Cultural Conversations: The Consul Responds, Dan Suggests

As we promised earlier, we are publishing 1) the letter of Eric Tamayo, Philippine Consul to Japan, which responds to Dan’s article as well as 2) Dan’s subsequent suggestions. Thanks Dan for sharing these with us.

First, we give you the consul’s letter which goes:

Dear Dan,
Thank you very much for the link, and for sharing the pictures.

Viewing the photos remains as stirring (nakakatinding balahibo, ika nga) as the time I saw the Kanto Cordillerans form the parade line and start to drum, dance, and gong their way around the grounds in pure blissful abandon. As I was with my MOFA counterparts at the time, it was a sight to proudly behold and discuss about.

Indeed, the planning and imagination of Julius and Caryn were adequately matched by the spirit and determination of the Kanto Cordillerans (including honorary Cordilleran Ka Noli) — inclement weather notwithstanding.

From what I gathered during the Execom meetings, and on the request of CCP, the full program designed by CCP throughout the two days required that they have time to prep the stage (and backstage) for each and every segment, and there simply was not enough time, let alone physical space, to have other performers use the main stage/backstage in between the CCP performances. It was thus decided that performances other than that of CCP be done at the second (though no less minor) stage. I believe Ryan Cayabyab was supposed to have performed at the second stage as a second day finale too.

The rain changed all that of course as the CCP program got truncated, and the finale performances on Sunday were instead done on Saturday afternoon (all at the main stage). I also understood during our meetings that the VIPs were suppose to move on to the second stage after the CCP opening and light refreshments at the travel cafe, I have to look into the reason why this did not take place, though I can venture an obvious guess that the incessant rains again had something to do with it.

Nonetheless, the Cordillerans provided that brilliant spot on a rather gloomy day, and thus we could call our Fiesta day complete.

Mabuhay and mga Cordillerans sa Kanto! Hanggang sa susunod muli. Huwag sana kayo madala. Next time around, we’ll select a more bulletproof date (and venue perhaps).

All the best.

Eric Gerardo E. TAMAYO
Second Secretary and Consul
Administrative Officer
Philippine Embassy, Tokyo

Dan responds with the letter below and we agree with his requests/suggestions 110%.

Dear Consul Tamayo,
My fellow Cordillerans here in Kanto, Japan, very much appreciate your reply to the article below. May we put forward the the following requests and suggestions?

1) For the next Fiestas to be celebrated in Tokyo, we would like to suggest that cultural presentations be held only in one stage. Having two stages or more creates unpleasant and awkward impressions.

2) While inviting performers and artists from the Philippines could spice up the celebrations, we believe that performances by talented individuals and groups among the Filipino communities here in Tokyo and around Japan can be as exciting and more productive. We think that with awards and prizes for excellent performances by Filipino “local” talents here in Japan, everybody would be encouraged and motivated to prepare presentations that we can all be proud of. Half of the budget given to highly paid performers and artists brought in from the Philippines would perhaps be already enough for such awards and prizes.

3) To our friends from the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), we would like to request that when they perform our dances and claim it to be Cordilleran or Igorot or Ifugao or Kalinga, they dance them the way we, the Cordillerans, do. As pointed out in the article, we care very much about our identity and cultural heritage, and the last thing we would like to be saying about CCP “Cordlilleran” performances is that they are not our dances. We have a number of fellow Cordillerans who are experts in our native dances. If they are interested in learning more about Kalinga dances, they can consult Ms. Naty Sugguiyao. For dances of the Igorots of Mt. Province, they can seek advice from Mrs. Caridad Fiar-od. Ms. Sugguiyao and Mrs. Caridad Fiar-od are both in the Philippines.

If the CCP performers are still here in Japan, they can give Prof. Sylvano Mahiwo a call about Ifugao dances. Our ka-ilyans from Abra, especially Ms. Lila Lumcang-Estolas and the Agcongay sisters, can also teach them about the Itneg Tadek. Our brother Jose Pampanico, who is also based here in Tokyo, can teach them how to beat the gangsa/gongs well, play the kaleleng/nose flute and chant the true Igorot way.

We do want the CCP to perform our dances, for we know its performers are among the most talented and best trained not only in the Philippines but also around the world. But we would be grateful indeed if their performances remain true to the dance steps, swaying and movements of the different dances of the Cordillerans. If they do, they can expect the warmest and loudest cheers from the Cordillerans, whenever and wherever they perform.

Muli, maraming salamat sa inyong reply! More power to you!

With best regards,

So shall we say, all’s well that ends well. We commend Dan for bringing up his concerns to our officials and we also commend Eric for responding to these concerns.

RELATED POSTS: Igorots/iCordilleras in Japan; First Cordillera Day in Tokyo; Thoughts on the First Cordi Day in Tokyo. PHOTO CREDIT: eCordi.

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