The Ultimate Representation of Culture
Ano nga ba ang kultura? Tradisyon? Nakaraan? Sinauna? Makaluma? Matatanda?
Held on August 23, the Third Annual Manitoba Filipino Street Festival was a success, not only in terms of the number of participants (organizations, associations, performers, volunteers) but also in audience attendance. Despite that drizzly and chilly dark-skied Saturday, the participants still managed to present in their best forms and the entire production team had ensured that the audience enjoyed a taste of Philippine culture on all sides.
At past nine in the morning…
A parade of floats started the event—gracing portions of McPhillips Street around the vicinity of Garden City Shopping Centre, where the festival held its base since its first year. Flocks of excited and wide-eyed mostly Filipino spectators lined the streets to witness the beautiful and culturally distinct floats complete with uniformed and costumed performers and participants, many of whom would also be presenting cultural performances based on the flavor of their provincial subcultures.
The center of the festival was held on the actual grounds of Garden City where an impressive modernized bahay-kubo–influenced sturdy and festively adorned stage was situated. After the parade, a contest of cultural performances by participating Filipino organizations/associations followed suit. Having been invited to be a member of the panel of judges who would choose winners among the talented groups of performers was really a daunting task. Not because we had to stay at our designated table and carefully pay attention to every moves and shakes of the performers but because choosing the best among the lot was a big responsibility.
Judging based on a Balance of Objectivity versus Subjectivity
In any competition, especially that which involved group performances, contestants generally presented impressive works. After all, hard work and creativity were obvious factors in their having come up with entertaining and educational shows like that. However, as a professional judge, I needed to have that fair balance of objectivity and subjectivity. When I say objectivity, it meant that I had to score each group of performers based on a given set of measurable points of criteria, which usually included costumes, dance choreography and synchronicity, relevance of concepts/themes, audience impact, effectivity of music used, and performers’ presentability or attractiveness. On subjectivity, here comes the personal taste and preference of the individual judges. Personally, I had a difficult time tallying my choices because I had to carefully consider every aspect of the performances. In the end though, I had to use the points of criteria to justify my personal preference—which is a good balance of traditional and modernity, live music versus piped-in music, engaging and lively movements of the dance routines, elaborateness of the costumes, and creativity of the presentations. Having explained this, I’m certain that as far as I’m concerned, the results of the competition were fair and well-deliberated.
A Satisfied Audience
Observing the audience at large, I could say that the majority of the people there had fun and had a moment’s glimpse of how a typical Philippine cultural festival could be—a mix of the traditional and the modern, fun and noise, food and music, rain or shine, exhaustion but satisfaction. Many of them had surely felt nostalgic, reminiscing their own experiences and previous lives in their native land.
In the afternoon onwards…
The committee behind Manitoba Filipino Street Festival succeeded in being able to present Philippine culture both in its traditional and modern sense. They certainly acknowledged that any culture, for that matter, is a good mix of the old and the new—representing both the elder and the younger generations, casting no one aside, embracing everyone’s sentiments. The traditional aspect of Philippine culture—Folk-based, rural, provincial, and laidback—was represented by performances by the likes of Bibak, Aklan Association of Manitoba, Tribo Sugbu, Association of Caviteños in Manitoba, and MIPS–Winnipeg Batangueño Association. On the other hand, representing the modern part of Filipino culture included Winnipeg local singers/songwriters Tiffany Ponce and Levy Abad, Toronto-based singer/songwriter / keyboard player Arlene Paculan, and local bands The 12/21 and Transfusion. In addition, Winnipeg Sikaran & Arnis Academy presented a modernized rendition of mixed martial arts combined with tinikling on a backdrop of Pop/Hip-hop version of some Philippine Folk tunes.
A well-deserved salute goes to all—especially the top leaders and movers behind the festival’s committee—who contributed their time, effort, hard work, creativity, sportsmanship, and excitement to the success of the Third Annual Manitoba Filipino Street Festival.
Sa Madaling Salita
Ang kultura ay hindi lang binubuo ng mga tradisyon at iba pang makaluma, sinauna, at nakalipas na aspeto ng isang bansa—ito ay tumatanggap din sa mga makabagong kontribusyon ng mga kabataan at mga may makabagong pamamaraan ng pag-iisip.