MANDAUE CITY, Cebu — They have to face a lot of challenges as they prepare their entry for this year’s Sinulog grand parade.
But their faith in the Señor Sto. Niño has made them endure all these challenges, according to choreographer Maximar Custodio.
Members of Tribu Mabolokon also believe that the image of the Holy Child that they have been using on their ‘andas’ since 2012 has been protecting them from sickness and harm.
“Mao gyud ni ang nagpalayo namo sa disgrasya, unya kun mahilantan man gani ang mga dancers kay nauwanan, ginagmay ra gyud,” he said.
(That is the one who has protected us from accidents, and if the dancers will have a fever because they have been exposed to the rain, it would not only be a slight one.)
Custodio said their performers were also inspired if they practiced with the image of the Holy Child close by.
While they practice, they place the image of the holy Child on a table, which is placed in a corner of the Mabolo Sports Complex.
And if they still have enough time, they will start their practices by reciting the Holy Rosary and singing the Gozos.
In one of their rehearsals held last Jan. 1, performers formed a circle while they squat on the floor of the Mabolo Sports Complex to pray.
They had their Sto. Niño image and an image of the Our Lady of Guadalupe placed in the middle of the circle.
Custodio said they considered all of their Sinulog performances since 2007 as an offering while they also sought the Holy Child’s protection.
Tribu Mabolokon started its Sinulog journey as a school-based contingent in the Sinulog sa Kabataan from 2007 to 2014.
When the competition shifted to barangay-based sometime in 2016 or 2018, they continued with their annual performance.
Custodio said they also had their share of championships in the school-based category in 2008, 2010 and 2013.
As a barangay-based contingent, they placed 7th in 2018, 5th in 2010 and 3rd in 2011.
Custodio said he would make sure to always organize their contingent to join every Sinulog grand parade even if they were often faced with financial difficulties.
READ: Sinulog 2023 contingents continue to wait for subsidies promised by Cebu City Hall
“Bisan usahay lisud kaayo ang pondo maningkamot gyud ko nga maka Sinulog gihapon mi,” he said.
(Even if it funds are difficult to find, I always try that we can join the Sinulog.)
He is also very lucky that his performers are willing to go the extra mile for their Sinulog entry. In fact, at least, two of this year’s performers have been with him since 2008.
Custodio said their performers would not mind if they would not be served dinner during their practices.
Since they started dance rehearsals for this year’s Sinulog in November 2022, all that he could afford, Custodio said, was to serve them bread for snacks.
“Mangaon lang na sila daan sa ilaha usa sila mo ari,” he said.
(They will just eat at home before they come here.)
2023 Sinulog Entry
The group’s Sinulog 2023 entry focuses on the Bakunawa, a dragon in Philippine mythology. During the lunar eclipse, it was said that the Bakunawa had swallowed the moon.
Pregnant women are often told by their elders to stay inside the house when there is a lunar eclipse, otherwise their unborn child will die.
A woman’s curiosity led to the death of her newborn baby. But a miracle from the Sto. Niño saved the baby.
Custodio said he did his research and spoke to some Cebu elders before they started with their dance practices.
Tribu Mabolokon consists of 80 dancers, 10 ritualists, 100 props men and 50 instrumentalists.
Their dancers started practicing on Nov. 28, and they started to perform with their instrumentalists on Dec. 18. Their props men started rehearsals on Dec. 27.
The group performed in the One Cebu Island Sinulog sa Kabataan 2023 that was held last Jan. 8. They did not make it to the top 5 in the competition, but they would again be dancing in the Sinulog Grand Parade on Jan. 15.
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