Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sinulog 2012 Behind the Scenes: More Stories

Moving on from the Dulag props, I saw horses! One was a real live horse with a cart (kalesa) and another was a gigantic real-looking white horse still undergoing finishing touches inside a tent. I immediately knew they were also part of the Sinulog groups for everything in this place was as of the moment Sinulog-related. Hmm, they reminded me of Alma Moreno’s Paranaque delegation of many years ago. They had real big elephants and a real baby elephant as part of the parade and final performances. Anyway, I asked the ‘kalesa driver’ which group they were part of and why were they already around. He told me they’re part of Argao’s La torta Festival contingent about to do their turn onstage for blockings and rehearsals. Exciting!

Can’t leave the place without going near the ‘big horse’! There was a manong busy cleaning up and I asked him which group his gigantic horse belonged to. Argao also! I asked permission if I could go near (and touch) that mighty white horse and he said go ahead. Whoa, the “skin” of this horse is made of expensive cloth that really looks like that of a horse! The tail and mane are also some kind of hairy cloth (probably those used for rugs or carpets) and I readily noticed they must not be easy to have nor cheap to buy! The many equipment and paint cans led me to ask if this horse was made in this tent and the manong said yes. His name is Danny Jumao-as from the municipal government of Argao and this time acting as the supervisor of prop makers for the La Torta Group. That serious eh, the LGU employees really do get busy!

Then there were these guys already in their parade costumes seemingly waiting for their groupmates that were never anywhere in view. I asked what group they belonged to, and the reply was Placer. When I asked what time their rehearsal was to be, I was surprised at one reply saying they were told to come at 6PM but it seems no one is around yet. Of course I asked if they didn’t live together in those school buildings and the guys told me they are from Cebu! What?! So I learned that the dancers, propsmen etc are from Placer Masbate but them, the band, are from various areas in Cebu. I wanted to ask if that was allowed but did not anymore do so since they were there in the flesh – and costumed no less – proof that it is allowed hehe!

Further on, I was in awe at the realistic and life size props. Those little kiosks/stores are truly (even better) the kind of stall you would see used by fruit or vegetable vendors in the countryside. Only difference is that these here have wheels so they are easily pushed around. But the make, the materials, height, everything – including those baskets – are for real. And as I said, even better, especially the materials used! Now imagine, this is a group from Masbate… whether those were made over at their hometown or right at that spot, it must have been a logistical challenge. Ah, I love the cattle hehe, too many of them! Couldn’t touch them as most were still wet with paint. And those carts they’re supposed to be pulling, well, the real size if you ever encountered one at most farms.

There were still more! It is obvious that many things here are spray-painted, right? But OMG, I did not know this until I saw (picture above) only in this place… the paint guy’s spray gun draws air from that truck! Am not good at these things but isn’t that supposed to be the braking mechanism thing of the truck? Whatever, I just know trucks are not made so that artists can tap them to spray-paint anything hehe. Yeah yeah, my chinky eyes grew wide again hahaha! And how nice of them making gigantic corn cobs that when you open the husk, Sto Nino’s image is part of the cob. And they’re not small eh?! Look at that other worker tending to one such corn cob. Yes, one of many! Ah the oval’s tracks became just too narrow for all these humungous props things. That house they’re pushing around, ah, plant it anywhere and surely anyone can use it as a real home! Reallly!

A few steps away from all those, I chanced upon the dancers from Sta. Catalina (Negros Oriental) practicing their dance routines. This was already 7:08PM, just about 12 hours from call time for all of them to be on the streets, at their designated starting positions of the roughly 5 kilometer carousel parade route. What a physically taxing thing to do! Yet, I could see that these dancers seemed to be just enjoying, even if the rear side dancers could not move well because those so many gigantic props of Masbate and their own were getting in the way. But still they did what they can to practice and hone their dances more.

Oops, the Sta. Catalina dancing stopped. I noticed they were giving way to so many more other dancers passing by the tracks on the way to the other end of the oval. Oh, the Masbate group was trooping down for their cue on the stage. Rehearsals as these maybe, virtually all of them already wore their costumes with the required make-up. Gosh! And those things that they had to bring were also piled on the sports center grounds. My goodness what a ‘production number’ this thing is. I heard a familiar voice howling at the kids to ensure they bring their props. He was shouting the whereabouts of various things. And he was amidst so many other big things, some of which were still being painted too (were those mushrooms or vegetables?). Without a pause from his shouted instructions he hollered “hello sir, how are you” and I readily recognized he was shouting at me hehe. I just waved back as I was not sure my voice could reach him. Yep, the choreographer of this troop, Barry from Daan Bantayan. I talked to him during last year’s parade, remember?!

Just these dancers and propsmen emerging from the building already takes minutes. There are just too many of them. Now imagine yourself being in charge of all these. Argh! I probably would run away if I was told I will have 1 million as talent fee hehe! This is just too enormous a production and all of them do it ‘almost’ totally voluntarily!

All for the Sto Nino, as they all tell me.

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