Unveiling a new perspective on our lineage
John Nikolai Almelor
To capture the divergent layers of culture of the Philippines’ 7,107 islands, one needs to look at different avenues of history, art, music, dance, and even food if someone is to take a step towards understanding it.
However, anyone can capture the essence of the Philippines’ cultural distinctiveness through Kultura Filipino, a program launched by the Department of Tourism (DoT).
Kultura Filipino showcases performances that depict the life and ways of the Filipino through various exhibitions around Manila’s historical town of Intramuros.
One of its highlights includes several shows by Filipino artists, recognized here and abroad that will be shown every Tuesday and Thursday at Barbara’s Restaurant. The restaurant also served as the venue for its launching last January 27.
“One of the main staples in a tourist’s itinerary is cultural performance, and having one main venue to showcase our diverse artistic traditions to local and international audience helps to solidify our cultural identity,” said Tourism Secretary Ace Durano.
Barbara’s was once again illuminated as performances from various musical acts graced the stage of the famed restaurant.
Timeless tunes from yesteryear filled Barbara’s as bossa nova singer Sitti serenaded guests with her unique renditions of songs from the country’s great composers. The Mandaluyong Children’s Choir proved why they bagged top honors in the 2004 World Choir Olympics with an amazing performance. A dance medley from the Bayanihan Dance troupe demonstrating different folk and ethnic dances created the atmosphere of a party which would have been common a few hundred years ago.
Durano also added that Kultura Filipino should establish Manila, a city entrenched in history and culture, as a major destination in terms of cultural awareness as the project aims to be one of the highlights of their city tour packages. Interested groups are also urged to participate in the said campaign.
Kultura Filipino is planning to expand their repertoire to more than just music and dance. Other fields such as sculpture, painting, photography, printmaking, and cinema are being considered for inclusion in future campaigns, as are other traditional activities such as theater plays and poetry readings.
Mounting these exhibitions in Intramuros is considered an added incentive as the town within its walls couples history with an old world charm, thus creating another perspective as it provides for a unique cultural presentation.
Director Elizabeth F. Nelle of the DoT Office of Product Research and Development said, “With the country’s different regions tapped to participate in Kultura Filipino, the audience can expect a colorful presentation from a whole spectrum of different traditions and performing arts.”
For the month of March, the different dance groups slated to perform at Barbara’s include the Bayanihan Dance Company, Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group Halili Cruz Dance Company, Lahing Bulakenyo, and Sining Kumintang Batangas. The Philippine National University-Kislap Sining, Technological University of the Philippines-Kalinangan Dance Troupe, Sinukuan Performing Arts, and the Centro Escolar University Dance Troupe are also set to perform.