Reaction Paper about Philippine Folk Dance

7 July 2016

I indeed am an ignorant and hypocritical Filipino, having no idea of the richness of our culture, for having my forehead wrinkle in surprise as one dance came out after another, for having been too busy admiring the Western grooves and for not realizing all of this sooner. There indeed is no room for any of us to use amazed, shocked, perplexed, nor any other synonymous word to describe how we felt as we watched these dances.

No Filipino should be stunned when faced with such reality, for it adheres to an ignorance veiled by proclamations of being proud of the Filipino culture, when, in fact, we have not a single idea of such. Layag. As much as the word implies, my initial reaction to knowing of the event was that it had something to do with discovering and rediscovering the “Filipino soul in dance,” and of course, that it should showcase the traditional dances of the native culture.

Reaction Paper about Philippine Folk Dance Essay Example

This alone has perked up an inner interest in me, having thought of what has been happening back in my home province, with the onslaught of cultural contests by this time of the year. The folk dance competition has always been the centerpiece of the celebrations and to witness some other forms of this was surely a chance I would not want to miss, and not just because of having to pass this reaction paper. I did not expect, however, that this chance would lead to a deeper realization of the lack of nationalism I, and perhaps, we, have failed to see.

Impressed upon me was the beauty of the stereotypical dance entries of schools when it comes to competitions that I had been to back then and so I was expecting some other brand to see during the recent event, which, frankly speaking, turned out not at all disappointing. This, in fact, is an understatement. I was not perked up with the number of dances presented but because of the “soul” of each. There was indeed more to what I had seen before. That there was depth to the dances the Filipinos had crafted, and, painstakingly, been trying to preserve.

All the time I was watching the dances, there was one thing in my mind. How could we forget and pay very little attention to this vital part of our nationality and of our identity? It is slowly dying, being engulfed by the neocolonial era. Indeed, these dances are more than beautiful compared to those today’s generation is obsessed with; a crime, which I had to admit, I myself am guilty of committing. It was actually my first time to have seen most of them, which were vaguely worded by textbooks and discussed by instructors back when I was in high school.

Not being able to underline to us the essence of these dances through such presentation was a big handicap. Again, this is one of the realities I am guilty of having been through. These were not just dances, I realized, they were stories—no, they are history, the history of a people with which we form this country we account ourselves as a part of, when, in the contrary, admittedly, we have not the very right to do so. Or maybe it is just me—for I had been ignorant of this element of our tradition.

There was one dance, however, which made a deeper impression. Unity amongst the natives of the South was an adamant feature of the dance buklogworthy of noting. It is the one dance that made me think why most Mindanaons still are detached from the administrative clutches of the government. How, that despite two thirds of the nation converging to finally get a good grip on them, the final third has always been successful at warding off the “outside” forces.

Why, that despite Bonifacio’s synthesis of the theories of the propagandists and the early uprisings of the natives, the Katipunan deteriorated. This is one dance that says it all. The cherishing of the unanimity of the natives was evident not so much in the dance being a dance of unity, but in its being the union of different peoples. A union, which in the presence or lack thereof, can be a tool for success or for failure. A union tracing its roots from our prehistory. As beautiful and breathtaking the routines of the dances are the meanings and the stories embedded in them.

Every gesture, change in step, and note of music symbolizes one important part of the natives’ lives, not so much as being a mere showcase of uniqueness of culture. Gathering all of this, I can conclude that yes, I indeed am ignorant and hypocritical. This I shall challenge to change, however. For I am no more than a person to fulfill her identity as a Filipino, and to prove that this ignorance and this hypocrisy can bit by bit and ultimately be reversed, so that being proudly Filipino is not anymore a mere show of the desire of identifying oneself with one’s country.

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