‘Pasinaya’ at CCP
In a notable variant to the old adage that the eyes are the window to the soul, CCP’s Pasinaya Festival has demonstrated that art is also a window to man’s soul. The Cultural Center of the Philippines recently opened its doors to the public once more and the annual festival offered guests—for only P20—a daylong experience of art in song, dance and theater, as well as the visual arts, courtesy of 3,000 artists in its extensive repertoire. Thus, the event manifested that art can be a mirror to reflect society’s mores and hopefully change them.
When the festival was launched seven years ago, there were only 25 performing companies; now there are more than 200. The audience has since grown from 1,000 on that first year to 60,000 this year (last year’s count was 50,000), according to CCP director Chris Millado. This year’s performers included the 50-strong drummers and dancers of Tribu Lunok of Iloilo National High School, The Higantes of Angono, and top performers and artists from various provinces.
Spectators from the different regions arrived at the CCP complex in packed buses to support their artists.
The Pasinaya gave the audience a variety of arts to choose from.
Tribu Lunok recounted Philippine history in dance. Their colorful costumes and props showcased Filipino creativity.
After the spectacular Tribu Lunok performance on the CCP grounds, the University of Santo Tomas Symphony Orchestra regaled spectators at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo with a mini-concert of 1980s music. “Abba! Pasinya Na!” featured the hits of the Swedish pop group Abba.
Elsewhere under that same roof, all other sorts of performances took place.
At the Tanghalang Huseng Batute or Studio Theater, Xavier Stage from Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan, presented “New Yorker in Burgos,” about a woman with delusions about New York. The comic attack was effective in soliciting the audience’s active response.
Another play, “Fuente Ovejuna,” was presented by the De La Salle College of Saint Benilde’s Dulaang Pilipino. Set in the Spanish period, it relates how women in those times fought for love and respect. Iloilo Prima Galaw performed “The Dog Eaters,” about the practice of eating dog meat.
There was no stage at the Pedro Bukaneg Theater, but the neophyte Juan Makasining Youth Artist Network enthusiastically performed their dance piece anyway.
In the early afternoon, Teatro Pilipino’s “Bombita” left the crowd at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo in stitches. Next, Ballet Philippines presented excerpts from “Pusong Wagas.”
Then the world-renowned Philippine Madrigal Singers entertained the main theater audience, who gave them a standing ovation for their renditions of popular love songs.
Other dance groups that performed in various venues were the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group, Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company, Lahing Batangan Dance Troupe, Sandiwang Kayumanggi, Sanlahi Pangkat Mananayaw, Mga Anak ni Inang Daigdig, Sining Bulakenyo, and Batang Ramon Obusan.
The library on the CCP’s third level filled up when it was broadcaster-musician Lourd de Veyra’s turn to … no one knew exactly what he would do. The people, expectant and interested at first, watched quietly as he tinkered with his gadgets. In the end, it turned out to be some sort of poetry-reading session with music.
Some of the people left the library halfway through.
Later, De Veyra, vocalist of the jazz rock band Radioactive Sago Project and a TV5 broadcaster, told Inquirer that he had been giving similar performances in several bars for the last two years with his drummer Jay Gapasin. De Veyra admitted that few actually listened.
He said this performance art form, which he labeled “sound/word collage,” does not really have narrative sense. “It is more of an abstract, creating, primarily, an ambiance.”
On his play list were an old meditation record and a speech by the late President Marcos, among others. He read from the poems of Pete Lacaba and Roland Tolentino, and from a recipe book called “Pulutan” by some of the Magdalo soldiers.
A people’s gala, which included performances by Iloilo artists and members of CCP resident companies, concluded the event.
Members of Tanghalang Pinoy, still in their “Bombita” costumes, served as emcees. But in a parallel performance, they depicted four soldiers sent out on a mission to find the real meaning of art. They arrived at these conclusions:
Art is important because it allows one to show what he feels; art is a window that reveals life’s opportunities and hope; art is food for the soul; and, through art, we can be free and human. Art should not serve merely as a mirror to reflect society’s travails, but rather as a medium to mold it for the better.