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Day 8: Polangui Street Dancing Festival

In the afternoon of our third day in Albay provence, we were given the VIP treatment at a street dancing competition a few towns over in Polangui. Our host teacher Kristina had coordinated with the mayor of Polangui to have Angelo, Jenn, and myself seated on the judge's stage. The vice mayor, who was sitting next to me, said that 5000 people had turned out for the event.

Six different high schools were competing. The theme of this particular festival was the legend surrounding the town's name. Polangui translates roughly to "girl in the red dress." In the legend, the girl in the red dress falls in love with a prince. A witch casts a spell on her, and she is separated from the prince until a fairy revives her. Here are some of the polanguis that performed:

Each school performed their own interpretation of the legend as a dance. However, every school performed to the same song. The competition lasted around four hours, so I was thankful that it was a good song--it was played close to one hundred times, and that is no exaggeration.

I was really glad I brought the new camera Mike Mao had given me. Thanks Mike! My favorite of all the dancers was this witch from one of the schools:

The boys also had elaborate costumes:

After all of the schools had performed, but before the winners had been announced, the mayor and vice-mayor address the crowd over the PA. After thanking the schools, the sponsors, and the organizers, they turned to us. "And now out special guests from America, the teachers from Teachers for Global Classrooms, will share a few words." The mic was handed to us. I've spoken in front of five hundred people before. But that was at a conference, where I had months of prior notice and was an expert in the subject area. This was five thousand people, and I had no warning and a very limited knowledge of what I had just seen. I also wasn't entirely sure how to pronounce the name of the town. But in the end I actually did pretty well. I thanked the organizers, congratulated the schools and the students, and remarked that we were blown away by the beauty and the pageantry of the competition. Another once-in-a-lifetime experience in the Philippines! Why not have a few more photos:

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