Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Lively Holdup

Still in Taysan, Batangas and all of a sudden we heard a merry beating of drums. I ran towards the window thinking it was the town’s fiesta parade. No it was not. There was this group of dancers clad in costumes like most do in the Sinulog, Ati-atihan or Dinagyang. I watched a while. Even went down the street for a closer look. Soon after they danced, somebody from the house gave them money. Then they went to front of my friend’s house and danced too. I closely watched the friend who fished a hundred peso bill and gave it to the group. Then they moved to the next house, and so on…

I asked what that was for. The friend casually answered “Sinulog”. That got me very confused since I was off to Cebu in a few days after this for the real Sinulog and I know it does not happen like this. So he explained, that those people (they were not just little kids, did you notice?) go around town to “entertain” you and your visitors. They expect to receive something in return, usually money. And I said “even if you didn’t invite them or you don’t want them”? With a giggle, the mother said “even if you did not expect them”! What if I don’t give anything? so I asked, and the friend said “ang barat mo naman, fiesta eh”!

I could not help but say “that was holdup on a rainy noontime”. The mother, now laughing said “you could call it that, but the more technical term is begging”. And she continued that with “anyway masaya naman, it makes the fiesta livelier”. To which I countered with “a lively holdup” as we all laughed. I was not done and the friend was not liking it hehe, I still asked “is it required to give 100 pesos?”. The ever jolly mommy said “not really, you can give any amount”. The pilosopo in me still asked “like even just one peso”. And the friend sneered at me saying “ang barat mo talaga, ilan katao yung sumasayaw sa ulan, nagbiyahe pa ang mga iyan ng kung galing saan, tas bibigyan mo ng piso, baka ibato sayo yun”! I ended it with “so holdup nga” which the friend finished with “shut up and eat so we can drink”!

But the mom was now curious and asked “di ba madami nyan sa Manila”. I was about to say no when the friend cut me by answering his mom saying “ma, wala nyan sa village nila, kasi di naman papapasukin ang mga yun sa guardhouse”. And I suddenly received my first glass of Fundador at exactly 12:18NN. My my, that was quite early for me!

On my way back to QC, I tried recalling how many times I have seen “Sinulog” in the metropolis. Many times! But I erroneously thought that all those were of or by the cities, districts or villages celebrating the fiesta! Awrkh! I never ever thought those were dancing beggars! And, believe this, I stopped by the guardhouse to ask the manong chief guard if Sinulog dancers are allowed inside the village during our very own fiesta. Manong chief guard said “naku ser, mahirap na, ang iba sa mga yan nakikitingin lang kung ano pwede nilang nakawin kelan at paano”. I rested my case.

And I have to be in far away Taysan Batangas, to learn that we you can actually dance to beg for money!

Oh well, I still maintain…it's holdup that many do like. Include me please!


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