The Bayanihan research team toured Butuan and Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte.
Hosted by Judith Pantangco, Rep. Angel Amante, and Sandayong led by Agnes Andaya, the study tour enabled the team to interview Manobo tribes and historian Greg Hontiveros, and attend lectures on local arts and crafts.
More than the Manobo dances, music, costumes and traditional practices, there were nuggets of new learnings and observations the research group gained. The group asked about Manobo aspirations, their spirituality and their family life.
A dance piece will soon be the outcome of this study, and will be gracefully showcased during the national dance company’s 2012 season production at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Oct. 23-27.
The Bayanihan research team aims to create the best dance story on the largest indigenous community in the country. It seeks to set up an artistic clearing-house where the numerous Manobo groups can converge.
The Bayanihan believes that to dance is to live. Dance brings about social cohesion and societal transformation, thereby strengthening cultural relations and fostering cultural development.
The research team will try to render Manobo aspirations into distinct expressions of dance and music.
The team includes Pam Corales, performer and trainer; Ina Feleo, actress; Marielle Benitez, performer and athlete; and musician Rudolph Pabon, who will not only showcase playing the kubing but dance to the beat of the binaylan.
Other members of the study team are Leo Lorillam, core trainer and dancer; Melito Vale Cruz, music director; and Bong José, dance director and choreographer.
The author is trustee and executive director of the Bayanihan Folk Arts Foundation.