The Pageantry in “Buwan Ng Wika”

August 26 and September 4 were two dates I calendared in anticipation of “Buwan ng Wika” (National Language Month) in two schools, Colegio San Agustin-Biñan and San Beda College Alabang (SBCA).  

If you are a Filipino and you are in the academe, I am sure you are aware of Proclamation 1041. By now, you might be wondering why the other date of this month-long celebration is in September. Between the two institutions mentioned, which do you think had it in the “wrong” month? It’s my very own SBCA. Originally scheduled on August 28, the Languages Department of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) had no choice but to move the program to a later date due to  priorities in schedule and lack of rehearsal time. A week before that was the midterm examinations. Reasonable enough, eh? On the other hand, CSA  held  theirs as scheduled, and I had the honor of witnessing their culminating activity. Invited as one of the judges for their “Lakan at Lakambini ng Wika sa Malikhaing Kasuotang Pinoy” by my former Department Head in SBCA, Prof. Zen F. Reyes, I basked in my ethnicity for more than three hours in a different territory.
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The CSA invite
With the other members of the panel - Mr. Jomer Fabregas and a friend and former colleague, Sir Eloy Aenlle
With the other members of the panel – Mr. Jomer Fabregas and a friend and former colleague, Sir Eloy Aenlle
In my third mix and match traditional attire
In my fourth mix and match traditional attire
With the CSA President - Rev. Fr. Andrew P. Batayola, OSA
With the CSA President – Rev. Fr. Andrew P. Batayola, OSA
I was all eyes as the 12 candidates strutted in their chosen Philippine traditional wear. I smiled as I watched these college students carried themselves with great elan and pride. 
The Lakan
The Lakan
The Lakambini
The Lakambini
Humility aside, it was a little easy for me to spot the sure winners. I guess my being a regular viewer of local and international pageants on TV, plus my experiences of being a judge in the school where I first taught, trained my eyes for the X-factor. After the question and answer portion (this was another exciting part of the event as I was picked by six candidates to throw the question in the vernacular), I was prepared for the top three winners from the Lakan and from the Lakambini respectively. 
My score card says it all.
My score card says it all.
On stand by to award the sash to the third runner-up
On stand by to award the sash to the third runner-up
The Barong Tagalog did look good in him.
The Barong Tagalog did look good on him.
The runaway winners the moment they walked on stage...
The runaway winners the first moment they walked on stage…
The winners in their colorful attires
The winners in their colorful attires
My first time at CSA was tremendously an experience to treasure! Aside from reinforcing my sense of nationalism in this very warm Augustinian community, it was my most awaited reunion with my first set of good friends in San Beda. 
With Prof. Zen F. Reyes, the chair of AB Communications Department
With Prof. Zen F. Reyes, the chair of AB Communications Department
Proud to be indigenous!
Proud to be indigenous!
Nine days after, it was San Beda’s turn to celebrate Filipinism. 
The simplicity of the stage led to beauty.
The simplicity of the stage led to beauty.
With Ms. jean Ariola,our Prefect for Student Activities; Dr. Carolyn Valenton, our Depart Head and colleagues
With Ms. Jean Ariola,our Prefect for Student Activities; Sir Algene De Guzman, a fellow English teacher; Dr. Carolyn Valenton, our Depart Head and Ms. Merly Mercado
Perfect combination!
Perfect combination!
With the Vice Dean, Dr. Ryan Sicat
With the Vice Dean, Dr. Ryan Sicat
With Ms. Merly Mercado and Ms. Marife Ines, two of our Filipino teachers
With Ms. Merly Mercado and Ms. Marife Ines, two of our Filipino teachers
I handle English classes but being part of the Languages Department made me hands-on in helping prepare for this affair. The over-all teacher in charge was Ms. Merly, who is my best friend and kumare. I could not say “No” to her when she requested me to be the overseer of the “Rampa ng Kasuotang Pilipino” where 18 of my EN101 students from different courses and sections were involved.
The nine female mannikins
The nine female wannabe mannequins…ooops…make that ten?
The candidate from the North
The candidate from the North
They're Ifugaos, not Indians. Hehehehe...
They’re Ifugaos, not Indians. Hehehehe…
A kindred from the south
A kindred from the south
With the full assistance of  the very creative Likhang Sining members (special mention to Mave, John Carlo, Angelie, and Louise), the fashion show-cum-contest ran smoothly and successfully. This first segment of the program was somewhat similar to what I saw at CSA except that there was no Q and A. Practically, the candidates just had to walk, pose, and project on the ramp. 

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19It was a colorful showcase of our Malay race, and I was beaming with pride as Sir Algene and I heeded the request for an impromptu display of our uniqueness as Filipinos on the catwalk.   

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complete

Following this competition was the “Sabayang Pagbigkas” (Speech Choir). I think the judges did not find it difficult to pick the champion, likewise with the Male and the Female Best in Traditional Wear. 
The distinguished board of jurors
The distinguished board of jurors
The winning performance
The winning performance of the CMS students
Joining the champion
Joining the champion
The top three winners
The top three winners with candidate number 10 and 3, emerging as the BEST
What made this affair extra-special was the presence of Mr. Henry Burgos, a multi-awarded writer in Filipino. A celebrity in our midst made the atmosphere in the multipurpose hall more pandemonic. 
Our Vice Dean, our Department Head and Mr. Henry Burgos
Our Vice Dean, our Department Head and Mr. Henry Burgos

Honestly, this annual gathering will always top my list. I may not be teaching the Filipino language, but I can always vouch for the authenticity of my Filipino heritage.  

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With Dr. Abuan, from Olivarez College, and Sir Eloy Aenlle, from Assumption College
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An “aliping namamahay” for Ms. Shirley Padua, the IBED principal and Mr. Roderick Santos, HR personnel
A picture with our dean, Dr. Paul Hilario (in orange long sleeves)
A picture with our dean, Dr. Paul Hilario (in orange long sleeves)
This has to be documented! :-)
This has to be documented! 🙂

coat-of-arms1

Photo credit:

Ms. Carla May Francisco

of Bacms San Beda Alabang

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