Tuesday, July 30, 2013

July 11th: Central Luzon State University (CLSU)

The stage at CLSU, decorated with green, red, and blue cloth. Although the stage lacked air-conditioning, we powered
through our set. Thankfully, the audience was receptive to our playing! What a night to remember!

Hi, my name is Sarah Fadrigalan. I am 18 years old. I will be an upcoming freshman this fall over at the University of Massachusetts - Boston where I will be majoring in Environmental Science. This international rondalla tour in the Philippines has given me great experiences to play and meet different people. It has also given me a good opportunity to witness all of the tropical forestry that my homeland has to offer. Whenever we walk by palm trees or exotic plants that I don't usually see on a daily basis, they remind me of why I chose my major in the first place. I love the sight of nature and I'm passionate about learning more about their biological structure and functions in specific ecosystems. In the rondalla group I play the Octavina. From afar it looks like a smaller guitar. Compared to the Banduria, it also has 14 strings but it is an octave lower, hence the origin of the name, "Octavina." 

This was our time to jam out with CLSU! They're really
interested  in meeting us, and we're really interested in talking
to them! They were definitely a pleasing crowd!

Today we played at Central Luzon State University, also known as CLSU. The stage was nothing too spectacular because state colleges don't get as much funding compared to private colleges. After eating lunch that was provided for us and changing into our costumes, we got on the bus that drove us to the school's auditorium, which was about 5 minutes away. We had two performances today. The first show was a one hour long outreach program for elementary children. The second show was for the school's students, faculty, and guests. 

While listening to CLSU's rondalla performance, I realized they played some of the contemporary music similar to our repertoire. The CLSU rondalla ensemble includes drums and singers, which made it a tad difficult to hear the delicate rondalla strings. 

When it was our chance to perform, we had a hard time playing because the sound system couldn't catch our notes as we danced on stage. But we powered through and finished our first performance, albeit dehydrated and drenched in sweat due to lack of air conditioning. Gatorade and water were provided to us, which helped a bit. Luckily, the sound system improved during the second performance. This time we were able to hear each other a lot more clearly. The older audience also appreciated our music more and gave us a better response compared to the young audience at the earlier show.

During the break, we got to stay backstage and mingle with the other CLSU student performers. Introducing one's self to unfamiliar faces can bring the shy side of people. Sometimes this makes it hard for me to be comfortable around strangers. Thankfully, this tour helped us break out of our "American bubble" and verbally open up to the young Filipino students or musicians we meet everyday.

One thing that surprised me was how easily they remembered our names. When I was walking on the stage to get in place for our second performance, four of the CLSU performers that I met earlier greeted me with, "Hi, Sarah!" Even though they all looked familiar, I only remembered two names. This reminded me how nice they were and how much we caught their attention.

The president of CLSU, vice-president, and
mayor of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija! Oh, and of course, tita Sonia.
Meeting the planning committee with some
IP Rondalla parents.

During dinner, the big names of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija and the university were in full attendance. We would like to take this opportunity to thank mayor, Dr. Nestor Alvarez, CLSU president, Dr. Ruben Sevilleja, Vice President, Dr. Raul Divina, Dr. Alma de Leon of the Department of Food Science, Ms. Geraldine Gantioque of the CLSU Food Science Club, and also to the Ott family: Dr. Linda Ott, Dr. Maricar Gaddi, and Rely Judan.

I had a great time with the CLSU cultural music and dance students during dinner. The most memorable moment was their female singing attraction. She sang 3 songs and I had the largest smile on my face when I recognized, "The Music of the Night," which was one of my favorite broadway songs from the "Phantom of the Opera." The next song she sang was "I Dreamed a Dream." She sang it with such outstanding character that I got very emotional. She ended her performance with a "Cats" medley. I wish I could listen to her sing again. After her act, the CLSU cultural dancers performed their version of the traditional "Igorot" dance. Even though we've witnessed the dance at least 4 times beforehand, it's always different every time. It never gets boring or repetitive other than the costumes, which of course, has to happen.

The night ended smoothly. We finished eating with the group, saying goodbye to the students before we retired to CLSU Alumni Hostel. Tomorrow will be a big day. I'm so excited for what's going to happen next, but I'm also very sad that we'll be leaving CLSU. Thanks for everything! It was definitely one of the best days for me on this trip!

Sarah Fadrigalan     

Sarah Fadrigalan (me!) and a student from CLSU
The CLSU dance group performing an Igorot dance.
They're doing a great job!


  1. Hi Sarah - I have also heard very nice feedbacks from CLSU / Munoz Residents who saw IP Rondalla's "amazing & surprising performance"! We appreciate much on your above article that your group had good experiences to remember, specially in CLSU & Munoz.
    Kudos to Munoz Mayor Nestor Alvarez and CLSU President Ruben Sevilleja & his Executives for taking good care of your IP Group's special presence in CLSU....AND more importantly, our SALUTES TO THE ORGANIZERS & THE TALENTED PERFORMERS OF IP RONDALLA GROUP!!! You have made many Filipinos happy & proud as they easily connected with their Fil-Ams kababayans!!!

    A Special Toast to YOU, GUYS!!!

    Philip Judan
    (I am a brother of Boston resident Dra. Linda J. Ott... She also grew up in Munoz!)

  2. Hi Philip, our kids really appreciate the support of everybody from Munoz. We had so much fun especially the performance they did for us during dinner. I am so proud of the Food Science Club (headed by Geraldine Gantioque). It's our UPLos Banos Food Science connection (Dr. Alma de Leon and Dr. Raul Divina) that initiated this.. Again, thanks to Dr. Ruben Sevilleja (my husband met him in Miami few years before), and Dr. Nestor Alvarez (for the tasty lechon), and to the Judan-Ott family... Great job!!

    Sarah F, thanks for writing a nice article...

    Sonia Rubico-Jamir (IP Rondalla parent/coordinator for CLSU)