A farewell performance to remember on Sunday
It will be a last dance to remember.
This was the promise made yesterday by perennial crowd-drawer Sinanduloy Cultural Troupe of Tangub City as they perform their swan song in this Sunday’s Sinulog grand parade.
After dancing with the group since she was in her preteen about ten years ago, Ruchel Canillas, now 24, could not hide her disappointment and sadness when they were first told about the plan of the city government of Tangub to take a break from joining the Sinulog grand parade starting next year.
“Sad gyud mi. Pero wala man mi niahi lang para sa competition. Naa miy tagsa-tagsa nga tuyo kang Sto. Niño. Every year, amo ihalad among kaugalingon,” she told Cebu Daily News.
(We are sad. But we are not here just for the competition. We also have individual petitions with the Sto. Niño. Every year, we offer ourselves to him.)
Tangub City Mayor Philip Tan, however, said that even if they will no longer take part in the Sinulog grand parade, they will continue to come to Cebu during the Sinulog Festival to offer dances at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño.
They will also be doing exhibits and shows in hotels and malls in Cebu.
To Canillas, what she would miss most would be the thrill that comes with the intense preparation for the Sinulog grand parade.
This was why she vowed to give her all in this Sunday’s Sinulog grand parade, where the Tangub contingent will vie for the top prize in the Sinulog-based category.
“Every year, we always give our best. Pero karon, mao gyud ni among pinaka-best (But this time, we will really give our all). Aside from this being our last performance, we are also hoping and praying that we will bring home the bacon to Tangub City,” Canillas said.
Neil Jason Obejero, 22, was also all set to give his best performance for the troupe that has been like a family to him. Obejero joined the group six years ago to avail of the college scholarship program, which the dance troupe offered.
The Sinanduloy Cultural Troupe, while a crowd favorite, had failed to get the championship in the last three years and is expected to come in hungry in this Sunday’s grand parade.
The group, however, has the most number of championships under its belt in the history of the Sinulog Festival, with 11 titles. They first joined in 1994 and 1996. They came back in 2000 and has not missed a single year in the Sinulog Festival up to this year.
They first won the championship under the free interpretation category in 2000 and 2001. After this, they continued to rack up championships in the Sinulog-based category in the years 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013.
According to Sinanduloy Cultural Troupe’s head choreographer Jojin Pascual, the main reason for the group’s and the local government’s decision to take a hiatus from the competition is the string of activities in the city that is expected to keep both the cultural troupe and the city government busy.
Tangub City has recently launched its 25-50 celebration. In the year 2017, the Sinanduloy Cultural Troup, the city’s Dalit Festival, and the Miss Tangub City Tourism will be celebrating its 25th anniversary.
On the other hand, in 2018, Tangub City will be celebrating its 50th Charter Anniversary.
Pascual said the city will be hosting regional, national and even international events during these celebration and they are expected to be busy and may not have enough time to prepare for the Sinulog.
“But we will still come to Cebu during Sinulog but mainly as pilgrims. We will also be doing exhibits, some shows. Definitely, we will dance at the Basilica and the San Pedro Calungsod (Shrine), which we do every year,” Pascual told Cebu Daily News.
He revealed that since 2000, they would prepare for their Sinulog performance as early as October.
But even as Pascual talked of their last performance this year, he also talked of the troupe’s “resurrection,” mostly after a few years.
Tan had, in fact, said that they hoped to be back in the Sinulog grand parade in maybe five years.
Pascual, who has been the head choreographer of the contingent since 2002 when it decided to shift to the Sinulog-based category, said spectators this Sunday can expect surprises in their routine.
Being among those considered as “trend setters” in the Sinulog Festival, Pascual said they will also showcase some of their trademark and patented routines and dance moves this Sunday, reminiscent of their past successes.
“Spectators can expect a few surprises as far as routines and props are concerned. But we also incorporated some of the so called “classic” signature moves of Sinanduloy but with twists. Let us just say the dance presentation is classic Sinanduloy,” he told CDN.
The Sinanduloy Cultural Troupe will have a total of 100 dancers – 50 boys and 50 girls – and 94 propsmen. The entire delegation, which is currently billeted in the City Central School in Cebu City, is composed of over 500 people, including support staff, city officials and barangay captains.
The group braved 25 hours of rough sea travel to get to Cebu last Wednesday.
Ian Roy Tiu, the group’s assistant choreographer, said some of their propsmen are still to arrive since they took different ports and routes in coming to Cebu.
He said they also struggled with bringing in all their props all the way from Mindanao to Cebu. They had to dismantle some of the sets and props and reassemble them in Cebu.
But all these struggles are worth it, he said, as this will also be their main concept for their presentation.
“Our concept is really similar to our situation and our struggles. Our concept will revolve around a devotee’s will and desire to do everything just to be able to come here in Cebu and attend the Sinulog. He was left by the car, the bus and even by the train, but still he found a way to reach Cebu for the Sinulog,” he told CDN in an interview in their billeting quarters yesterday.
He said that every single year, they always encounter problems in trying to join the Sinulog. But eventually, they are able to pull through and give a superb performance.
Tiu also started as a dancer when the group started joining the Sinulog in 1994. The 36-year old said he last participated as a dancer in 2014. He became the group’s choreographer in 2015.
Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) executive director Ricky Ballesteros said he was also saddened by Tangub City’s decision.
“What a pity that they will no longer be there for the grand parade. I hope it is not yet final because they are already part of the Sinulog. They have been joining even before I became executive director in 2002. People look forward to their performance every year,” he told CDN.
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