Talking about Filipino culture is not an easy thing to do. Even ever since the pre-Spanish occupation era, our culture has always been rich and diverse, with the various expressions of that culture changing and varying based on where in the Philippines it comes from. And with us continuing to evolve and adopt so many facets of foreign cultures – read: colonial mentality – many of these expressions are either ignored, forgotten, or belittled. It’s sad really, especially when I see how beautiful the cultures of other countries are and how they strive to keep it alive.
It is a good thing though, that there are still groups and organizations here that try to preserve these traditions and keep them in our consciousness, lest they fade into oblivion. One such group is the Kaloob: Philippine Music and Dance Ministry, who’ve gone all over the Philippines with the mission of researching and presenting our cultural dances to a wider audience. As I write this now, the group is in Greece, participating in a cultural festival where they will showcase our dances to the world.
It’s too bad that our government does not seem very enthusiastic about the preservation of our culture, shouldering only a minuscule fraction of the cost it took Kaloob to get to and stay in Greece. So before they left, Kaloob mounted a (successful) 2-night concert to help raise funds.
It is always a great opportunity to shoot them – consummate professionals, the lot of them. Their ‘prayformances’ always strive to show not only the dances themselves, but also the context in which they are done in the societies and peoples they belonged to, and I just love that. Here are a couple more of my images from the event: