Banay Labangon dances the Sinulog to show devotion to Señor Santo Niño
CEBU CITY, Philippines – They pray the novena to the Señor Santo Niño before they start their dance rehearsals.
This is the secret of the success of Banay Labangon, which has been a consistent top five placer in the annual Sinulog Grand Parade since they first joined in the 1990s.
Princess Mondejar, one of the contingent’s production staff and a teacher at the Don Sergio Osmena Sr. Memorial National High School, said they always ask their performers to make a petition at the start of their novena and “bisan unsa ka lisud ma dungog ra man pud (no matter how impossible, our petitions are always heard [by the Señor Sto. Niño]).”
This year, high school students and some alumni from the public high school will make another appearance in the grand parade on Sunday, January 19, 2020, “not just to win a competition but to show our devotion (to the Señor Sto. Niñ0).”
Banay Labangon landed on the second place in the Sinulog Tribu Kabataan 2020 held on January 12, 2020. Their victory earned them a slot in the Sinulog grand parade.
The contingent consists of 88 dancers, 11 lead dancers, 194 propsmen and 50 instrumentalists.
Since they carry the theme “Barok,” cave men from the stone age who were introduced to the Señor Sto. Niño, 88 of their dancers are teenage boys while only three of them are girls.
Mondejar promises Sinulog spectators an even grander presentation from Banay Labangon on Sunday.
Since they won second place in the Sinulog Tribu Kabataan 2020, they made several adjustments on their movements and props.
“We made our adjustments based on the evaluations given by the judges (in the Sinulog Tribu Kabataan),” she told CDN Digital.
Their Sinulog entry on Sunday will give more emphasis on their props and movements, she added.
Mondejar said they also had some of their props that were damaged by the downpour on Jan. 12 fixed to make these look new for the grand parade.
“We are trying our best to be 100 percent prepared,” Mondejar added.
Choreographed by Angelo Manapsal, the group started their dance rehearsals in Nov. 2019. They started to gather their propsmen on Jan. 6.
They practice after school from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on weekends.
“Much as we wanted our routine perfected, we still want to make that our students’ academics remain a priority,” Mondejar.
She said that while they practice the whole day on Saturdays, they only rehearse from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays to allow their performers time to also do their homeworks and spend time with their families.
Banay Labangon is set to already start their practices at the Cebu City Sports Center grandstand stage on Thursday, Jan. 16.
Mondejar said they hope to again make it to the top five spot in Sundays grand parade. They placed 4th and 2nd in the Sinulog Based category of the Sinulog grand parade in 209 and 2018 respectively. / bjo
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