Sinulog 2017: Taboan troupe performs South China Sea-themed dance
There was one dance troupe this year that dared to touch on a sensitive subject during their Sinulog 2017 performance at the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC).
The Taboan Buwad Festival’s contingent performed to a theme of Chinese-Philippine friendship.
They opened with the Chinese coast guard and Philippine fishing boats traversing what is presumably the South China Sea.
A few giggles were heard in the audience sitting in the grandstand when the audience got what the performance was talking about.
While the theme was Philippine-Chinese friendship, the relationship between the two countries have been anything but friendly prior to the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte.
During the presidency of former president Benigno Aquino III, a case was filed in international tribunal The Hague. Last August 2016, the tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines, however, the decision came after Duterte began his term.
Shortly after the ruling, Duterte had already taken a softer stance toward China. During a state visit, he eventually announced a pivot in foreign policy from a US-friendly policy to strengthening relations with China and Russia.
The dance reflected a shift in the Philippines’ changing relationship with the Asian superpower.
After the coast guard ships appeared, dancers in Chinese-themed outfits came out, then danced with others in native Cebuano costumes symbolizing the historic ties between Cebu and China.
Before Magellan had even arrived in Cebu with the Santo Niño, Chinese traders were already present in the region. The city’s Parian district became the first Chinese district in Cebu, established in the late 1500s.
By the end of the performance, a mural with of a hand placed over the Philippine flag shaking another hand over the Chinese flag was shown.
The performances began at 10 am at the CCSC and are still ongoing as of posting time.
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