Leyte storm survivors to return
They weathered supertyphoon Yolanda and three other storms – – Queenie, Ruby and Seniang.
A resilient Tribu Lingganay from the municipality of Alang-Alang in Leyte province will participate again in the Sinulog grand parade on Jan. 18.
They won championship trophies in 2012 and 2013 in the Free Interpretation (FI) category, a victory they want to repeat.
“We are never discouraged by hardships. Iniisip namin, that is the road to winning the championship again,” said contingent coordinator Kent Jefflord Guillermo.
Close to 600 performers and instrumentalists have been practicing since October 2014. They rehearsed even as rains fell during typhoons Quennie, Ruby and Seniang last year.
“We do not want to fail the Sinulog spectators. We wanted to make sure that we will be giving a good show,” said Guillermo.
Dancing in the Sinulog is also their thanksgiving to Cebu and Leyte provinces’ patron, Señor Sto. Nino.
Like the Cebuanos, Leyte natives consider the Sto. Nino their protector from danger and provider of help.
“We can always feel that the Sto. Nino showers us with a lot of blessings,” he said.
Supertyphoon Yolanda which hit the Visayas on Nov. 2013 affected 98 percent of the 54 barangays in Alang-Alang.
Many were left homeless. Electricity was cut off and there was barely enough food supply.
Guillermo said residents worried that no help would reach Alang-Alang, a second class municipality about 79 kilometers from Ormoc City.
To their surprise, relief aid from NGOs and international communities was flown in shortly after Yolanda hit.
“The protection and the resilience of our people, we owe all to the Sto. Niño,” said Guillermo.
Leyte wasn’t badly affected as other provinces by the threats of typhoons Quennie, Ruby and Seniang.
Their contingent of 400 propsmen, 200 support staff , 96 dancers and 40 instrumentalists will arrive in Cebu City on January. 12.
“Our dancing props and play of bright colors have always been the signature of Tribu Lingganay,” said Guillermo.
He said they prepared several “surprises with a little twist” which they want to keep under wraps for now.
Tribu Lingganay won the FI championship in 2012 and 2013.
Their 2013 entry depicted the Waray belief in enchanted beings or “Ingkantos”. The dance plot showed natives looking for their town’s mythical golden bell that went missing. Residents fall sick from a spell cast by “Ingkantos”, and revive only after seeking intervention from the Sto. Nino.
Brothers Maximar and Emerito Costudio who choreographed their 2012 and 2013 Sinulog entries also worked on this year’s dance choreography.
Guillermo said they struggled with fund shortages and bad weather in preparing this year.
The Leyte provincial government, their biggest fund contributor, begged off to give way to post-Yolanda rehabilitation. The town had to skip the dance competition in 2014.
Another donor, their town’s Sanguniang Kabataan Federation (SKF), no longer exists.
This year, they raised P3 million from the municipal government and donations. Some residents working abroad contributed.
When typoon Ruby struck in early December, power was cut for five days, disrupting rehearsals. Outages recurred when typhoon Seniang hit on December 28.
Night practice continued with very dim lights powered by a generator.
“We went on with our practices even when all we could see were shadows,” Guillermo said.
Since a bridge in barangay Dapdap was weakened by the storms, restricting use by vehicles, about a third of their performers who live on the other side had to to cross the bridge on foot to go home after their practices end at midnight.
Rehearsals went from 2 p.m. to 12 midnight.
Props materials bought from Tacloban city had to be carried across the bridge to a waiting truck.
“Pahirapan talaga sa pag-transport,” said Guillermo.
But they do not mind the obstacles.
“This is all for the Sto. Niño. This is all for the Sinulog,” he said.
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