Buling-Buling 2017: A Festival of Songs and Dances

by Letty Jacinto-Lopez

It was the last day of February. Kulang-kulang, as many were wont to describe it, but in SSAP, no day could have been more perfect to mark Buling-Buling, our version of a village fête. Eyes sparkled with anticipation as we moved past the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, into the brightly lit gardens, through to the hallways and up to the social hall, agog with a festive crowd hurrying through their burgers, shawarma, chips, sodas and snacks.

CWL ladies kicked off this round-the-world musical journey with a tribute to INDIA. They wore belly “bedlah” costumes in flowing chiffon, picking up the soft shades of Spring. Their heads and hips were accentuated with beads, sequins, crystals, coins, beaded fringes and embroidery, enough to drive the crowd pleasingly woozy. When they moved in motion with the famous landmarks in India that were projected on a screen, as well as injecting a bit of Bollywood in their frisky steps, the room broke into cheers, whistles and applause. They were zesty and fragrant like India’s exotic spices cayenne, cumin, capers, cardamon and more.

The OFS, the Marian Cenacle and Contemplative Ministry focused on GREECE. Ah! The center of early civilization. Remember Greek mythology with its gods, goddesses and muses – who came to life and walked the floor – King Zeus and his family of deities, not to forget the poets, the Greek plays, chorus and tragedies? Garbed in different costumes of the Greek Isles, the ladies delighted the audience with their version of the Greek hasapiko, danced to native music as well as from the soundtrack of Abba’s music in Mama Mia. They certainly succeeded in re-educating and captivating the crowd.

HEALTH CARE wowed the crowd in their black raffled skirts with embroidered manton tied to their waist and cabbage roses on their hair as the señoritas and hermosa damas from ESPAñA. With a handsome toreador in the corrida de toros as the background, the ladies moved with grace and precision turning on their magnetism with every flick of their Spanish fans. Red was the color of passion. Olé!

Like a gentle wave from the sea, the CORO de San Antonio made their entrance not to dance but to sing with an Arabian Nights theme. Garbed in silk robes and onion-shaped turbans, the Coro sang stirring memories of love, gallant and true. Who wouldn’t dance to “Dawn’s promising skies, petals on a pool drifting; imagine these in one pair of eyes and this is my beloved”? From the Broadway musical Kismet. The crowd’s applause was deafening. Encore!

The SCHOLARS of the Parish showcased the PHILIPPINES, with a rolling background imagery of all the famous attractions of our islands. What was more engaging was to watch young, promising and enthusiastic faces moving and dancing with hip and nimble steps that didn’t miss a beat. It was synonymous with being young. This night, we all were.

No one spoke Portuguese but the moment the first sound of Brazilian music filled the hall, in timing with the video of the incredible sights in BRASIL, the crowd reacted with a heightened sense of excitement. And LECOM didn’t disappoint. Rhythmic salsa with exuberant hand movements kept the tempo high and the carnival atmosphere alive. The rainbow, polychromatic colors of their costumes and headdresses were authentically Bem vida de Brazil!

They called it K-Pops and my guess was it meant Korean Pops? The YOUTH OF SAN ANTONIO were eye-popping all right – sleek, robust, and a foot-stomping assembly of adrenalized energy who never lost steam. Keeping pace with a medley of Korean MTVs, the dancers suddenly parted like the Red Sea to point our attention to a sole dancer wearing shades and a shiny dark suit. The crowd simultaneously gasped and roared approvingly to recognize Father Adame. The Youth pulled an ace with their overnight star.

Sean Cannon of LeCom and EMHC, couldn’t help but reminisce. “The a cappella song staged by the MUSIC MINISTRY tugged at my heartstrings because for 40 years, I’ve listened to this passionate sound. It’s the emotional resonance of AFRICA. I could almost smell the veldt, (the grassland of South Africa), of home. Ngiyabonga, ngiyabonga kakhulu!” In keeping with this poignant image, the singers wore black, accented by a uniform geometric fabric print in black and white. For makeup, white bold dots outlined the brows and faces that heightened the overall appearance and the drama of this presentation.

It took an effort to switch from a fiesta mode to a more subdued tone after such a fully charged evening. Father Reu simply took the lead and went down to the gardens to begin the ceremony of the burning of the palms. With a grateful heart, we bowed our heads to give thanks to all and for all.

As published in the March 12 issue of the Parish Bulletin.