A pure sense of national pride is felt when the Koro Bulakenyo performes the two command performances at the Canton Food Gallery, Nov. 7; and at the Filipino Senior Group Centre, Nov. 9, before the hundreds of kababayans (compatriots) and guests who at the beginning of the concerts are looking forward for unforgetable nights!
Indeed, even our Filipino soul has been uplifted after witnessing the musical theatre, in both venues where more than five standing ovations, and more requests happen, an unbelievable feat only attained by the Koro Bulakenyo in front of adoring fans and teary-eyed kababayans!
The 13-member Koro Bulakenyo, the Ambassadors of Goodwill for Music of the Province of Bulacan, is composed of professionals who hail from the different town and cities of Bulacan. The musical theatre concert entitled “SA MAHAL KONG BAYAN” aims to present genuine Filipino numbers combining the songs, dances and acting describing the historical and cultural legacies of the Filipinos. Indeed, this theatrical concert also promotes the varied colours and vibrancy of the Filipino culture and the charm of our music.
It is a musical theatre with a different twist, with indelible mark of Filipino sentiments, portraying the Filipino diaspora, a continuing struggle between the two cultures: the mystic of the east and the magic of the west; between two emerging forces: economics and politics; between the unsolvable divides: the rich and the poor.
The story begins in a cold fall season in Winnipeg, at the Richardson International Airport, where Auring or Aurelia Salungsawa, 25, central figure of the play, is bound to the Philippines after a two-week holiday tour in Canada, a prize she won in the chewing gum contest in Manila. At the airport, she meets other kababayans who are also bound to the Philippines for Christmas holiday, to be with their loved ones.
Aura, as she is called, is a perennial traveler, a jetsetter. She has visited many countries as a student, as a missionary, as a participant in seminars and conventions, and religious pilgrimage, as an oversea Filipino worker. a business woman who sells Hongkong goods; a jolly joiner to the national contests with a trip abroad as one of the major prizes. Aura also represents a Filipino who knows more about Hongkong or Bangkok more than Manila or Cebu; who prefers coffee shop in Paris rather than the ubiquitous carinderia.
The interaction at the airport offers the subplots which explode with songs, dances and folksy dialogues. Some unforgetable Filipino iconic songs trigger nostalgia and personal sentiments: Manila, Manila, Anak, Sa Ugoy ng duyan, Mutya ng Pasig, to Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika, and the famous kundiman, Gaano Kita Kamahal. Laugthers exploded when “Ispageti” , Kalesa, and Kenkoy are presented with so much joy; nationalistic fervor is high when “Viva Republika” and the finale “Bayan Ko” are brought alive on stage, their blended voices define professionalism and ingenuity, totally uplifting the Filipino soul.
Special presentations are held at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, at the Winnipeg City Hall with Mayor Brian Bowman, St. Peter’s Catholic Church, 12:30 mass; Filipino Journal’s 2014 Paskuhan for the new immigrants and at the Richardson International Airport, a goodbye song.
Alfie Vera Mella’s Half Man/Half Elf kicks off the concerts with their outstanding performance.
The Koro Bulakenyo is composed of multi talented Bulakenyo and these include Lylaine P. Macario, Jayson r. Perez, Raymond A. Carlos, Eduard G. Sison, Mary Grace C. Rebuldela, Emil John Galang Edjer, Maria Judith F. Tanig, Ramises H. Dalisay, Jr., Antonio B. Santos, Mechel Agustin, Arianne P. de los Reyes, and Marivic DG. Panilawan, and Glenn B. De Jesus, head of the delegation and choirmaster. Production and artistic staff composed of Glenn B. De Jesus, over-all director; Armando P. Sta. Ana, stage director; Nelly T. Azada, scriptwriter; Alfeo B. Catindig, asst. choirmaster; Raymond a. Carlos, stage manager; and Jaime C. Bartlett, production coordinator.
The sponsors include The Bulacan Association of Winnipeg, MB, Felix and Evelyn Pao, Sunnyday Group of Companies (Canton Food Gallery, Sunnyday Heating and Air Conditioning, Green Ninja Eatery and Bakery, and Coldwell Banker-Sarah and Nathan Pao, Nazario family and Friends, Filipino Journal, Loralee Screen Printing, Embroidery and Apparel, Larry and Tova Vickar, Vickar Automotive Group, Inc. Fely Grieve of A1 Nutrition and Tache Pharmacy (Bill Balacho).
After the unforgetable theatrical presentation,every member of the Koro Bulakenyo joins the guests, meeting their townmates and most of all, new friends in Winnipeg. As planned, the 2015 theatrical presentation is scheduled in Europe to present “Sinakulo”, the Passion of Christ!
Photos by Ron Cantiveros | Filipino Journal