MIMAROPA Festival 2017: Showdown Competition

It was traffic when the tail of the street dancing parade left, people are rushing to the sports complex to be able to choose a good spot to watch the MIMAROPA Festival Showdown Competition.  There were a lot people lining up at the main gate waiting for the Ambulance to get in but then everyone was told the main gate is closed for public and must use the other gate located at the back of the sports complex or grand stand, this path is leading to the bleachers so we did.

Disappointment of all disappointment, there were already a lot of people, the bleachers are full and even the sports complex stage,  you can’t even see anything from the back not even the grasses  upfront.  Yes, it was a jump pack event, I guess everyone went out on their comfort zone, or in rural joke everyone descended from the boondocks to see the MIMAROPA Festival Street Dancing and Showdown Competition.

There is a lot of people coming in and there are a lot of people going out with disappointment.  I overheard others saying they will just go out because there was no place to sit and even stand, it was a total chaos you can smell each other’s breath and maybe you can even taste each other’s sweat if you are not careful enough (lol). We decided to continue pushing ourselves upfront with the help of people getting out, the space they vacated is our space to move forward.  It turns out there was not enough space because there are mono-blocks chairs and rope string as a barrier, people can’t see at the back because Odionganons left their manners again at home, instead of sitting at the mono-blocks chairs they stand in them blocking all the people at the back and maybe even the people seated in the bleachers.

We are able to see a small space and asked kindly the people in the mono-blocks if we could sit on their front just right behind the rope string, we are permitted by the kind woman who’s also complaining about the manners of others. Heaven sent, there was one police officer who allowed me to go upfront upon asking him nicely if I could go up front to take photos and videos of the showdown competition. Thank you so much Mr. Officer, I am sorry if I couldn’t remember your face even if I met you in the street because I have a poor photographic memory, I can’t even remember the face of the people I have met along the way unless I see them closely.

After saying my thank you or maybe I didn’t, I rush up-front the sports complex without looking back, I might get troubled if I did, an old man who looks like part of the media smiled at me, I smiled back shyly. I looked for a good place to sit below the grand stand and follow other photographers, I have seen the male photographer who looks very familiar to me, but I can’t remember where did I see him, blame it to my memory and being unobservant person.  I was not even seating longer when the female officers started to check people up front for their Media/Press ID provided by the local government, it started when some viewers seat up front as well and I think to avoid the place being crowded they decided to check for Media/Press ID.

My shots with my DSLR wasn’t that clear because I failed to get a focal point and I was anxious to use the sports menu to take many shots thinking I will have an empty battery before all the contenders could finish dancing, I brought a power bank with me but I also forgot about having it in my bag (lol).

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

Anyway, the program proper started with short messages from the local politicians. I admire how Governor Firmalo says only one word  just not to delay the showdown competition, don’t ask me what did he says, because it slip out on my mind because of my terrifying moment.

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

The showdown proper started from an intermission number from the winning tribe among the Romblon Festival Competition, which is the contenders from San Jose, Romblon featuring their Carabao Festival.

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

All performers were given ten minutes to set and prepare their props, first performer to do a showdown was no other than the “Pag-alad Festival” from Sibuyan, Romblon.  They started their performance with about two minutes of introduction/history about the origin of the festival.

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

The setting was one cloudy day when there are many fishes and crabs, the door opens showing the male dancers and the drums started playing it was the sign for the male to start dancing, their movements wasn’t in unison and then here comes the gay ladies in female clothing adorned with white hair dresses, followed by the female dancers in their petal style dresses. Their performance wasn’t too good, it was not very united that I could not get a story about them dancing, they just go out and go in and dance carrying different props, something is missing in their performance, furthermore they also didn’t use a lot of stage props aside from the trees I wonder if they are too heavy to carry or there is no enough budget for stage props.  Honestly, if you are watching a movie on the television and you don’t like what’s on the screen, it is the time to click forward or next, that’s what happen when my phone was already out of memory that I have to change it to a new SD card and what is disappointing the battery of my dslr runs out so I have to change to a new one.

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

The second performers was the Tribe Bitianon from Narra Palawan showcasing their “Palay Festival”. The scene started showing the male and female dancers dancing gracefully on their large dresses, well they’re not carrying a large basket at this time.  The door closes and when it opens the male dancers (which maybe the farmers) unveil to the viewer’s eyes and the door featuring the official seal of Narra, Palawan opens  at their back showing the female dancers and then they started dancing and chanting “Go Palawan!”  The Palay festival shows how the farmers celebrate for their bountiful palay harvest and the rest is history…

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

The third performer was the Bila-Bila Festival from Marinduque, I don’t know their story line because I can’t create one from their performance. The scene started on what it looks like they are portraying a fiesta/festival and inviting the public to join the joyous occasion. At this time a  few indigenous people and the butterflies (who are just green worms since they don’t have wings yet dances smartly and lightly when they exited the morions came in and they portray a bit of the moriones festival and the rest is a next/forward button please.

The next to perform was the “Kalap Festival” from Calapan. The scene opens showing what it looks like farmers or they loggers cutting large trees with the use of their axes? Haha, just kidding! When they exited a large stump was dragged up front where there are four open spaces, in each spaces the provinces of MIMAROPA was featured. The first one is the provinces of Mindoro where they have shown  an indigenous people “Mangyan” holding his tobacco, it was quite funny how the “Mangyan” scratches his thigh and the way he seated was really like a normal “Mangyan”. Next was Marinduque which is known as the origin of Moriones Festival and the next one is Romblon as the marble capital of the Philippines for me, I think they failed in this because they showed a large marble jar, they should show the mortar because it is the most popular product of Romblon, you will see mortars in every marble souvenir shop in Romblon, the last one was Palawan they have shown the symbol of the city, but it was a downer that the peacock was missing on the stump space I guess the bird got bored waiting and she ate somewhere that’s why when she came out she is a bit healthy that she cannot even flapped her wings in to audience laughter.

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

When the jungle opens the log dancers were shown in their bright gold log dresses and that’s where the Kalap Festival showdown fully started, logs and fishes dances and even the logs headed carabaos too. Next scene where female dancers in their gold Maria Clara dress dancing as if celebrating for the good rice harvest, they were joined by the farmers carrying scythes. After wards the jungle opens and went to the deep blue sea where the fishes dances and they were later joined by the log dancers carrying spears and the scene later end when the fishes were speared.

Next scene the farmers and the female dancers in the Maria Clara dress was shown, the door closes and only the female dancers were left in the middle and then here comes the log dancers carrying a bolo, they ambushed the women. I wonder what happened, did the trees and logs had revenge for unnecessary logging of the local people? Hehehe, kidding  aside the log dancers changed their hair dresses to a red cloth wrapped around their head, so the log dancers became a pirate then? Of course the farmers came to the rescue with their axes and as the typical Filipino story the intruders were defeated by the heroic farmers to the joy of the female and fishes dancers.  Hahaha

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

Tribu Tandikan from Puerto Princesa was the next one to perform. The scene started showing three indigenous Aeta hunters dancing and then male blue bird came into the scene as well as the female brown bird they went out and went they went back they are already in a large group, I think they are celebrating seeing the two birds, to cut the story short the two birds left leaving an egg. The scene closes and another scene was shown showing male and female dancers dressed in traditional clothing (our great grandma’s era Maria Clara’s style dresses) I think they are celebrating for their bountiful harvest, dancing and singing with the male dancers carrying a guitar. What’s next the indigenous people and the local people met for what it looks like a trade, the bird’s egg that was traded for a basket full of corns and crops was put into something that looks like a nest, fast forward the egg hatched to a beautiful blue and brown feather combination to the locals joy, then more brown birds came out from the back stage as if they are celebrating for the new born.

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

The door closes and the male dancers came in carrying a what looks like a pole banner showcasing the signs of the provinces included in the MIMAROPA region, while the blue birds are laying some eggs (haha), and then the blue birds came in the stage dancing and they were chased out by the locals bringing the MIMAROPA signs, as well as spears they owned the stage dancing with what it looks like pandango sa ilaw, to cut the story short in the stage a very colorful MIMAROPA signage was left.

There was already a bar left on my second battery after recording non-stop. Feeling anxious that I can’t anymore record the performance of Tribu Mangyan I decided to use my phone to record the next performer, which is the Bahaghari Festival from Oriental Mindoro, they started their performance, stating the history of Bahaghari festival how the rainbow guided them to their destination when they lose their direction after a turbulent weather.

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

The makeshift door opens showing the drummers riding a small boat while playing their drums, they ended with a blast, blowing/spitting something in the air I wonder if it was water or smoke, but I guess it was water because as it says a rainbow has an element of water and the sun who was next to perform. When these two were combined a rainbow was made to the amazement of the indigenous people who looks like Mangyans in their gold tribal dress, but unlike the Tribu Mangyan who did the street dancing in their bare skin, they uses skin tone body tights, I guess their confidence level to show bare skin wasn’t that huge like the  performers from Occidental Mindoro.

The rainbow fairies dance gracefully and in unison in the audience amazement because when their dress goes up a colorful rainbow underlining dress were shown and next to perform where the colorful dancers with colorful foam headdresses they were joined by the suns, when they exited the fairies came in again with their tiny gold pots, they dance happily and at the end a large pot was shown, it was believed that at the end of a rainbow there was a pot of gold isn’t it?

The last to perform was the awaited tribe of everyone the “Tribu Mangyan” from Occidental Mindoro. People were shouting as they started to perform showing a Mangyan couple dancing with a basket and when the makeshift door of field and trees opens more female Mangyan dancers was shown and they started to dance with their basket and then they give way to their male dancers who are all wearing just a “bahag” without their upper garments, they dance well, they move as one and what is amazing their movements, gestures were really of those indigenous people, they were very entertaining to watch especially they are smiles or should I say grins. It was funny when the male dancers on their bahag with baskets on their backs dances facing backwards showing their bare butt cheeks to the people.

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

My gosh, I can’t give justice to their performance just by narrating it. It should be much better to see it live or even in a video. They also have shown the provinces included in the MIMAROPA region, but unlike Kalap Festival theirs was well crafted and portrayed. All I can say they are indeed the best, their movements were perfect they move as one person.

People started to go home after the Tribu Mangyan’s performance before I can see my sister she already saw me first and we decided to go near the dancers to have some photo opps, the dancers from Mindoro (Oriental and Occidental) as well as the one from Puerto Princesa were very kind to pose for a photo when they are all tired and exhausted.  I don’t know where are the other dancers who finishes their performance first, maybe they already went home to their quarters.

MIMAROPA Festival 2017

The Tribu Mangyan dancers were very energetic, it seems they didn’t just took a huge drums of confidence, but they also eat a lot of energy bars and drink a lot of energy drinks. They are all fully charged that they dance every time their drums were requested by the host to play, the host requested to do some hand waves to the left and to the right and all the performers who were left inthe grounds were happy to oblige.

We had some photo opps with other performers because we can’t request all of them (haha), what’s funny they photobomb when you do a selfie, we are very pleased of their kind gestures and we are able to find one friend.

Anyway, to cut the story short, Puerto Princesa won the  best in musicalities. Calapan was the second placer with their Kalap Festival, the first places goes to Tandikan Festival of Puerto Princesa and of course the Champion were the Tribu Mangyan’s of Occidental Mindoro.

Congratulations to the winners and cheers to everyone!

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