Category Archives: Culture: Music and Dances

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Santacruzan 2017

(To view full images, double click on the photo and click again for bigger image.)

Santacruzan (40 years of celebration)

Around 250-300 people (including 100 sagalas, performers and volunteers) attended the annual  Santacruzan on May 20, 2017 at the Old Town Plaza which started with the Holy Mass at the San Felipe de Neri Church at 4 pm and followed by the procession and Cultural Show that lasted until 8 pm. This annual free event which is sponsored by the Filipino American Foundation of New Mexico (FAFNM) was introduced by Consuelo (Chito) Zafra, see top photo, (who celebrated her 95th birthday at this event) and her late husband, Eugene Zafra in 1977.  Other FAFNM members who have made this event possible for 40 years are: Heddy Long, Cora Romillo, Myrna Samson, Betsy Custodio and members of the Filipino community.)  The welcome speaker was Dr. Dely Alcantara, president of FAFNM and the Filipino American Community Council (co-sponsor of this year’s event).  The Cultural Show (by the Ethan Sabay Philippine Folkloric Group and the Filipino Performing Arts Group) was also co-sponsored by the City of Albuquerque City Council and Cultural Services.  The event is usually scheduled on the third Saturday of May.  We hope to see you at the next Santacruzan on May 19, 2018!!! (Check our EVENTS page.)

Sagalas

Rey and Reynas with Sagalas

“Santacruzan” is the word that Filipinos use to refer to “Santa Cruz de Mayo,” a celebration in honor of our Blessed Mother.  The celebration commemorates Queen Helen’s finding the Holy Cross during the reign of her young son, King Constantino.  It is believed that “Reyna Elena,” “Rey Constantino,” and their subjects asked for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary to help them find the Holy Cross which had been taken away from the Christians by the infidels.  The “Santa Cruz de Mayo” is celebrated by a procession commemorating this historic event.  Throughout the procession, the song “Dios de Salve” is sung.

During the month of May in the Philippines, every evening, there is a town somewhere celebrating the “Santa Cruz de Mayo.”  A town usually does it for nine consecutive evenings, like a novena.  On the ninth evening, the whole town has a fiesta.  Nine consecutive evenings are not practical here in Albuquerque. So, on Saturday, May 20th, we will celebrate the 9th evening.

“Santa Cruz de Mayo” is also referred to as “Flores de Mayo.”  May is the month when flowers of all kinds are blooming in the Philippines, so the procession is adorned with colorful gay flowers.  For this reason, one of the queens in the procession is called, “Reyna de las Flores.”

Angels at the procession

The participants in the procession are called “sagalas.”  They represent the important individuals during the expedition and the angels and saints that were called upon to intercede for them.  The main characters in the procession are:  Reyna Elena, Reyna de las Flores, Reyna Sheba,” and “Reyna Esther.”

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Ethan Sabay Philippine Folkloric Group (ESPFG)

 

ESPFG at Santacruzan 2017

Members of ESPFG 2017

To view, double click on the photos.

 

 

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Filipino Performing Arts Group

FPAG

The Filipino Performing Arts Group (FPAG) aims to share Philippine history, language and/or culture through performing arts specifically music and dances.  It also focuses on the importance of appreciating and understanding multicultures in New Mexico. (We welcome members of other nationalities who are interested in our culture.)

NOTE:  To view full images, double click on the photo and click again for large image.  (Photos at Santacruzan – courtesy of Kathy B. and Norma D.)

In addition, we are Filipino Americans living in the US, a nation of immigrants.  As such, it is important for the next generations to know their identity from both cultures, American and Filipino. If we don’t share our Filipino culture and heritage to our children, especially those who were born here, they will slowly fade away and be forgotten.

FPAG was established in February 2017 as an independent group.  Majority of the members have been performing with the Filipino American Foundation of New Mexico Cultural Dance Group for more than five years.  (The Cultural Group was dissolved in February 2017 to give autonomy to different groups.)  You can view recitals and performances (both kulintang and dances) from www.youtube.com/puppetnettes.

 

To view full images, double click on the photos (and double click again for enlarged images).  (Photos courtesy of Maricar.)

Kulintang Music

Kulintang musicians (from left): Miracle, Malaya, Jasmine & Justine with instructor, Tessie.

Kulintang, an indigenous (percussion) instrument from Southern Philippines, is the main instrument in a kulintang ensemble.  It is composed of 8 gongs in graduated sizes.  The other instruments are:  agong, dabakan (drum), and babandil (see second photo below). (We also use the bamboos and will be using the gandingan, 4-gong set, in the future.)  Special thanks to a) Dr. Dely Alcantara and Dr. Ted Jojola who got the grant in 2004 to bring kulintang to New Mexico Filipinos;   b) New Mexico Arts Apprenticeship Program for training Miracle (2014-2015) and c) Filipino American Community Council (and City of Albuquerque City Council) for the grant that extended instructions to our three youth, Malaya, Jasmine & Justine (2016-2017).

 

 

Mindanao including Sulu Archipelago

Southern Philippine (Mindanao) Dances

  • Janggay
  • Kini Kini
  • Maiden Dance
  • Sagayan

Plus Instrumental piece:

Sinulog A Kamamatuan

(See dances from Visayas at the bottom.)

Choreographer:  Tessie

 

Janggay

Kulintang Music:  Pangalay Ha Janggay (Composed by Tessie), Origin of dance: Sulu Archipelago

At Cesar Chavez Day 2017. From left: Justine, Gloria, Miracle, Krystal, Mary, Jasmine Q and Sandy.

Janggay dancers at FAFNM Xmas 2016

Janggay (also called Igal Janggay or Pangalay) is a set of extended metal fingernails worn by female dancers from the Sama-Badjao tribe and Tausug people in the Sulu Archipelago. To showcase the long nails’ beauty, the hand movements include flicking, flipping and cupping of fingers. The janggay also represents the claws of the Sarimanok, a mythical bird and the headdresses represent its expanded wings.  Sarimanok, from the words sari (cloth) and manok (chicken) is a reincarnation of a goddess that loved a mortal man.

About the People:  The Sama-Badjao or just Badjao (man of the seas) is a tribe also known as sea gypsies because they live in small houseboats called vintas and they seldom stay in one place.  They are usually fishermen and sea divers.  They inhabit the shores in Sulu Archipelago in Southern Philippines.  Some dance movements mimic the rolling waves as oceans play an essential part in the lives of sea fearing people.   Tausug (people of the current) which stands for tau (people) and sug (sea current) is the numerically dominant group of Sulu Archipelago.  The Tausug people who are land-based are mostly sailors, pearl divers and traders.  Jolo Island strategically located near the heart of the archipelago constitutes the cultural and political center of Tausug society.

Kini Kini

Kulintang Music:  Kanditagaonan, Origin of dance:  Maranao province (LANAO)

Kini Kini dancers 2017

Kini Kini from the word kini (the royal walk) shows the elite upbringing of the Maranao women in Mindanao.  Using decorative umbrellas and scarves (two items in a hot weather), they walk gracefully to a wedding.  This version of the dance is a combination of Kini Kini (scarf) and Kinakulangan (umbrella), without the male attendants.  The music is called Kanditagaonan which means I cannot go to a wedding because I have no malong (a tube skirt).

Maranao means the “people of the lake” referring to Lake Lanao (principal town is Marawi City) in the province of Lanao del Sur and has its own language. The other Maranao provinces are:  Basilan, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi Tawi and cities of Marawi and Lamitan (see map).

Maiden Dance from Singkil

Kulintang Music:  Kasayaw sa Singkil, Origin of dance: Maranao province (Lanao)

Maiden Dancers at Cesar Chavez 2017

The Maiden Dance is performed by the maidens that accompany the princess in the dance called Singkil, name of the anklet worn by a princess.  This version does not include the princess.  Singkil originated from the Maranao people.  It recounts a 14th century epic, Darangen, about a princess caught in the forest during an earthquake caused by the fairies of the forest.  The fans represent the ferocious winds during a scene in the epic.

 

 

Sagayan

Music:  a fusion of two kulintang pieces: Tagonggo and Adongkodongkogakit, Origin of dance:  Maranao and Maguindanao

Sagayan dancers from left: John, Angelo, Franz, Marc, Zeke, Latrell & Sean

Sagayan is a warrior/healing dance that is performed by both Maranao and Maguindanao male dancers.  It depicts the steps of their war hero, Prince Bantugan.  The kasity (headdress), kampilan (sword), klong (shield) and the three-layered skirts are inspired from the hero’s attire.  The male dancers are projected as fierce warriors ready to defend their master as they dance and pray before going to war.  Another version of Sagayan is a healing dance, showing trance-like movements believed to banish the evil spirits (or negative energy) while welcoming good fortune or omens.  (Assistant choreographers: Angelo and Zeke.)

 

Instrumental Piece (No Dance):

The late Danongan Kalanduyan came to Albuquerque to introduce kulintang music in 2004.

Sinulog A Kamamatuan (Sinulog old style), Version 1. Sinulog is from the Maranao word sulug or people of Sulu. (NOTE: Sinulog as in Sinulog Festival in Cebu means sulug or current in Visayan language.)  A Kamamatuan means older, traditional style derived from the word “matua” meaning old.  The musical notation of Version 1 was from the late Danongan Kalanduyan, kulintang master from Cotabato who lived in San Francisco, CA.  He came to Albuquerque in 2004 to teach kulintang through a grant obtained by Dr. Dely Alcantara for the Filipino community.  This piece is a tribute to him for his contribution in bringing this indigenous music to the Filipinos in New Mexico.

 

Dances from Visayan Island

Visayan map

Ati-Atihan

Origin: Kalibo, Aklan in the island of Panay

Ati Atihan means pretending to be Ati, one of the first people that inhabited the Philippines.  Long before Spaniards came to the Philippines in the 17th century, light skinned immigrants from Borneo and Indonesia arrived in the island of Panay.  The dark-skinned inhabitants of Panay called the Ati, lived in the upland part of the mountains where they planted rice.  The Atis sold to the immigrants small pieces of land and allowed them to settle down in the lowlands.  One day, heavy rains ruined the Atis’s crops.  They starved.  They came down to the lowlands and were fed by the people.  As a gesture of gratitude, the Atis danced for joy in the streets.

 

As a gesture of unity, the lowland people covered their faces with soot or wore black masks to look like the Atis and celebrated with them in the streets. When the Spaniards settled in the Philippines, the Ati Atihan festival, which is also a celebration of rice and unity, became part of the celebration honoring Santo Nino (Little Jesus).  After several centuries, the festival is still celebrated in Aklan every January. (Choreographer: Tessie; Assistant choreographers: Angelo and Zeke.)

Arnis: Lester, Lyle, Franz, Zeke, Angelo & John

Sayaw Arnis (Arnis Dance)

Music:  Over 7000 Planets (Ron Quesada, Kulintronica based in San Francisco), Origin of Arnis:  Cebu

Arnis, also called Eskrima (fencing) or Kali (KA from the Visayan words KAmot or hand and LI from the word LIhog or motion) is the national sport and Martial Arts of the Philippines. It is a stick (made of rattan), knife or sword fighting art.  It includes hand-to-hand combat, joint locks, grappling and weapon disarming techniques.

Arnis at Cesar Chavez

The dance movements focus on rhythmic calisthenics of basic strikes and blocks for beginners using one stick.

Ron Quesada, kulintang musician, from Kulintronica composed “Over 7000 Planets”, the music used in the Arnis dance.

Arnis, (from “arnes,” an old Spanish word for armor) was founded by the Indonesian inhabitants of the Srivijayan Empire that ruled most of Southeast Asia in the 13th century.  They were overthrown by the Majapahit Empire from Eastern Java, Indonesia.  Forced to flee, the Srivi refugees settled in Cebu, central part of Visayas, where they introduced Arnis.  During the Spanish colonization that lasted more than three centuries, the practice of Arnis was forbidden but practitioners trained underground with sticks and bolos.  When the Americans colonized the Philippines, the practice was allowed openly and Arnis flourished. Arnis, which has big tournaments all over the Philippines, is also offered as a PE class in some universities.  (Choreographer:  Tessie, Assistant choreographers: Angelo and Zeke.)

Children’s Group

Children lined up with salakot

Paru Parung Bukid: Joshua, Jordyn, Kai, & Mia.

Many of the small children are on break in the first half of 2017.  Children’s Dances such as Paru Parung Bukid will be revived. (Choreographer:  Maricar)

 

 

Contact artistic directors/choreographers:  Tessie at puppetnettes@gmail.com or Maricar at marikang7777@gmail.com.

We welcome new members by September or February when we teach new dances.   (For children, please contact Maricar.) Thank you.

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Cultural Dance Group

 

NOTE:  The FAFNM Cultural Dance Group was dissolved in February 2017 to give performing groups more autonomy.  For performances you can contact any of the group:

The Filipino American Foundation of New Mexico (FAFNM) Cultural Dance Group was in existence for more than two decades.  The Cultural Dance Group has been the ambassador of goodwill and the showcase of our Filipino community in many City of Albuquerque events and Asian cultural events.   In most of the FAFNM fundraising projects, the group provided the cultural shows that helped draw people to the events.  We want to thank all the coordinators in the past: Cora Romillo, Ligaya White, Armeli Quezon, Vilma Lopez, and Maricar Castro/Vanessa Alter, the choreographers: Ligaya & Bianca White, Evelio Sabay, Maricar Castro, Tessie Greenfield (who was also kulintang instructor) and all our dancers.  Especial thanks to Dr. Dely Alcantara and Dr. Ted Jojola for getting grants in the past for the group.  Some are still performing in either of the two groups. The others have moved on.  Thank you all.

We are retaining this page until January 2018.

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