BAGUIO CITY — The Baguio City National High School-Special Program for the Arts (BCNHS-SPA), which won first place in the high school category of the grand street dancing parade held on March 2, will represent the Cordillera Region in the annual “Aliwan” Festival.
“Aliwan” Festival, organized by the Department of Tourism (DOT), gathers festival champions nationwide to a massive convergence of creativity and cultural dance competition in Manila.
The announcement was made by the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation (BFFF) prior to the contingent’s showdown at the Melvin Jones grandstand on Sunday, during the grand float parade.
“Even before the performance in grand street parade competition, teachers are hopeful that we will be able to join in this year’s Aliwan festival and that served as our motivation to perform better,” Ricky Chia, BCNHS-SPA choreographer told Philippine News Agency (PNA) after the presentation.
“Representing Baguio City in the upcoming Aliwan Festival is an honor. We assure the city that we will level up 10 times better from what we have presented,” said Chia, who has been a long-time choreographer but this is the first time he participated in a Panagbenga event.
He said props would be enhanced to better represent, not only Baguio City, but the entire Cordillera Region as well.
‘Wonders of Baguio’
The BCHNS-SPA contingent is composed of 200 personnel — from dancers, props holders and assistants.
Chia said the presentation titled “Wonders of Baguio” depicts the different tourist attractions in the city.
He said it was a challenge to come up with a story highlighting the city’s wonders and to deal with different grade levels of students. The dancers are from grades 7 to 10.
He said the dance’s “story” started from Tam-awan village to highlight the Indigenous Peoples (IPs), the culture, the preservation of traditions, and the people’s resiliency during the 1990 earthquake.
Chia said the part when the participants were shouting symbolizes the traumatic experiences of the people during the 1990 earthquake, when people thought they were hopeless.
“We included Lourdes Grotto as one of the wonders of the city because it symbolizes hope and faith,” he said.
Chia said that part of the story gave him the idea of making the dancers do strong movements.
“As you saw during their presentation, there were some routines that they needed to lie down and slowly moving upward. That is where blooming forward comes in,” he said.
Panagbenga’s theme this year is “Blooming Forward”.
The props used include a swan to represent the water element, botanical garden for earth element, lion for fire element and butterflies for air element.
He attributed their success to their support system and conditional learning style considering that allowed them to properly handle a multi-grade level of participants.
Being a native of Olongapo, he said he fell in love with the city’s culture and rich IP community. He said he wanted to be of service, which made him come back to help choreograph the BCNHS-SPA performance.
Preparation for Aliwan
BCNHS-SPA teacher coordinator Francis Lumiwes said they have a month to prepare for the Aliwan Festival set in April. There are three categories: Street Dance, Float Parade, and the Reyna ng Aliwan (Queen of Entertainment) beauty pageant.
Lumiwes said it is their first time to join the festival. He said the budget could reach as much as PHP800,000 for the costumes, props, and food.
Pamela Mariz Geminiano /PNA – northboundasia.com