Saturday, August 3, 2013

July 19th: In the car to Bataan writing about DOT Coutesy Call

Hello Pinoy Jeep Blog Followers,

Ahhh, today is officially the first of three free days (we call it Family Day) after a hectic three weeks of IP Rondalla Philippine tour. But what am I doing today? Well, it's 5:30 in the morning, and I'm here in the car with my parents, Tita Naty, Tita Janeth, Kuya Jun, and Kuya Dondon on our way to Dinalupihan, Bataan to revisit the children of Bayan-Bayanan Elementary School.

For most, the last three days of the IP Rondalla "vacation" means visiting family, going to beaches, shopping, sleeping, or just doing nothing Rondalla-related at all. (Although along with this rondalla-free day, you do experience some rondalla withdrawal. I am one who has truly experienced this.) To my family, however, this means finishing some unfinished business.

Selfie in the 3-hour car ride to Bataan with Tita Janeth, Tita Naty,Tito Dondon, and mother.
Dad is catching his zzzz's in the front seat.

Last week, I mentioned that our time with the Aeta community at Dinalupihan was cut short due to travel time, schedule changes, rain, and other unforeseen circumstances, so our three-hour program was cut down to one. I would love to write about what will happen today now, but I can't write about today (since it hasn't happened yet), so I'll take this time to write about yesterday (July 19th not today, July 20th). Bare with me folks. This is this first time I'm trying this out, and if it seems confusing, well, my fault.

Yesterday was officially our LAST day of official rondalla performances. This was a volunteer performance, so of the 25 original rondalla members, only 17 of us were left. All of our Ates already went back home to the U.S. or to their families in the Philippines. The rest of the Bicolanos stayed behind in Legazpi to spend their week with families in the neighboring province of Sorsogon. With that many members gone, it was definitely nerve-wracking for us and Christi-Anne to perform any song. Despite this setback, this was our time to shine and prove that we could perform without the Ates and half the group. And I was not disappointed.

Christi-Anne conducting the IP Rondalla's rendition of "Palladio" in front of DOT Secretary Jimenez.

Our first performance was for the Department of Tourism (DOT). We performed for Secretary Jimenez, the head of DOT, who funded our food and lodging in Bohol and Cebu. We owed him a lot! Dressed in the blue or peach dresses we wore during our Malacañan courtesy call to President Aquino, we bedazzled the secretary with our usual "Kay Ganda Ang Ating Musika," "Pobreng Alindahaw," and "Palladio." After our Palladio finale, Secretary Jimenez was so taken with our performance that he asked if there was more! Well Secretary Jimenez, unfortunately not. We were missing many of the rondalla players and their parts anyway, so playing another song would have been risky...

Anyway, after our little performance, my dad and Tito Rey set up a powerpoint of the pictures from our travels to Bohol and Cebu. Our lovely and articulate Nathan spoke on behalf of the IP Rondalla, thanking Secretarty Jimenez for the opportunity he gave us to travel and perform in the Visayas and Bicol. All of us were so pleased by his generosity and kindness. Like President Aquino, he was so down-to-earth that he even volunteered to be our photographer in a number of our group shots. (Note: Although it is my first time to meet Secretary Jimenez, I already had a glimpse of him from his niece who live in L.A. She's a close friend of my relatives)

Afterwards, we took some parting pictures with Secretary Jimenez, did our last video dance for the Ates, received stickers that said, "It's More Fun in the Philippines," and bid our parting farewells to the Secretary and the other IP Rondalla members who would be leaving us before our next performance of the day - our two Ates: Angela and Luz.

Sierra Jamir

The remaining members of the IP Rondalla group posing for a picture with
the Philippine Department of Tourism Secretary Jimenez

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