Saturday, May 29, 2010

CPDRC Dancing Inmates 5/29/2010 Version

I finally went to see them! And I’m happy I did! Hey it was not fun, not even funny. But OMG what a show! They are one of a kind! Truly worth the recognition!

How did this happen? Friday (yesterday), I saw it advertised on a local paper (Sunstar) that the inmates will perform today at 3PM Saturday. Those who wanted to watch must reserve space by calling one of two numbers at the governor’s office. Announcement (its an ad actually) said “by reservation only”. So I called up. The girl got my name and asked me how many we were. I said I was alone. Then I asked how much would that be. The reply was “ha?... a sir, its for free”! Whoa! And that was it!

The whole process goes something like this:
You call up the capitol numbers to reserve, give your name, tell them how many you are, you go to a designated boarding place at a designated time, you are given an ID, you ride the bus, watch the show, ride the bus back to capitol, go home, smile and dream about the inmates! That’s it!

I have more notes:

Foremost, avoid bringing kids esp those who cannot yet understand what it is. I think 12 years old and up would be fine. Ditto for lolo and lola! Why? Well, while the whole thing is child and elderly friendly, many of your co-spectators won’t give a damn and there could be a bit of pushing and shoving. And it could get veeery hot while you wait for the gates to be opened – as if you are a pack of hell-may-care moms ready to elbow it out for the next grand sale at Macy’s hehe!

I arrived at the capitol 2:00PM (as advised) but that was a bit late! I learned that 2 buses already left. Getting the ID was easy. You just go to the table near a mango tree, say your name, they check against a list and give you the number of IDs for the number of people you have reserved. There is a make-shift waiting area of monobloc chairs under the tree. Then you are asked to form a line by the side of the pathway to await for the bus. In my case, damn buses took too long. I (and everyone else) was excited, okay?! Good that it was a cloudy day. I learned later that the drivers thought they were not supposed to return after the first ferry. Then, as there are two doors to the bus, even if we were properly lined up, it was still a bit of scrimmage getting on. Ah people!

Here is more… there were many folks (foreigners included) who arrived without reservation. How dare they hehe! They were advised to just the same fall in line but after us who were given IDs. I heard the coordinator say they too would be given IDs. Later I observed that all of them were with us at the prison. Cute!

When we arrived, the lobby was full with excited people while the gate to the viewing area was still closed. How full? Our bodies touched every other person around us. This was the “veeery hot” I mentioned earlier. The warm air we breathed was steamy to the nose. This while a video show was already in progress at a function room just beside the lobby where we were standing. I peeked, it was jampacked too and everyone was furiously fanning themselves with whatever they can get hold of. One dude even used his ID to fan his face. Like hello?!

When the gate was opened… ah I don’t have to describe what happened. It was almost a stampede as people rushed on. Of course I also ran hehe! Oh let me correct that, you don't have to since the crowd will push you onwards anyway hehe! Here’s one hint: many of us were not able to watch the video show since our bus arrived late (as if we’d all fit in that function room anyway hehe). And after the video show, every watch, clock, cellphone and camera announced it was 3PM. Thus, the iron gates were opened. So who were first to enter? That’s us who were just at the lobby and in front of the gate – the door to the video room was behind us. Beh buti nga hehe!

We climbed a flight of stairs to the second level hallway that serves as viewing deck. There are monobloc chairs lined for the lucky ones who could grab them empty! Every seat is front seat – because there’s only one row! If you don’t get to grab a seat, you stand behind them luckier folks! If still you are unluckier than those standing behind those seated, ah… eh… you tiptoe and perch your neck in between shoulders of them standing behind the row of seated lucky ones!

Ay, while this is a prison yes, because of the above paragraphs, I can bet my month’s salary that the visitors are smellier than the prisoners. Wanna bet? I don’t have a salary by the way hehe! But since this is a quadrangle with a very wide open space at center, it is breezier at the viewing area than at the lobby. So don’t fret, okay?! And don't fart too!!!

Now there is a protruding “box” probably about 3 meters wide by 2 meters deep. This is just to your left once you reach the top of the stairs. It has the best view. There are 2 to 3 rows of the monoblock chairs. A prison staff mans it and advises folks who attempt to enter that it is only for VIPs and executives from other LGUs (local government units). But I was quick to observe that that was baloney! Why?! Because there were Koreans there and I have noticed at the capitol that they did not have reservations! There also was that gay Caucasian who arrived minutes after me at the capitol but was made like a marker and first in line to ride the bus by the girls at capitol! Plus, the excited school teacher who was across my seat on the bus was also in that VIP Box!

Oh, while I know I could have always done it right there and then, I felt it was not time to bitch around and do a repeat performance of my well-rehearsed shouting sprees hehe! So, I did not say anything… just smiled at the prison staff, made two quick deep bows and I was in! Yey! FRONT SEAT in the VIP box ang huwad na japon! Yey!

Sorry my beloved kababayans hehe… this is one of many situations in our beautiful country where you can curse the “Genuine Filipino Hospitality” until your heart stops beating. That's how we Filipinos are and it will be very hard to change (yet). As for now, it remains, any foreign visitor is considered VIP so they always precede us! Yes, I will sigh with you…HAAAAAY hehe! They are followed by those who work for the government who profess themselves as your lowly and humble public servant during elections – but instantly become kings and queens upon proclamation. Yep, I know… even if they did not finish primary school! Then follows the “friends of friends” and “friends of the boss”.

So, you wealthy sosyalera call center Team G Leader does not make the cut of the VIP box! Sorry dahlin, no one in that prison knows how much that LV purse you were toting costs hehe! Yes, I am sure you know who you are and I saw you attempt to enter but was denied. Pinay ka e! Your English notwithstanding ah hehehe! Sorry talaga insulares ka kasi e hehehe! AND if that guy allowed you to enter, I was ready to sternly reprimand him that you campaigned for Tomas at your barangay! Whaaa hehehe. I love you gurl, peace!

I was a different case, and don’t envy me, k?! Lately, I have learned to take advantage of that irritating situation where everyone mistakes me for a non-Filipino. Yes, many times I still get irritated, but as I have just said… am starting to learn how to put this “ugly phenomenon” to good use! This was one such case. I easily got into front of the VIP Box with two deep bows! Well, ah a uhhh, wait! Lest you include me in your “blacklisted friends”… the VIP box front seat ecstasy was short-lived! Hear the next paragraph – and that is all because I was thinking of you. I mean YOU all who read this blog! I hate you hehe!

If you have a camera, front is not good! Why? The performance area is too wide and too close for your camera’s reach and the performers are too many and spread in the entire area for your camera to capture. Good would be either the side or corners of this square facility. However, this is a prison building and not a performance amphitheater; so, there are chicken wires to hamper your camera’s movements. Ack!

Thus, I went out of the VIP box and headed to the right of it. That would have been a fine vantage especially the side-most (the end of the hallway) where I could see everything even if side-view plus the sun was behind me which my Fuji truly likes. That is where I took that shot. But then I could not take it no more! Ah! The pack of students from Mindanao State University were lumped thick in that area (and others kept arriving) where they kept moving and were boisterous. Would have been too KJ if I asked them to be prim at that moment hehe. C’mon, they have traveled all the way from Marawi just for this, so I thought I’d give them that moment! But I did not want any of them keep “accidentally” bumpig me nor did I want to capture their harutan in my cam’s audio. So I moved away since I saw something.

That’s the left wing or left of the VIP box! It was not too jam-packed. After wading through a sea of humanity in that long hallway from the right, I arrived at the left hallway where the iron gate was closed and manned by another warden. A sign said “reserved for Sulop LGU (it’s a town in Davao Del Sur). There were a lot of them in there but the hallway was not too crowded. So, I summoned my charms and sweet-talked the warden to let me in. Success!

Not that the position I took was grandest for a view. But at least it was not chaotic as all with me were adults. In fact, there were probably just three of us standing behind those manongs and manangs from Sulop! And behind us were the cells of lady prisoners. I had some quick moments of interacting with them. Amidst those cells, there is also another cell where the infamous suspects of that raided “drug factory” in Mandaue. Hmm, the “chemist” has a clean and clutter-free bed and desk. He has a laptop and many books around. Also tennis balls. He looked clean and healthy but a bit snobbish or irritated at our presence so I dared not talk to him lest he wield a wand and cook me to become methamphetamine HCL. Ayaw!

Oh, lastly, the spill-over spectators were asked to go down to ground level but I observed that is not a good vantage too since you only see those who are dancing in front. Thus, people really preferred upstairs.

Alright, below are links to the lowly videos I took. There were probably a dozen or so dances that they did but those I did not post here, I did not like their dancing. I like the 7th and 8th!

Video 01 – Do the Hustle
Video 02 - Enigma
Video 03 - Rico Mambo
Video 04 - Single Ladies
Video 05 - Footloose
Video 06 - Jump
Video 07 - Party Pilipinas
Video 08 - This Is It
Video 09 - Lined Up
Video 10 - Finale

Oh hey, after the show, everyone is enjoined to go down to the “dance area” for pictorials with the inmates. I did not hehe. I instead slithered amidst the crowd to be first on the bus! Oops, I was not first, others were quicker... but I got a seat just the same - on the first bus to return to capitol!

And... as the announcer kept repeating… they do this every last Saturday of the month so count your Saturdays if you wanna go there. But don't forget to call the capitol first!


  1. I really really want to go to this! Do they have a website? How many people do they admit every time? Is this near downtown Cebu?

    Great post, enjoyed it a lot!

  2. Hello (future) PR Bigwig! Am not aware if they have a website, though I noticed that almost every performance get to youtube c/o the many spectators who go there armed with their cams. I have yet to hear if they already limit the number of people who go there during performances but as I said in the blog, I hope they will. Its far and the way there is not that easy a road but the capitol provides buses to ferry people up there (its on the hills above the city)!