In an effort to conserve the diverse cultural heritage embedded in Philippine Folk Dances, the Philippine Folk Dances Society-Cordillera Administrative Region (PFDS-CAR), in partnership with Saint Louis University’s Center for Culture and the Arts (SLU-CCA), orchestrated a three-day Regional Folk Dance Workshop 2023 at the Prince Bernhard Gymnasium from 16 to 18 November 2023.
The event brought together a diverse group of participants, including physical education teachers and dance trainers, all passionate about reviving the traditional Philippine folk dances that reflect the country’s cultural heritage.
To kickoff the workshop, the SLU Dance Troupe graced the stage, welcoming participants from various cities and provinces, including Baguio, Benguet, Ifugao, Ilocos, Isabela, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Nueva Vizcaya, Pangasinan, Tabuk, and Tuguegarao.
Rev. Fr. Gilbert B. Sales, CICM, PhD, gave his welcome remarks, emphasizing the significance of dance as an art form and an act of worship to God. He urged attendees to share their God-given talents generously. Congratulating the organizers, officers of the PFDS-CAR, and the SLU-CCA, Rev. Fr. Sales highlighted the event’s contribution to quality education (SDG 4) and dance training, echoing the CICM Advocacy on Justice.
Mrs. Rebecca L. Nulud, President of the PFDS-CAR, emphasized in her opening remarks that the workshop created opportunities for linkages and rapport-building among like-minded artists. She highlighted the workshop’s significance in providing platforms for young talents to hone their skills and showcase versatility.
Furthermore, Madonna Castro Gonzales from Philippine Normal University, North Luzon, enthusiastically shared her adoration for the workshop. Expressing her desire to visit the renowned SLU, she spoke of its acclaimed academic excellence across various programs, stating, “It’s been on my bucket list to visit your University, and I can say kaya pala.”
The Philippines, an archipelago with over 7,641 islands, boasts a wealth of cultural traditions, with folk dances serving as a vibrant thread in the intricate fabric of Filipino culture.
Participants immersed themselves in foundational dance steps and movements presented by accomplished dance facilitators and demonstrators during the workshop. They explored dances such as Bombowak by Dr. Dino Reyes, Bulaklak ng Halaman by Sherwin Santiago, Gandingan, Salakban by Rainer Valera, La Jota Laoagueña by Valentino Manera, Gandingan by Apollonio Espiritu Jr., and Panangabalayan by Jordan Neri. The culmination on the last day featured a Workshop Showcase, allowing participants to exhibit their newfound skills.
The Regional Folk Dance Workshop showcased the richness of Philippine folk dances and enhanced the teaching competencies of educators, dance instructors, choreographers, directors, performers, and dance enthusiasts, marking a significant step towards preserving and promoting this integral aspect of Filipino culture.