|Unpublished Dances of the Philippines Series 5|
|Date and Time||Jul 7 , 2006 – 10:00 AM and 8:00 PM (Gala)|
Jul 8 , 2006 – 3:00 PM and 8:00 PM
Jul 9 , 2006 – 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM
|Venue||Cultural Center of the Philippines|
|Theater||Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo|
mga makabuluhan at malalalim na kaugalian at tradisyon
na malugod na inihandog sa atin ng ating mga ninuno.
Marahil, napagtanto ng mga unang tao ang kahalagahan at dahilan kung bakit
nanatili sa kanila at malugod nilang ipinasa sa atin
ang mga walang kapantay na tradisyon, pagsamba
at pag-aaral na ito, upang tayo naman
ang makinabang ng biyaya na kanilang natamasa.
ugat na malalim na nakakapit sa ating pinagmulan
ay malugod na binubuhay ng Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group
upang kahit sa isang maliit na paraan ay mapasalamatan natin ang ating mga ninuno na nakaisip na panatilihin at ihandog ang mga ito sa mga susunod na salin lahi… tayong mga Pilipino.
Ritual Roots ay ang Pilipino…
ang kanyang pagkatao…
Mabuhay ang tradisyong Pilipino!
RAMON AREVALO OBUSAN
Direktor Pansining Pambansang Alagad ng Sining para sa Sayaw
1. Pag-Islam: Of Circumcision and Rites of Passage
Sirong sa Ganding
II. Old Batanes: Of the Philippines’ Northernmost Frontier
La Jota Cagayana
La Jota Ivatan Infantes
III. Baybaylan: Of Shamans and Mystique Prayers
Tawgon Hapnon (Talaandig)
IV. Kasal lloco: Of Bride Buying and Weddings
V. Pang-Ulo: Of Hats and Headgears
Ramon Arevalo Obusan
A Life Into Rite
Fear and Fascination. These are the diurnal encounters of Ramon Arevalo Obusan, intensifying since he founded his folkloric group in 1971. These may also describe what’s inside the man for the past 35 years in order to set his extensive research and repertoire in Philippine dance. Which have both been solid and prized scholarly resource for us at home, and living treasures for the rest of the world to marvel at: about who and what we are, Filipinos.
Who could have provoked a critic in a Hong Kong festival to say that these are “the stuff an art festival should be made of”? Not only to be startled by but also to believe in, in the verity and variety of a people’s folk expressions.
Obusan himself said of an obsession, “As an anthropologist-ehtnologist, I am trusting a ray of hope into the grim fact that if we did not take time to understand the underlying influence or force that these rituals have on us, and save what is left of their forms, all this ongoing destruction will throw us blind, leaving these rituals as displaced, out-of-context pieces of puzzle of our cultural heritage.”
This cultural concern is broad and deep: from this Bicolano who personifies all of us in his scouring our islands, who relentlessly communes with our peoples and their cultures, and who gives us and the rest of the world a total picture of these ethnographic pieces he speaks of. But beside other researchers and choreographers, and other folk groups, Obusan often goes beyond the easily panoramic and now formulaic presentation of those pieces.
What first won me over, from this man I did not then know, was his second Kayaw presentation in 1974 at the new Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). Factual yet fascinating as it was, it veered away from the usual and digestible series of regional and variegated suites that seductively spellbind foreign eyes in our folkloric groups’ global tours, since the successes of the Bayanihan, Barangay and Far Eastern University groups in the late ’50s.
Kayaw focused on the ritual traditions of the Kalinga, Benguet, Bontoc, Apayao and Ifugao. It was both a researcher’s and a stager’s triumph. It was an in-depth presentation on stage, not just a drastic or dramatic survey. Later, another enchantment from Obusan I saw was at Philtrade, focusing on our Kuwaresma rites. More existential than our traditional Senaculo that sweepingly reenacts the biblical story in Holy Land; the portrayed practices were forcefully close to and revelatory of how our people feel a religious need, processing a conversion in indigenous terms.
In contrast to that, today Obusan annually celebrates one of our most festive occasions — Christmas. As no one has done, he has brought together an anthology of our Pastores (shepherd’s reciting, dancing, playing on their way to visit the Christ Child) where he invites us, “Vamos a Belen”. I have seen this outdoor production in vernacular vigor, under the sun and sometimes rain, in front of the fountains of the CCP, and with a pulley-pulled star-lantern drawn from a practice in a Negros Oriental church. It dares to end by bringing us to a modern mall in today’s colonial and consumerist spectacle of balloons, confetti and St. Nicholas’s presence. Is this a sly anthropologist’s question-in-performance?
This is the kind of cultural focus that makes the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group different from others. It is a concentration — beside his study and staging of the far-and-wide — that must have arisen from Obusan’s anthropological study in the University of the Philippines. (Or earlier, of as concentrated a world as marine biology which he once taught in a college out in Aklan.)
Can we equate this intensified focus to a disciplined acquisition he had from his father, Dr. Praxedes Obusan, and his music teacher mother, Josefina Arevalo? Born in Legaspi on June 16, 1938, to a large family, Obusan tells of how he grew up in a hardy, regimented atmosphere. Where he lives today in Pasay, fronting NAIA-I, he shows a brave enterprise that certainly goes beyond material goods as such. He has turned the family house into a museum containing his extensive collection of musical instruments, implements, costumes, furniture, artifacts of Filipino culture. Moreover, he has added more architectural features that also become settings for his presentations, film documentation, aside from rehearsal and storage space of properties and costumes.
His investment is tremendous for these, in order to enhance his archival record of such perishable practices, as chants, songs and dances. His memory and understanding of these are phenomenal, which he generously shares with other scholars, teachers, stage directors, filmmakers, choreographers and numerous dance groups. Indeed, he houses a school for a living culture.
Often enough, he also houses more than his troupe’s members. When financially able, he would bring in various ethnic groups into his presentations. He arranges their coming and going, feeding and lodging, adjustment in an urban setting.
Indeed, his authentic concern goes beyond appropriating a tribe’s practices; he brings them in as living participants in his metropolitan life, as much as he becomes one with them in their remote, even dangerous domiciles. Out there, he would sometimes spend for an occasion in order to revive and record a celebration. Thus, the description director-choreographer is such a confining term to describe Obusan. He is also all of impresario, hotelier and, when needed, be a modern-day babaylan to negotiate among folks, and between them and the spirits they believe in. To simply call him artist in dance is to restrict and constrict his obsession and function.
Inasmuch as he negotiates these, and between his performers and us, his audience, he does indeed tread the grounds of fear. To some, this may seem an exaggerated statement.
Fear stems from the uncertainties in the ephemeral nature of dance and all performing arts. Conceptually one may be clear and confident about what’s to happen in living bodies adapting to each other and to a setting, the stage or Mother Earth’s. But to be realized in that circumstance of uncertainties, dance embodies itself in concerted beliefs, in faith among collaborators, and in the goals of that momentary occasion. Afaith validated at each performance.
Martha Graham has always harped on this fear as an “acrobat of the gods”. Yet this is paired with Fascination. For one, by the very precariousness of the performing arts. You have to ever go into it, to practice, practice, practice. In order to arrive at what you wish to be. Aside from the visual and virtual attractions of dance, this fascination stems from the very beauty of the body (post-modernly redefined as any body that empowers itself), the rhythmic enchantment felt and conveyed, and the re-enactment of the rite of being, of performing, of communicating and aspired-for cause.
These paradoxical feelings must explain the endurance and creativity of Obusan as an artist. Witness the breadth of his choreographic content and craft.
Amid a long record of productions, he lists several full-length presentations. These include Kayaw ’68 and Kayaw ’74, Ritual, Tausug Tapestry, Noon PO sa Amin, Kaamulan, Maynila – Isang Dakilang Kasaysayan, and his survey of undocumented dances he called Unpublished Dances I, II, III. He also surveyed Asia in Under the ASEAN Skies, Glimpses of the ASEAN, Mystique Asia and in fact had formed and directed an ASEAN company, while his dancers were once resident artists at the Sentosa Island in Singapore.
He has collaborated in several film productions, and himself directed dance documentaries, among them for the CCP’s Tuklas Sining: Sayaw series. He has won awards locally and abroad, on a grand prix de reportage in Videodanse, France. He has also been consultant for the UNESCO, and done research in the Pacific: Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti and New Zealand.
Obusan’s courage to be and for all of us, to the rest of the world, is recorded in his numerous tours at home and abroad: Asia, Europe and the Americas. He also joined the Smithsonian Folklife Festival during our centennial year in 1998. These just approximate in focus and scope his own intensive and extensive field research in our islands to know our dances and music, and the very people who do and live them. He does not merely study them; he joins their diurnal and ritual life.
Obusan has made of his own life a ritual process. As Victor Turner describes it, Obusan crosses borders, enters a ritual space (which can be any customary circle), and emerges enlightened. Or reinvigorated as a researcher-artist. It takes a kind of daring to just cross that transept. But Obusan the producer has to do another crossing by staging the peoples’ dances on stage, or just in any setting other than the original space. He claims to somehow resolve the question of “authenticity” by true costumes and music, and explicating on the context of a relocated observation. (This explicating was so easily and summarily done in the past with an attributed progeny by geographical location, general classification of costuming, and unilateral codification in recordings.) Obusan’s own collection, documentation and sometimes invitation of tribal participants mitigate accusation of appropriation. As critic, I must say that any performance could create its own context and could be accepted or rejected by the very verity of that moment, anthropological claims withstanding.
Despite and through all these, Obusan has won recognition or awards from the City of Manila, the CCP, the Centennial Awards in 1998, and what’s more, an ROFG Day out in Cleveland, Ohio in 1994. He ever refurbishes and reinvigorates his repertoire by his assiduous and indefatigable research work in the field, keeping his ties alive with the very culture he observes and participates in. As a result, he has infused others with this research orientation, influencing teachers and directors of many dance groups all over the Philippines. Had he more than one life, he proclaims: “If I could have another lifetime and several more, I would definitely go back amongst my dear friends living in deep forest recesses or wedged in some slopes of high mountains to listen to tales of a rich culture, delight in their music, be one with them in dance and record their timeless traditions.”
By Basilio Esteban S. Villaruz
Reprinted from the 2006 Order of National Artists Commemorative Book published by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).
An Introduction To RAMON OBUSAN’S UNPUBLISHED DANCES OF THE PHILIPPINES
Culturally rich and diverse, the Philippine Islands is peopled by more than a hundred ethnic societies. As in many cultures of the world, dance is an integral part of the distinctive identity and traditions of these societies. A Chinese saying simply says it all “Dance is the SOUL of the people”. Dances and people have been interwoven in a fabric marked by patterns of adaptation, physical and psychological expressions, and multi-social relevance from the first dance step in prehistory up to the present time. Baby-parent dances have provided stirring glimpses of the affection for the young. Coming-of-age has been frequently celebrated by dance-laden feasts or rituals and dances of the celebrant himself. Marriage, age, trade, status, achievement, rewards and even death have been marked by traditional rituals, chants, music, songs and dances.
The earliest evidence of dance in the Philippines was likely related to animistic rituals, occultism, the fear of the unknown, the unexplained phenomenon of death, answering a legion of mysteries that surrounded them, and probably by the magic associated with fire. The early Filipinos sought solutions to these mysteries as ways of strengthening their belief and worship of gods, good or evil, through rituals, offerings, sacrifices, supplication, incantation that effect insistence on taboos they believe that both gods and people were protected. Scholars speculate that these various activities were given more and more importance to answer the mysteries surrounding a culture that was becoming more and more complex.
The need or the desire to dance arises from communal rites to conciliate the gods, to solicit blessings, to seek deliverance from pestilence, or for special needs that mark such diverse events as weddings, births, deaths, the preparation for war, for victory, or simply to lighten, to lyricize, rhythmically or melodically accompany such everyday tasks as planting, harvesting, pounding or winnowing rice, fishing and the gathering of such things as betel tobacco, honey or wine. It is therefore easy to understand the importance of such dances, which embody deep beliefs that empowered them to express their socio-pyscho-physical needs.
Today, we perceive Philippine dances in all their artistry by viewing them from different distance and perspective. With the initial research work done by the late National Artist Francisca Reyes-Aquino, and inevitably its elevation as a higher theater art form by National Artists Leonor OrosaGoquingco and Lucrecia Reyes-Urtula, Philippine folk dance has come-of-age.
On the other hand, armed with thirty-four years of research work and with continuing personal commitment in the preservation and perpetuation of Philippine culture, Ramon Obusan and the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group (ROFG) has introduced current audiences, Filipinos and otherwise, to a discovery of a vast repository of Philippine tradition in dance and music. From this valuable input the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Foundation (ROFF) emerged out an entity sustained by the effort of research and selflessly engaged in the dissemination of these researches via performances. Through the last thirty-four (34) years, Ramon Arevalo Obusan, the ROFG and the ROFF have maintained and refined the research aspect of the company; have established an extensive network of contacts and informants in the interior areas of the Philippines; have followed trails of information that led to the discovery of yet another unrecorded dance; as well as compiling additional information on dances which were identified and recorded in published form by other scholars.
Over three decades of unrelenting travels and documentation have led Ramon Obusan and many members of the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group to villages, coastal towns, mountain slopes, caves and forest clearings where precious traditions long preserved and treasured by a respective community or society were shown and allowed to be staged for the Philippines and the world to see. It was through this more than three decades of effort that the ROFF gained preliminary information on the existence of these dances. And through the years over one hundred unpublished dances have been recorded and performed by the company. More importantly, it has become apparent to the ROFG that “time is of the essence”, and that a more systematic research program has to be put in placed, with the end view of preserving, at the very least, the last vestiges of Philippine culture and tradition.
Thus Ramon Obusan’s “Unpublished Dances of the Philippines” series was born. These productions evolved from documenting, reviving and in many cases rediscovering traditional folk ways unearthed from the dustbins of places as far as Batanes in the North and in Jolo, Sulu down South a result of painstaking work in the recovery of precious fragments of many Philippine traditions.
Today, this fifth of a series entitled “Ritual Roots”, is an armchair travelogue that enters into the heart of Filipino celebrations as observed from a ringside seat. It represents Ramon Obusan’s direction to depart from the customary dance theater delivery format and, in effect, return to basics by recontextualizing cultural events, as they would be found within the local village or barrio. In the regional or native setting, division separating performers and onlookers are permeable and easily crossed by audience members flowing in and out of the performance events with relative ease. It is worthy to note that Philippine dance is in fact a manifestation of the drama and stories of our lives. Philippine Dance is infused with a theatrical nature, disproving foreign scholars claiming that there is no theater in pre-Western Philippine culture. In fact, it is the vestiges and basic forms of indigenous dance and theater forms that have even survived the passing of time and introduction of foreign theater forms.
In the traditional context, all present at an event are potential participants, illustrating the Filipino’s innate sense of actively participating and interacting with others. In Ritual Roots, Obusan chose spectacular rituals from those less-performed traditions before they finally slide onto obscurity and give way to the onslaught of modernity. Ritual Roots will make the audience understand, in a way, why traditions have sat well with Filipino ancestors and forefathers for ages, the force and effect of each ritual on the way a people relates to his community, his environment and his gods.
I. Pag-Islam: Of Circumcision and Rites of Passage
To celebrate a young boy’s rite of passage, he must undergo what every young Muslim boy experiences, the inevitable circumcision ritual called “pag-Islam” (cutting a part of the boy’s foreskin). Pag-Islam happens as soon as a boy is considered mature enough to undertake the responsibilities of a man. His father and the menfolk in his family prepares him for the ceremonial pag-Islam by planning a big celebration attended by relatives and friends. Food is prepared, entertainers contacted and musicians rehearse for the occasion. Of course, gifts are expected from guests.
Money bills in the form of flaglets are artistically fastened to a house-like contraption with colored eggs and gold flowers as a peculiar way of gift giving. This offering is called the maligay. New clothes and shoes come not only as gifts but also symbolize the transition to manhood. Now he is officially considered a member of the community security force.
To ease the boy’s pain, several kudyapi lutes are played while an elderly shaman performs “pag-jiin”to drive away malevolent tunong or spirits. As in the past, a young prince representing one of the kingdoms of Maguindanao or the son of an heir apparent becomes the center of all activity in the circumcision. The head man or Imam (priest) performs the circumcision rites according to the tenets of Islam. Right after the circumcision, the boy rides an elaborately dressed-up horse to his house which has been decorated earlier.
Kalasan. A fitting entertainment of Maguindanawon is the most popular past-time cockfighting or kalasan. On occasions like these, the kalasan will remind the boy of future entertainment he might be interested in.
Mag-asik. Reminiscent of ancient Persian markets, a female ulipon (slave) performs a doll dance to entertain her masters. Asik to the Maguindanawon is “to dance”.
Kapag-ani. Maguindanawon’s rice-cycle dance drama put to the kulintang gandingan music. On very special occasions, the Magundanawon (people of the flooded plains) dressed in resplendent outfit! romanticize the rice cycle from clearing of the fields to harvest.
Sirong sa Ganding. A formal training for young ladies to achieve social and physical graces that reflect good breeding. In “sirong sa ganding” executing delicate arm movements, wrist twist and finger placements is dictated by style, intense concentration and graceful interpretation.
Sagayan. What makes a sagayan warrior different from any Maguindanao man or boy is that he becomes a member of the security force to safeguard a royal social gathering or scare away “tunong” spirits for any occasion. It is everybody’s expectation that the boy of the hour’s entrance to manhood must disregard any pain. He stands to perform the sagayan with lots of encouragement from his father and his peers.
II. Old Batanes: Of the Philippines’ Northernmost Frontier
Batanes and Cagayan are the northernmost provinces of the Philippines, their culture and tradition pristine and untouched. This suite centers on the popular folk life, activities, traditional songs and dances practiced to this day.
Batanes province is composed of many picture-beautiful islands hardly visited by Filipinos and tourists alike. Cagayan sits on a valley surrounded by high peaks and mountains. Both places have kept age-old secrets dearly protected. For centuries, Christianity has systematically crept into the way of life of both regions but somehow, many old rituals, rites and festive activities have survived the intrusion and are very much intact. We have selected the rarest dances from the region which represent history, religion, social activities and fashion.
Palo-palo. Sabtang, in the Batanes group of islands executes a one-of-a-kind mock-battle performance reminiscent of the day when the first Spanish soldiers and missionaries landed to evangelize the islands. The protagonists fight with sticks called “palo-palo”, from which the dance drew its name. By the 17″ century most of the Batanes islands have been converted to Christianity.
La Jota Cagayana. Jota, a flamenco inspired dance was first introduced by the Spaniards to the province of Cagayan in the 1700’s. Today, there are many popular versions, one of which is found in the small rustic town of Enrile. A couple performs a love dance whose costume is inspired by an 18 century painter Damian Domingo
La Jota Ivatan. Jota Ivatan, a dance inspired by the barot saya costume of the Ilocanos with some versions using Spanish castanets. The islanders perform the rare jota in warm clothing appropriate for the cold damp weather of the island.
Infantes. The establishment of the Dominican order in Cagayan and Batanes has inspired the people to celebrate Christmas with traditions and practices introduced by Spain and Mexico. The festive infantes, composed of young boys and girls singing, dancing and announcing the birth of Christ in the manger move from house to house in exchange for a few pesos. The kings are represented by three higantes or giants, swaying to the rhythm of tubtubong bamboo noise makers. Infante is the only pastores found practiced in the northernmost part of the Philippines.
III. Baybaylan: Of Shamans and Mystique Prayers
The ROFG ventures into the mysterious world of the babaylan (shamans, mediums, tribal doctors, fortune tellers and healers) in their various capacity as bridge between man and his God, man and man, community and environment. The practices cross demographics, socio-cultural lines and religious precepts. The elements that form these variants are carefully analyzed and reproduced but care is ensured that their strength and mysticism is not lost in the translation.
Dawak (Kalinga). A Kalinga mandadawak priestess, while in a trance chases strands of hair floating in the air from bereaved relatives of the dead by ringing a Chinese Ming dynasty bowl, which when caught are supplanted on their heads.
Inagta Agta). An effeminate farmer dressed as inday” a name of endearment to the Visayans carries a voodoo doll while officiating in an all male dance propitiating the nature gods and also the patron saint of Siaton, San Nicolas during his feast day in December
Atang (banag). A miniature raft filled with goodies including sweets, old coins floating in a saucer of oil, betel nut, candles and red cloth is floated to appease the gods of nature by Ibanag shamans. A Carabao skull is used to call the attention of the spirits.
Anituan (Abyan). The Aeta shaman healers of Pampanga and Zambales cover sick members of the community with a red cloth which symbolizes sickness. In the anituan ritual, they entice the spirits who caused the illness to leave the sick enticing them with food, gifts of beads or even threatening them with harm. The final act is when the red cloth is pulled over their heads and the mag-anito who supposedly absorbs the sickness falls to the ground unconscious.
Udol (Tagakaolo) Udol is both a ceremonial musical instrument and a coffin like box used by one or more babaylan priestésses of the Tagkaolo-Blaan peoples to callback wayward spirits of male relatives who might have lost their way from war.
Baylan (Umayamnon). The Umayamnon diwatas demand of their mediums or babaylans to be strong and powerful women. To cope with this requirement a male babaylan dresses up and performs dance trances as a woman to propitiate and say thanks to their nature gods.
Tawgon Hapnon (Talaandig). Praying over a Bukidnon mother who is giving birth, a powerful baylan calls to the diwatas for her assistance in easing the labor pains of bringing into the world a new baby. Neighbors help in the ritual by pretending to be pregnant and sharing in the pains of the new mother.
Inim (Tagbanua). Sometimes known as diwata amongst the Tagbanua of central Palawan. The ritual features an elderly female babaylan assisted by several lesser baylanes who perform several trance dances. These dances vary from gentle to violent depending upon the spirit that possesses her. While in a trance she balances various props such as lighted porcelain bowls, a small sword, a plate and a glass. To the rhythm of two brass gongs, she flutters on both hands bundles of ugsang (dried buri leaves). The final objective is to be possessed by the mighty Maguindusa, god of all gods who slides down to earth from a mythical boat passing through lighted poles. The conclusion of the entire ritual is the drinking of the ceremonial tabad wine symbolizing acceptance of the offering.
IV. Kasal loco: Of Bride Buying and Weddings
Dallot. The dallot centers on the dowry which are gifts to buy the bride. On a very specific occasion a suitor carries the dowry to his bride-to-be’s house and ceremonially opens his gift boxes giving out to the mother items of jewelry, clothing and even slippers. The mother pretends not to appreciate the items even as she calls her friends and relatives to scrutinize each item. In the give and take process, a violin accompanies the mother’s dialogue while a flute is played when the suitor speaks. Great is the joy of the suitor when at long last he is allowed to glance at his bride who all the time has been hiding patiently behind the curtain.
Mascota. A teasing, playful dance, Mascota is considered the trademark dance of the Cagayan region, popular in baptisms, fiestas and birthdays. But weddings are the best opportunity for Mascota dances where impromptu versions are performed by the bride and groom, their parents, guest and relatives. This is done to solicit monetary and material donations to start off the newlyweds.
V. Pang-Ulo: Of Hats and Headgears
We take our hats off to the numerous dances and rituals that cannot be performed without a hat, head-cover or head-piece.
Pangalay (Tausog). A variant of the popular Tausog pangalay where two men acting as fighting cocks vie for the attention of a woman.
Tontak (Gaddang). Most popular Gaddang dance set to a courtship mood by the dungadong bamboo instrument. The dance mimics the acrobatic movements of high flying birds as they trace the contours of the mountains.
Malaguena (Quezon). Tracing its origin from Malaga, Spain is one of the rare dances left behind by Marinduque traders with the people of Catanauan who happen to live just across the sea.
Dugso (Talakag). Traditionally, this is an all female dance with over twelve versions. However, in this version Talakag men participate in the ceremonial dugso that is the main event of the hinaklaran festival.
Pandong (Abyan). On a hot sunny day, the Abyan negrito women of Camarines Norte carry small branches called pandong to shade them from the merciless sun, and playful as they are, a dance is so created.
Dayang-dayang (Tausog). Gentle, fluid broken arm movements accentuated by brass fingernails (janggay) performed by Tausog maidens. A unique musical accompaniment further strengthens influences from outsiders in the use of violin, flutes, two-faced drum together with a locally assembled bamboo xylophone called gabbang.
Dalichok (Kalinga). Spirited dance of the Kalinga maiden and men to the rhythmic music of the patan-og bamboo instrument. This is a celebratory dance performed by the community.
RAMON A. OBUSAN
Artistic Director Concept, Choreography Production and Costume Design
RAUL NEPOMUCENO JR.
Technical Director and Lighting Design
ATTY. ORLANDO OCAMPO
Costume Mistress/ Finance Officer
DENNIS JULIO TAN
RICARDO G. CRUZ
Set Consultant Member, PATDAT/OISTAT
MARCIANO VIRI KIKAY
Marketing & Ticket Sales
Poster & Program Designer
VIC MAASLOM JR.
LCD Operator CCP CULTURAL PROMOTIONS Video Documentation
Props and Sets
Ms. Elvira Go • Mr. Benjie Poblete • Ms. Myrna Verecio • Ms. Mia Makabenta National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) • La Concordia College • St. Pedro Poveda College • Mayor Wenceslao Trinidad . Adamson University Ms. Ritchel Bernardo • Ms. Desi Rivera • Centro Escolar University • Dr. Loreto Panganiban • Dr. Clair Z. Manalo • CCP Office of the Artistic Director • CCP Cultural Promotions • CCP Performing Arts Department • Department of Tourism – Pasay Francis and Dinah Sario • Ms. Mina Gabor • Ms. Peggy Sangco • Mr. Floy Quintos Mr. Ed Murillo • Mr. Roobak Valle • Ms. Erlin Arcega • Fr. Benigno Beltran • Sacred Heart School of Paranaque • Sr. Neomi Maguinto
Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group (ROFG) celebrates its 34 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 more than 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 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 8″ 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.
In 2002 & 2003 year-enders saw the ROFG in the Prince Hotel’s Philippine Food Festival in Hong Kong for three successful days. The company has just returned from a successful three week performance tour of Hawaii in March 2006 as part of the Centennial Celebration of the first Filipino Migrants in Hawaii under the auspices of East-West Center performing to more than 8,000 audiences in the five major provinces of the State of Hawaii.
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 34 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.
Thank you & God bless