On their fourth year to participate in the Sinulog Festival, Tribu Katbalaugan of Catbalogan City, Samar will tell the story of environmental sustainability and the role of human beings in nature preservation.
Catbalogan City Tourism, Culture, Arts and Information Officer Ador Hurtado said the troop’s performance in the street dancing competition and the free interpretation category will highlight this theme on the Sinulog Grand Parade on January 21 (Sunday).
Hurtado said the troop is composed of 500 individuals which include dancers, props personnel, instrumentalists, medics, choreographers, dance masters and other support staff.
“Our contingent is composed of out-of-school youth and high school and college students, who are scholars of the city government’s education program,” he told Cebu Daily News in an interview.
The contingent will arrive tomorrow (Sunday) to have one week to prepare for the Sinulog Grand Parade.
Hurtado said Mayor Stephany Uy-Tan approved a budget of P3 million for Tribu Katbalaugan, the city’s official contingent which was formed in 2014.
In 2017, Tribu Katbalaugan won first runner-up in the free interpretation category and champion in the street dancing competition.
The street dancing performance showcased the importance of bats in the ecosystem.
In 2016, they also won first runner-up in the free interpretation category.
Back in 2015, Tribu Katbalaugan won fourth place in the free interpretation category. It was their first time to participate in the Sinulog Festival.
“Despite losing four members in a landslide in December 2014, Catbalogan emerged victorious after winning fourth place in our first participation in Cebu City’s Sinulog Festival in 2015. We offered the performance to our fallen members whom we believe guided our performers that night,” said Hurtado.
The contingent’s choreographer is Janneil Tapales Mainar.
Hurtado said Mainar is a native of Cebu and has been the troop’s choreographer since 2015.
Tribu Katbalaugan has gained popularity because of its fast-paced dance routine and life-size, colorful props.
Hurtado said they have always incorporated the city’s environmental advocacy since 2014.
Despite being a newcomer in the festival dancing scene, Tribu Katbalaugan won back-to-back championships in the Aliwan Festival in 2015 and 2016.
The performance featured tuko (gecko) which were threatened by illegal loggers. Their performances showcased the rich bounties of the seas and called for the protection of land and marine resources.
In this year’s performance, Hurtado said the dancers will tell the story of how the community can contribute to combat climate change to ensure a better future for generations to come.
“Our dancers will feature the story of a futuristic and environment-friendly city which effectively balanced deep faith, urban progress and love for the environment,” he said.
Hurtado said the message of environment protection and preservation is inspired by the personal advocacy of Catbalogan City Mayor Stephany Uy-Tan on sustainable development, which the city actively promotes and implements.
In 2017, Tribu Katbalaugan clinched the third prize in the Aliwan Festival for their performance which told the tragic story of the sinking of M/V Doña Paz and how the fireflies helped fishermen find hope from the tragedy.
Hurtado said the 500 members will arrive in Cebu City tomorrow (Sunday) with “a truckload of props and prayers.”
“Ultimately, we offer this performance to the Señor Santo Niño for his continued guidance and love for Tribu Katbalaugan,” said Hurtado.