Arts and Culture FAITH Headlines Sinulog Festival 2019

Sawang Calero contingent highlights bedtime prayers in colorful presentation

Despite the challenges that they had to face, Tribu Masaulogong Calerohanon of Barangay Sawag Calero, Cebu City still managed to give Sinulog spectators a good show in Sunday’s Sinulog sa Barangay competition./CDN Digital file photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Wearing headdresses inspired by the characters of the animated movie Trolls, performers of Tribu Masaulogong Calerohanon highlighted the importance of teaching children the habit of praying at bedtime in their dance presentation during the Sinulog sa Barangay last Sunday, January 13.

The contingent from Barangay Sawang Calero – composed of 230 dancers, propsmen and instrumentalists – brought smiles to the spectators and regaled the audience with colorful costumes and vibrant moves, according to official choreographer Ronnie Ray Ponla.

For the grand parade on January 20, Ponla said they will have additional visual props to “add more pop to the overall production.”

“We focused our concept on the importance of teaching our children to pray. This is a habit that should be instilled in us at a young age as this will help us in our journey through life,” said Ponla.

Ponla, 25, merged a praying child with the colors of the animated movie, Trolls, to signify that both the Fiesta Señor and Sinulog Festival are celebrations meant for children because they are closest to Señor Sto. Niño, who himself is a child.

“The contingent became special because of the concept that brought smiles and happiness to the children,” he said.

Ponla, one of this year’s youngest choreographers, said the concept was inspired by his own family especially his parents, who are also festival dancers.

“I have watched them dance ever since I could remember. They are the reasons why I love dancing,” said Ponla.

The contingent spent around P600,000 to mount their Sinulog production; P400,000 was from the Sinulog Foundation Inc. while P200,000 came from Barangay Sawang Calero funds and individual donations.


Ponla was a dancer under the award-winning contingent, Lumad Basakanon, when he was between the ages of 15 to 21 years old.

Prior to that, he was a member of local dance groups in barangay Pasil, where he is a resident.

He has been serving as a choreographer since he was 20 years old. He was a former dance master of the Lumad Basakanon.

In his five-year career as a professional choreographer, Ponla said he shares the same challenges such as financial issues and manpower management with fellow choreographers.

“These are normal challenges that choreographers encounter. I manage them using my experience and expertise. Being wise and being creative are my weapons to cope with all the problems,” he told Cebu Daily News Digital.

He said it is important to be patient when mounting a Sinulog presentation.

“I learned that patience is a must especially if you are the head choreographer. I learned that anything is possible, no matter what happens, as long as you offer your dance whole-heartedly to Señor Sto. Niño,” he said.

Ponla said it is a challenge among choreographers to recruit performers who are based in the barangay being represented.

In the case of Tribu Masaulogong Calerohanon, Ponla said the performers are from Barangay Sawang Calero and the neighboring Barangay Pasil.

Ponla was the choreographer of Barangay Pasil last year, the contingent whose dancers were also victims of a fire incident.

To form Tribu Masaulogong Calerohanon, Ponla merged the performers of the two barangays.

“Since Barangay Pasil did not join this year, Barangay Sawang Calero hired me to be their choreographer,” he said.

Ponla said the barangay officials of Sawang Calero are supportive of their contingent, which made their dance presentation colorful and meaningful.

Although they did not win any awards during the Sinulog sa Barangay on January 13, Ponla said the best prize they received is the affirmation from the public that the contingent made them happy.

“It warms my heart to read comments (on Facebook) or when I am told that we brought smiles to children because of our performance and our colorful costumes,” he said./dcb

TAGS: contingent, Sawang Calero, Sinulog Festival, trolls
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