The Philippines is a cradle of a culture far beyond compare.
Our native dances, for instance, are jampacked with an epitome of what the Philippines should boast about. From the intricate costumes from north to south to every move done with grace and angst, the Philippine cultural dances indeed mirror the culture and traditions of our forefathers, which we should really be proud of.
Unfortunately, with globalization and modernization spreading like a plague that no one could ever prevent, the old times have been long forgotten. We are now living in a world where everything is changing so fast. We are amidst a life turned fast forward. We have gone a long way that we sometimes forget to look back.
To the people of today, cultural dances are the last thing they would ever want to dance or even watch. Most, if not all, are too much inclined with modern dances. Yes, Hiphop is far more upbeat and cool. No one could disagree to that. As more genres of music and dance are becoming well known to the performing-arts industry, of course, those long-ago ones are being less prioritized.
However, somehow, we ought to go back.
Last June 12, we commemorated the country’s Independence Day. One hundred thirteen years ago, we achieved the long-coveted freedom our heroes have fought for.
As part of the celebration, variety shows incorporated cultural dances in their numbers. It was a good initiative. Having the power of broadcast media, TV shows are a good venue to convey messages to the public since TVs are the most powerful among all types of media, more powerful than the Internet, the new media, because TVs, being dubbed as “the guest at home,” are the most common in the household. At least, people will see something different from the all-famous dances of our present time. At the very least, the richness of the Philippine culture will be remembered.
Yet, something went a bit offbeat.
On ASAP, for instance, while the artists are dancing Banga of the Kalingas, Tinikling from the people of Leyte, and Singkil of the Maranaos, the accompanying music was modernized. The cultural dancers backing up the dancers would have probably fought for the authenticity of the dances, but since they have to follow what the head choreographer of the show wants, they probably had no choice but to go on with what they were told to do. Thus, for a minute and a half, the cultural part of the number, the only exposure for the cultural dances in the spotlight, was taken away by modernization.
The thing is, we only get to commemorate these dances once a year. Why can’t we give that one moment to show what our culture is really all about? We are infested with cool pop and locks all year round. Why can’t we shed some light to cultural dances even for at least a minute in that one number in that one episode in a year?
I understand that they must be following some concepts for their show. I appreciate that they at least tried to make our culture part of the celebration. I just feel personally sad that, while we give credit to cultural dances, we don’t give full credit and don’t even bother making this rich genre shine purely on its own.
Our Philippine dances are rich with the remnants of the traditions of yesterday. We are living in a modern world, but for me, we still ought to know these things that made us what we are now. These are the very things that we should be proud of. We can enjoy the present, but with the little times that we commemorate the past, why not let it enjoy the glory on its own? I don’t think it is wrong to share the limelight, especially with the things that are our very own.
Being proud of being a Filipino will always be different from showing that you really are one, respecting our culture and sharing its richness with those who have been missing it all along.