Monday, June 12, 2006

Araw ng Kalayaan
The invitation read:
"Hinabing Gunita" - A grand asalto presenting a brief history of the Philippines through a rich tapestry of music, dance and tradition.
Venue: Main theater, Cultural Center of the Philippines
Date: Sunday, June 11, 2006
Time: 8 p.m
Attire: Filipiniana, Formal

I haven't worn a Filipiniana outfit since my father retired from the diplomatic service over 5 years ago. So last night, I ransacked my wardrobe for any formal wear. I just decided to go with my simmering little black dress which amazingly still fits me. Woot! I tied my hair in a little bun, how dalagang Filipina, no? I accentuated the dress with the only native looking choker I could find, wore my black pearl earrings and my black heels.
On a gloomy rainy night complete with thundering bolts of lightning illuminating the sky, my sister and I went off to the CCP.

We were regaled for 1 1/2 hours. A musical journey that utilizes ageless Filipino classics and Filipino pop songs to reflect the realities of our history and the realization of our nationhood. The songs were given modern day interpretation but with strong linkage to our past.
Songs like "Sino ang Baliw?", "Iduyan Mo", "Habang may Buhay". Timeless classics lyrically composed by Levi Celerio, Rey Valera, George Canseco, Ryan Cayabyab. They were powerfully performed by talented singers like Dulce, Bituin Escalante, Grace Nono, Jed Meddala and The Company among others. The Ramon Obusan dance troupe and Ballet Philippines entranced with their smooth moves. The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra provided the melodious score for the performances.
A rich colorful presentation of bright hues adorned the stage, the performers dressed in our native costumes, their loud melodic voices booming through the venue.

It really makes me nostalgic of my former life, my "diplobrat" phase when attending diplomatic functions dressed to the nines in stiff native attires was the norm. Soirees where we showed the invited foreign guests how proud we were to be Filipinos. We saluted and feted the valiant efforts of our ancestors, the defenders of our culture, our race and our freedom.
Ah, the good old days. I meant my good old days.
I'm not sure I could have survived all those hardships during the Spanish invasion era nor the atrocities during the harsh Japanese imperalist occupation of our beloved land.


The last part of the show ended with Lolo Pepe (Jose Rizal if he had lived to a ripe old age, portrayed brilliantly by Nonie Buencamino) addressing the audience. He told us not to lose hope for our country, to celebrate the greatness of its people and most of all to cherish and safeguard our freedom. For the finale, all the performers were on stage, waving flags (which they also distributed among the audience) and we all sang the National Anthem at the top of our lungs.

So let's all have a good, peaceful 108th Independence Day, today.
Let us stop bickering among ourselves, be proud of our race, hold our heads up high and not give up hope for this nation. We must praise God to high heavens for our often forsaken and much maligned freedom.
Happy National Day!!!

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