Monday, July 29, 2013

July 6th: SM San Pablo Mall & PPP

One big, happy family eating a hearty breakfast at the Rubico-Jamir
family's house. Early morning wishes to Victoria's 16th birthday!
Our morning began at 8 am, (well, actually this is how my morning began) when I was awoken to the tune of "Happy Birthday" for our own Victoria who turned 16 today! Several families were booked in my family house in San Pablo the night before. My parents and I hadn't been to the house since it was renovated, so we didn't realized that it would be quite crowded (considering the tons of stuff we have to carry along), warm and humid (the air-conditioning was delivered late). But once everybody got settled in, we all woke up the next morning rested, refreshed, and as always - hungry but in very good spirits. 

Singing for Victoria's 16th birthday; sharing the breakfast table eating spam, fried eggs, dried fish and squids, exotic tropical fruits, and pandesal; the girls swapping stories and sleeping in the attic together  -- that's what I call IP bonding!  

After breakfast, we were all excited, albeit nervous, to go to our next stop -- the Paaralang Pag-Ibig at Pag-Asa (PPP or School of Love and Hope) for children with special needs.

Jamming out to pop songs with the Vision Band at PPP    
A while ago, I talked about PPP, the special school in San Pablo City. Although I knew a great deal about the school from my research and from what my parents told me, I knew the experience going there would be vastly different. Two of the teachers, one for the blind and one for the hearing impaired, greeted us upon our arrival in front of the pink school building at around 11 am. The first kids we met were hysterical, talented, and unbelievably amiable. Although these kids are blind, they are among the most positive, happy and energetic kids I've ever met. We circled around the playground and jammed out to songs such as "Just Give Me a Reason" by Pink, "Marry You" by Bruno Mars, "Ocho Ocho" and more. Honestly, my heart almost exploded. They were so talented and amazing!

After an hour of meet and greet, we went on the bus to the SM Mall in San Pablo City where we performed the first half of the show followed by groups from the San Pablo Central school rondalla, the children's chorale, and PPP dance troupe and rondalla. Since my family is from San Pablo City, I was eager to see a few familiar faces in the audience. I was happy to see my cousin Smila on stage where she also played banduria as part of the San Pablo City Central School's rondalla. 

Doxology in sign language done by the kids of PPP
We were so excited to see other rondalla groups perform, especially the PPP because all of their rondalla members were either deaf or had hearing impairment. So, instead of listening to the sound of music for cues, they tune in on the vibrations created by their instruments and the sound system as well as to the visual directions of the conductor.

The PPP also had a band comprised of blind or low vision members - appropriately called the "Vision Band." I can't help but sing along to their youthful rendition of various OPM (Original Pilipino Music) like "Kay Ganda ng Umaga," and APO Hiking Society's songs like "Bawat Bata" and of course, "Ewan." It was amazing to see and hear them play their instruments. All of them were gifted singers and musicians. Along with their rondalla, the deaf and hearing impaired also had a dance group. These beautiful kids in their angelic dresses provided the opening number with a heart-rendering doxology -- in sign language.
After watching the various groups play, we went on-stage again to perform the second half of our repertoire. As expected, the crowd loved our rendition of "Just Give Me a Reason" and "Marry You." They (especially the teenage girls) also loved the Grease
scene with George. Like in PUP, when George presented the flower to one of the girls,
PPP Vision Band raving the audience with OPM songs
the audience started screaming.

(However, since IP had only one rose "prop" at hand, we had to take it back at the end of the show for use in future performances. Needless to say, the lucky lady who received the flower was very disappointed. Note to IP - next time, remember to buy extra roses to give away to the audience for succeeding performances.)

After a quick shopping trip, we returned to the Rubico-Jamir residence to celebrate Sarah's 18th birthday, along with Victoria's 16th and Ceci's 13th. The party was held at the yard of "Palmer's Paradise" where a buffet line was set-up for a white table cloth dinner, complete with a karaoke machine. Even Sarah's relatives stopped by to greet her a happy birthday. The whole house was packed and the food was amazing! By the end of the day, all of us felt extremely worn out, but very excited for the next day's planned R&R at Villa Escudero!

Sierra Jamir

UPDATE: We wanted to say thanks to the awesome members of PPP and Central School! Check out our notes here.

The audience in SM San Pablo Mall, a large crowd of
shoppers, passersby, parents and friends cheering on their
children as they take the stage.
Paul Castro's "Balut" skit
Nolen asking Sabrina for a hand in marriage during their "Marry You" skit
PPP Dancers in their bright pink and green costumes

San Pablo Central Choral Group
Ceci performing her ribbon dance for "Tie a Yellow Ribbon"
George handing his flower during "70's Movie Medley"
Tita Naty handing the mike to Sarah, Victoria, and Ceci
to make their birthday greetings

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