rushes back to the party to continue their merrymaking until the wee hours of the morning.

IV. PASTORES A BELEN (Bicol Christmas Suite) The Bicol region is considered the center of the pastores and posadas traditions. Nearly every town or barrio has a distinguishing version. There are two age-groups of pastores. The first is composed of young and energetic girls, the second of senior members way past their 70’s. By the looks of things, these great Christmas traditions are quickly sliding into obscurity.

Hagbong (Camarines Norte). In the rustic town of Vinzons, the hagbong is both a celebration and an impressive bamboo arch laden with farm produce set up in front of chosen houses. It is a delightful way of announcing the start of the Christmas season and wishing the family the blessings of the season. Pastores Camalig (Camalig, Albay). Camalig, a small town that sits on the slope of the majestic Meeting Mayon wakes up to the songs, music and dances of the pastores groups of children moving from house to house singing in Spanish, Latin and Bicol. Pastores Maliliput (Malilipot, Albay). The pastores a belen song composed by Dr. Jose Rizal while on exile in Dapitan is the main song danced to by senior citizen ladies of the interior town of Malilipot. Dressed in bright colored multi-tiered skirts the dancers sway their way into the hearts of their townmates. Cariñosa/Pantomina. Christmas Eve is always the best night to remember in Bicolandia. It is on this extraordinary night when a grand social ball attracts the best of pantomina and cariñosa dancers each competing in grace, agility, style and even fashion.

(Central Visayan Suite) Provinces that comprise the Central Visayas region turns out with a merry mix of holidays and festivals. From a simple birthday party to a fiesta to a religious celebration up to Christmas, Central Visayas takes the cake when it comes to feasting.

Prusisyon (Procession). Fisher folk, farmers and families sing Visayan daigon or carols in a very peculiar manner while accompanying an image of the Nazareno in a procession leading to the beach. Fish traps nets, baskets and paddles sway to banjo music. Nazareno (Siaton, Negros Oriental). A pastores divertissement. Observing their Christian neighbors, the Agta (Negrito) of Siaton, Negros Oriental came up with their own version of the pastores. However, since they do not have a Baby Jesus, they use the only saint they have – Jesus of Nazarene. Pastores Kalawit (Kalawit, Camotes Island, Cebu). Unique features. Grandmothers of a fishing village don short baby dresses and tinfoil crowns, making them look like super heroes then perform this special pastores. This dance is divided into two parts. The pastores proper inviting everyone to the belen, and the second called ekstra is a bastardized version of dance steps the likes of pachanga and can-can simply entertain and bring joy to admirers. Pasaylu-a (Cebu City). A Cebuano daigon or carol pleading for a place to stay excerpt from the posada story popular in metropolitan Cebu and other Visayan towns.

EPILOGUE Pandanggo sa ilawl Oasiwas. A divertissement, the famous dance of the lights is incorporated into the age-old practice of the simbang gabi (Midnight Mass) better known as Misa de Aguinaldo. Christian liturgy and church rituals introduced by Spanish priest to the natives were interpreted into various practices, some innovated including the Misa de Aguinaldo, in order to fit into the agricultural rhythm of the farmers.

Some Enchanted Christmas. The most wonderful time of the year! Christmas is overwhelming, enchanting, magical, simply spectacular Disneyland personified. Like a child lost in fantasy land, Christmas is never short of merriment, lights, gifts, food, dazzling decorations, laughter and joy. But along the way all these icing and garnishing seemingly pushed aside the true meaning of Christmas– Peace on Earth and Goodwill to Man!
Maligayang Pasko at Mapayapang Bagong Taon

Production Staff
Artistic Director Concept, Choreography Production and Costume Design

Dance Directors

Technical Director and Lighting Design Member, PATDAT/OISTAT

Music Director

Rondalla Master

Production and Stage Manager

Voice Trainer

Costume Mistress/Finance Officer

Photo Documentation

Artistic Consultant

Set Consultant Member, PATDAT/OISTAT

Marketing & Ticket Sales

Program Design , Lay-out Artist

Video Documentation

Props and Sets

Hon. Mayor Wenceslao “Peewee” Trinidad
Hon. Mayor Nestor Alvarez
Ms. Elvira Go
Mr. Randy Guevarra
Iris and Nestor Isla
Amy and Ivan Obusan
Ms. Cheche Lazaro
Mr. Howie Severino
Mr. Mark Floro
Ms. Tammy Takagi
Ms. Leslie Noble
Dinah and Francis Sario
Centro Escolar University
Quezon National High School
Southern Luzon Polytechnic College
CCP Cultural Promotions
Department of Tourism, Pasay

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