Sunday, December 11, 2011

Bulacan's lost arts?

A few weeks ago, I went on a cultural tour of Bulacan. The tour introduced us to some of the "dying" art forms of the region. It's sad when you think of how our traditions and cultural practices are slowly disappearing but we have to admit, it is indeed tough to remain competitive with the changing times. With that said, allow me to put the spotlight on these art forms, in an effort to keep them alive.

Our first stop during the tour was the Francisco Balagtas Memorial School. We all know Balagtas from High School and may have fond memories of acting out Florante at Laura.
But apart from that, have you heard of "Balagtasan"? It's a form of debate with debaters articulating their points in a poetry-like manner. The arguments come out in sing-song, just like beautiful poetry.
The children from the school gave us a sample of this art form. Really, it was so entertaining! Much more than the actual arguments, what stood out more si how everything was in rhyme!
One of my favorite cultural practice that they allowed us to have a glimpse of is the art of "Harana" (courting through song). It is so interesting how traditional the art of courting was before. Did you know, Harana is done not just when you're courting someone, it is also done when you want to be "introduced" to a lady. How formal!
After the song, the "lady" may wish to reply by singing a song herself!
Another of my favorites is how they showed us the dance in "Obando". Obando is a festival in Bulacan where people ask for something in hope of receiving their wishes. Normally, people who flock to this festival ask for husbands or a child (for couples).
That's me in white, "trying" to get the hang of the dance. Haha! Guess what I wished for? :P
Of all the art forms that they showed us that day, the thing that really stuck out to me was the art of Puni, or leaf folding.
So cute how they made accessories from it too in an effort to keep it alive
There's so much you can do with Puni. Since it only involves folding, you can create small/big masterpieces with it depending on your fancy.
They gave us these Puni birds when we arrived. It's supposed to be a necklace but when one of the tour operators gave me another one, I knotted them together and thought of turning it into a single dangling earring.
Isn't it the cutest? I think modern fashionistas can pull off this "dangling" Puni earring with ease
It's sad when you think of how our culture is slowly fading into oblivion-- and the problem is not just confined to the Philippines. I'm sure other nations' cultural heritage are also losing their luster. But just like what our tour operator told us, traditions may wane and lose their appeal, but as long as there are people who, in their little ways, try to educate others, these traditions will live on forever.

1 comment:

  1. Great cultural tour! I'd love to hear the Balagtasan and see the Obando dance number. Great post! :)


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