Rondalla band from Southern Luzon joins Tagum tilt

TAGUM CITY (MindaNews/24 February) – The prize they received was much less than the amount they had spent for their travel, but the rondalla band of Southern Luzon State University (SLSU) was still elated and very grateful for having performed for the first time outside their hometown.

“We are here to perform, to compete, we didn’t even know how much the prize is for the winners of this competition,” said El Doulos Chua, SLSU trainor and conductor, whose band bagged the third place during the Rondal-Awit competition on Wednesday.

The competition is one of the events in the Musikahan sa Tagum 2012. The other events were Himig Handog Choral Competition, Festival and Avenida Musika Marching Brass Band Competition, Pasiklaban sa Musikahan Battle of the Band Competition and the Huni ug Kasikas sa Dalan Drum, Lyre and Bugle Competition.

Chua said the 22-member SLSU Rondalla, who are from Lucban Quezon, was still pleased to have placed third in the Open Category.

First place went to Tagum City Comprehensive National High School Rondalla and the second place to Bukidnon State University Rondalla.

“Bonus na po sa amin ang nakapag-third. We are happy to be here, to perform,” Chua added. He said they might still join the Musikahan competition next year.

He disclosed that it was not easy to prepare the Rondalla group given the financial requirement, adding that the students had raised P5,000 each for transportation to be able to join the competition. “Tamang-tama nag Christmas, ang mga bata nag-solicit sa mga ninong at ninang, sa mga kaibigan at pati na rin sa local government namin.”

“We don’t mind the prize. In fact we don’t know how much is it. For this trip, we spent P170,000. That includes the airfares and other logistical needs,” revealed the 22-year old teacher.

He said it took them one month to raise the money last year before starting their rigid practice in January.

The prizes for the competition were P50,000 for the first place, P25,000 for the second place and P10,000 for the third place.

Bryan Cubelo, Rondal-Awit event chair, said there could be more participants if not for the logistical and financial requirements , adding that the competition aims for the preservation of the craft.

In the Junior category, the Panabo Rizal Elementary School outshone crowd-favorite Maco Children’s Rondalla, which was a finalist in the National Music Competitions for Young Artists (NAMCYA) last year.

Surallah Rondalla from South Cotabato, which was also a NAMCYA finalist, bagged the third place.

Despite not having made it to the top three, the newcomer rondalla group from Kabacan, North Cotabato said they are happy to have performed in another level of competition after winning in their province last year.

The Kabacan Rondalla, which is composed of elementary students, bested much older high school rondalla groups in the province during the Kalivungan Festival in August last year.

“This is a good exposure for the children. At least now they have learned the kind of competition in this level,” a parent said.

For 80-year old Bonifacio Puntad, a banjo player of Senior Citizens Association Rondalla from Makilala in North Cotabato, it was a pleasure to have performed in a different place, more particularly in front of the young rondalla groups.

Puntad, who has been a rondalla member since the 1970s, said he was happy to see young children who have interests in learning the craft.

“We are happy to perform anywhere, we are happy to be sent here by our local government,” added the band leader, whose group was the reigning champion in the rondalla competition in Kidapawan City.

Meanwhile, Tagum City National High School’s Rena Mae Yroy was adjudged as the Best Soloist under Open Category while the Best Conductor was Pepito Montero of the BSU Rondalla.

Rizal Rondalla also grabbed the Best Soloist and Best Conductor Awards for Esther Udtohan and Reynaldo De Ocampo, respectively. (Keith Bacongco/MindaNews)