By Patricia Simone Dauz

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Like the song, the primary backbone of the narrative is facing up to something important, which haunts us because of denial, and learning to forgive with the support of family and friends.
From the popular Bicolano old ditty, came a visual delight interpretation through dance , music and fashion. Sarong Banggi is latest offering from Ballet Philippines, accompanied with the music of Maestro Ryan Cayabyab. This contemporary ballet piece deals with traditional family values and customs. The family matriarch Pilar (Rita Winder) is having a grand birthday celebration that was organized by her son Jun (Timothy Cabrera) and daughter Rose (Jemima Reyes). As she is left alone while the guests go inside the house, she reminisces her romance with the patriarch who has been absent for so many years, Jose (Jean Marc Cordero). The whole performance is the exploration of Pilar’s past, with the present serving as its alpha and omega.

12120025_10153229880482106_6074268271504507983_o Filipino folk songs served as the base which moved the story forward. During the gala night last October 16, there was a live orchestral accompaniment conducted by the musical director himself, Ryan Cayabyab. Other folk songs which were included in the performance are “Ati Cu Pung Singsing,” “Dalagang Pilipina,” “Ti Ayat Ti Meysa Nga Ubing,” “Salidumay,” “Malinac Lay Labi,” ” Ilocandia,” “ No Te Vayas,” “Si Filemon,” “Ay Kalisud,” “Usahay,” “Walay Angay,” “Sampaguita,” “Pepe en Pilar,” and “Saranggola ni Pepe .“
The transition from one song to another was very organic and it was clear that each song dealt with a specific part of the characters’ history. Almost all of the songs themes’ were parallel to what they stood for in the whole narrative, as part of a whole. “Salidumay,”a tribal song, was used in the scene which was representational of the clash between male and female values. Like warring tribesmen, the female friends of Rosa protect her from Jose who had enlisted the help of his male friends because he was smitten by her. The opposite sexes engaged in a push-pull routine.

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The show featured the choreography of Carissa Adea, Ronelson Yadao, Cyril Aran Fallar, Paul Alexander Morales, Nonoy Froilan, and Carlo Pacis. Another winning aspect of this production was the vibrant costumes designed by Rajo Laurel, which helped make the division between past and present more visual.
“I used the HABI materials like any material. I integrated this into the story and used this to create a scenario of going back in time. I used colour to represent the present, and black and white (where the HABI fabric is used) to reflect the past,” explained Laurel.
The show had a limited run from October 16 to 18 at the CCP Main Theater. Other members of the artistic team were Dennis Marasigan (libretto), Ohm David (set), and Meliton Roxas (lights).
The instrumental arrangements of the 15 Philippine songs were complied in one CD, Serenata: Well-Loved Philippine Folk Songs and Melodies. This is a collector’s edition and comes as compliment when signing for CCP’s membership package.

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