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The heritage house, the choreographer, and the ballet

Archivist Purissima “Petty” Benitez-Johannot and her team have been looking after Helena’s house, cataloguing its contents since 2018. The house on Mariposa, Qùezon City, is MiraNila, ancestral home of the Benitez family; Helena is Helena Z. Benitez—educator, former senator, and founder of the Bayanihan Philippine Dance Company of the Philippine Women’s University (PWU). Helena was...

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Uluru: In the heartland of the world’s oldest living culture

SYDNEY—Can you see it from up here? I asked my daughter Giselle while I was looking out the window as the plane descended. If it’s on this side and it isn’t cloudy, she replied. Seconds later, it came into view: Uluru, the mammoth red rock that is Australia’s most iconic natural landform and one of...

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‘Pangalay’ takes young audiences by storm

A traditional dance is a dynamic expression of a people’s history and worldview. Thus, it should be preserved and developed to uphold a people’s rich cultural heritage. “Pangalay,” aka “igal” and “pamansak,” is one such rich dance form of the Sama, the Badjaw, the Tausug, the Jama Mapun and the Yakan of the Sulu Archipelago.  But a...

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There’s a Slow Food revolution in Boracay

Boracay, once a small island community of fishers and farmers, has become the “crown jewel of Philippine tourism.” But amid the global acclaim for its stunning natural beauty and vibrant nightlife, questions arise on what truly sets it apart, particularly in terms of its food culture. While there is an array of international cuisines to...

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‘Kasadyahan’ vs ‘Dinagyang’: A Battle of Festivals in Iloilo

ILOILO CITY—Ilonggos and their guests can expect a double treat of weekend revelry when the “Kasadyahan sa Kabanwahanan” and “Dinagyang” go centerstage one after the other on Jan. 27 and 28 in this city, in what looms as a face-off of festivals reflecting the dynamism of local culture, faith and tradition.  “This year’s Kasadyahan is...

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‘Ibalon’: powerful display of love in dance and music

The Philippine Ballet Theater (PBT), on a mission to create and perform stories reflecting Filipino culture, opens its 37th season with a brand-new, full-length ballet titled “Ibalon.”  PBT artistic director and choreographer Ronilo Jaynario takes off from the Bicolano epic and reimagines the love story of Handyong (the warrior) and Oryol (the cursed creature) against...

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Fiesta of all fiestas

There’s no fiesta like Christmas, and it’s aptly called the holiday season—a season that starts as early as the first days of December and extends to the last days of January.  It even spills to mid-February, or up to the so-called “Feast of the Candelaria.”  I know this from my parents, who were conservative Catholics. ...

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Remembering: ‘Tao po’ and invitations to a ‘pintakasi’

EDITOR’S NOTE: CoverStory is running the life story of historian and peacemaker Rudy Buhay Rodil in five parts, in an effort to contribute to “a deeper understanding of Mindanao society, history and culture,” a lifelong advocacy that he has pursued with fervor and vigor.  Mr. Rodil, now 80, has much to say about what he...

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Comics: a cultural tonic

That the medium is the message when it comes to storytelling emphasizes that the vehicle is more important than its passengers. But how we cultivate people to become empathetic to our cause is significant to social transformation.  During the last election campaign, the urgency to reach different publics required creative ways of transmission and communication....

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‘Pamana’: Archery enthusiasts aim at heritage target

Every Tuesday and Friday on a grassy lot behind the University of the Philippines’ (UP) Albert Hall in Diliman, Quezon City, archery enthusiasts are shooting arrows at a circular straw target from different distances. Rather than hitting the bull’s eye and running up points as in competitive archery, they are focused on perfecting the athletic...