Filipinos get into the festive spirit

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 January, 2008, 12:00am

Meanwhile, in the other SAR ...

Thousands of people gathered in Macau over the weekend for the Filipino community's annual festival Sinulog.

In a colourful display, about 150 dancers wearing elaborate costumes competed in a street and stage dancing competition at the Ian Hon Market Park last Sunday.

Sinulog is an ancient dance ritual set to the sound of drums to resemble the movement of Cebu's Pahina River in the Philippines.

It was a popular dance before Portuguese colonists arrived in Cebu in 1521.

Three Hong Kong-based dance troupes, comprising up to 35 members each, competed in the event, along with two from Macau and one children's group.

Festival founder Jamelito Escote said the annual event was the highlight of the Filipino community's calendar and a great way to celebrate history and tradition.

He said the dancers practised for weeks in the lead-up to the festival and spent a great deal of time making costumes for the event.

'This really is a celebration and a way for the Filipino community to give back to Macau,' Mr Escote said.

'It is very important that we have the younger people involved so they can continue the tradition and understand the reasons behind the dance, which honours the holy child Jesus.'

Sinulog is held during the Santo Nino fiesta, which falls on the third Sunday of January. Traditionally children dressed in festive costumes dance, linking the country's pagan past and its Christian future.

Mr Escote said the youth involved in the dance competition were aged eight to 13.

There are more than 10,000 Filipinos living in Macau.

Denise Santos, 16, who competed in Sinulog several years ago, said it was a lot of fun.

'There are thousands of people, the music is loud and everyone has a good time,' she said.