The Sampaguita Dance Troupe will be appearing in the 2021 Greater Victoria Performing Arts Virtual Festival, April 15 from 5pm to 6pm in the Ethnic Dance category. They submitted two pre-recorded dances, Sarung Banggi and Pangalay, both choreographed by Jean Penola.

Sarung Banggi, a love song from the Bicol region, is translated as “one night” in English and tells the story of a young man wandering at night and hearing a bird whistling, which he compares to the voice of the woman he loves. The beautiful love song, composed by the musician Potenciano Gregorio, evolved into a courtship folk dance showing how men woo their women.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the number of participants in this year's festival entry of Sarung Banggi was reduced and the male dancers were excluded to ensure proper physical distancing. The dance was performed by Alisha Chambers, Restita Chambers, Agnes Myhre, Andrea Johnson, and Jean Penola.

The Pangalay is a dance form that originated from the Sulu Archipelago of the Philippines. The dance has its links to Asian traditional dance cultures like Cambodian, Javanese, Indian, Thai, and Burmese.

The Pangalay of Sulu mainly involves hand and leg movements that imitate the movements of the sea. It is considered to be the Philippines’ closest form to classical dancing and grounds itself on the principle “stillness in motion; motion in stillness”. The Pangalay dance was performed by Geoffrey and Jean Penola.

Bayanihan Cultural Centre turns 20 this year

The Bayanihan Cultural and Housing Society (BCHS) purchased the property that is now the Bayanihan Community Centre on April 30, 2001. For the next seven months more then fifty volunteers renovated the building, complete with a commercial kitchen.

The grand opening of the first and only Philippine community centre in Canada was on November 3-4 with 100 guests, including Philippines’ Vancouver Consul General Zenaida Tarcorda-Rabago, witnessing the cutting of the ribbon at 9:30 a.m. on November 3.

BCHS is hoping the pandemic restrictions, which shut down the centre since March 202, will be lifted by this November and a 20th anniversary celebration can be held..