Cebu’s dancing inmates perform before loved ones, Mega Cebu on Christmas Eve

By Peter L. Romanillos |December 26,2014 - 05:39 PM
Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) dancing inmates form a giant human Christmas tree formation during a performance in front of their family members and members of the Mega Cebu group on Christmas eve. (CDN PHOTO/ JUNJIE MENDOZA)

Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) dancing inmates form a giant human Christmas tree during a performance in front of their family members and members of the Mega Cebu group on Christmas eve. (CDN PHOTO/ JUNJIE MENDOZA)

Around 2,100 of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center’s  (CPDRC) dancing inmates performed a rendition of the classic carol “Jingle Bells” before their loved ones and members of the “Mega Cebu” group on Christmas Eve last Wednesday.

At the end of the presentation, the inmates rearranged themselves and raised their hands that were dipped in red and green food coloring to form a giant Christmas tree. They also yelled in unison, “Malipayong Pasko, Cebu (Merry Christmas Cebu)!”

“We did the activity in order for our inmates to feel and celebrate Christmas even if they are in jail. Padayon ang ilang kinabuhi bisan ug naa sila diri (Their lives will continue even if they are here),” Provincial Jail Warden Romeo Manansala said.

The jail facility ran by the Cebu provincial government has 2,216 inmates but the elderly and those with physical disabilities begged off from the presentation.

Capitol jail consultant Marco Toral said they initially planned to present the performance in order to clinch the Guinness world record on the largest human Christmas tree formation.

However, the jail management was unable to contact the organization ahead of time.

Aside from the human tree formation, the inmates also performed their viral dance hits which included renditions of Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean, You’ve Got A Friend and They Don’t Care About Us.

Before the presentation, newly-crowned Miss Earth 2014 Jamie Herrell gave her Christmas greetings to the inmates.

“I am personally amazed with your performances because I love to dance myself and it takes dedication and hard work,” she said.

The CPDRC dancing inmates shot to fame when the video of their performance of the late Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” was uploaded in YouTube in 2007. The video now has more than 54 million views.

Vince Rosales, choreographer of the dancing inmates, said the presentation was special since it marked the progress of the inmates’ skill in dancing and in their attitude towards their performance.

“The first time I stepped into this job, I really cried because I was not expecting that I’ll be teaching inmates to dance. Most of them have never tried dancing, they all have left feet,” he said.

During lunch, the inmates were treated to a lunch of 60 roasted pigs donated by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI).

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