Catbalogan goes green for Sinulog

By Cris Evert Lato-Ruffolo |January 13,2018 - 11:51 PM

Dancers of the Tribu Katbalaugan practicing their steps at the Samar Sports Complex in Catbalogan City. Contributed photo by Janneil Mainar

To mark their fourth year of competing in the Sinulog Festival, the Tribu Katbalaugan of Catbalogan City, Samar will tell the story of environmental sustainability and humanity’s role in preserving nature through dance.

Ador Hurtado, Catbalogan City Tourism, Culture, Arts and Information officer, said this story will be the running theme of their troupe’s performance in the street dancing competition and free interpretation category in the Sinulog Grand Parade on January 21 (Sunday).

Hurtado said their 500-person contingent consists of 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.

The contingent arrives today for a one week preparation for the Sinulog Grand Parade.

Hurtado said Catbalogan Mayor Stephany Uy-Tan approved a P3 million budget for Tribu Katbalaugan, the city’s official contingent since 2014.

Last year, Tribu Katbalaugan won first runner-up in the free interpretation category and became champion in the street dancing competition.

Their street dancing performance showcased the importance of bats in the ecosystem.

The year before, they also won first runner-up in the free interpretation category.

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,” Hurtado said.

The contingent’s choreographer since 2015 is Janneil Tapales Mainar, a native of Cebu.

Tribu Katbalaugan gained popularity because of its fast-paced dance routine and life-sized, 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 their message of environment protection and preservation is inspired by Mayor Tan’s personal advocacy on sustainable development.

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,” Hurtado told Cebu Daily


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