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Behind the Catandungan’s Inherent Inclination to the Art

IT MUST BE THE WIND! I could think of nothing else that can have a more profound effect on the person and character of the native Catandungan than the wind.

This unseen force is so much a part of the household in this beautiful island that blending and bending with it has almost become their way of life. Constantly and relentlessly ravaged by its rage, their well-being challenged and threatened repeatedly through the years. I guess, the threat itself, is what makes them unique. Or it might be the fear attendant to it that makes them spew talent in the various aesthetic inclinations they so naturally display.

I’ve read some of their writings’ their prose and poetry. I have listened to many who are impressively articulate. I would even venture to say: "they dance well too". On the many social occasions I have personally witnessed, I have never seen the most graceful and meaningful interpretation of the Pantomina, a pre-Hispanic dance (most probably) so expressively mimicking the arduous sensuality of a rooster pursuing its courtship with the hen. Its natural movement finds more delicate and refined expression in the way their senior citizens would interpret the dance.

Their native songs and composition can be very touching, even humorous and funny. They have produced silver screen thespians in the caliber of the Late Dindo Fernando a dramatic expressionist, folk singer (Carmen Camacho) and singing groups (Isla).

I have also witnessed the younger generations of Catandunganons in their display of raw and latent talents on stage. In school literary and musical presentations many budding choreographers have developed talented individual dancers and groups in either the traditional folk dances or the most modern performances so popular on television shows. Their artistry is not limited purely to sways, turns or swings but they also excel in interpretative movement expressing their understanding of the melody, tune or lyrics of the piece they are giving life to. Whether it is the dazzlingly electrifying fast display of the rock or rap, or the soulful grace of a deeply touching ballad, this island’s young thespians can give the best of Broadway a run for their money.

Yes, it must be the wind with its raging yet in most instances, soothingly caressing touch that brushes and gently plays with the hair of her young and lovely maidens; the kind that ruffles the unbrushed hair of its young boys or the more unmindful fishermen who would not find time for grooming with either hair polish or strong dash of Gatsby.

The wind indeed, with its constant reminder of the checkered way of life in this island, ever reminding the natives of the bright or dark side of their existence. The wind, which has somehow made them strong in facing the unpredictable wrath of nature has made them soft too, like the resilient bamboo, gracefully bending with each ungentle blow, yet triumphantly proclaiming its deliverance in the calm that comes after each storm.

By Itos Briones

August 12,2009
Source: Catanduanes Tribune - 12 August 2009

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