CULTURE plays a significant influence in a nation’s development and every generation’s progress.
In the town of San Roque, Northern Samar, a 16-hour drive from Manila, the relevance of arts to the appreciation of culture, most especially during the time of the pandemic, became the inspiration behind the birth of a monumental event to commemorate the celebration of the Feast of San Roque, the Patron Saint of the Sick.
The two-hour variety show titled “San Roque, A Tribute” was an ensemble of performing artists – featuring rondalla to serenade the audience, and performers playing harmonica, saxophone and piano to awaken the senses of the audience.
Performing artists gather for a two-hour variety show as tribute to the patron saint of San Roque, Northern Samar to give hope and inspire residents in these uncertain times. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS
The show’s highlight was the flamenco dance interpreted by an internationally acclaimed flamenco dancer, Angelito Pangilinan, to ignite the passion of the attendees inside the auditorium, teasing their temperament and firing up their energy.
Catholic priest Eleno Delizon, who composed the religious hymn for the event, said he considered the show a worthy offering to San Roque.
“It was the happiest moment of our life. We spent time with the people we love, the places we reach and the people we walk together along our way. Those were moments in the life of San Roque worthy enough to share and as tribute to him,” Delizon said.
Local performers who took centerstage to pay homage to San Roque included pianist Ariel Rebadulla, harmonica player Enriquito Galero Sr., saxophonists Eric Quimbo and John Paul Quimbo, ukulele player Erlinda Ronda and the UPAO Band rondalla composed of Shenna Kristine Mila, Mark Gerald Basista, Alexander Adrayan, Carl Vincent Palcone, John Michael Caldo and Elmer Macalma Jr.
“As part of our social responsibility and our unique way of giving tribute to San Roque, our patron and patron saint of the sick, we have picked 16 indigents, seriously ill residents from the 16 barangays of San Roque as beneficiaries of our financial and medical assistance,” said MaryJane Salomon, creator-director-producer of the benefit dinner show.
“As producer and director of this event, It was a challenge for me to raise the bar higher and elevate the sense of appreciation in our town and in our province with the intention to integrate culture, the arts and food so we can get involved in the promotion of local tourism in this part of the Philippines,” she added.
Salomon is also the founder and CEO of Stratoppo Global, an international business consultancy firm, incorporated and headquartered in HongKong. The show was proudly presented by Stratoppo Global.
The socio-cultural-religious show highlighted the use of musical instruments, making it the first of its kind in the history of cultural performances in the province of Northern Samar.
The sinarungsong, a local delicacy was included in the full course dinner menu, to reflect the town’s tradition and custom and to promote food tourism.
“We made sure to showcase bamboos as part of our stage set up and decoration to support its local production and help local producers in San Roque market, not to mention its symbolism which is strength and flexibility, which is exactly what we need now in these uncertain times. I want to give hope and inspire others. This is my gift to the people of San Roque,” Salomon quipped.
Outpouring of gratitude, support
The organizer lauded the support of those who attended, sponsors, government officials from national,provincial and local levels and other private individuals for the success of the tribute show on August 14.
Senate President Pro-Tempore Loren Legarda, the champion of culture, arts and climate change, is all praises of the “San Roque, A Tribute” show.
In a video statement that she delivered for the event, the environmentalist, and former journalist says she was “truly happy and grateful to celebrate” with the people of San Roque.
“Our way of life has changed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Gatherings are restricted, more than ever, to ensure the safety of everyone around has become a priority. The revival of festivals and gatherings serves as a reminder that against all odds, we are prepared to stand and demonstrate our strength and unity,” Legarda said.
“Commemorating special occasions such as today brings many communities together, and helps deepen our faith and spirituality. I am delighted that our brothers and sisters from San Roque have actively preserved the religious tradition for the current generation to witness and hopefully pass on to the next ,” the lady senator added.
On her part, Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco commended the organizer for bringing the town’s cultural heritage to the forefront.
“It is in the celebration of our culture that we’re able to continue the tradition that has been passed down to us and inculcate to our young people the love of our country and the love for everything that is Filipino,” Frasco said.
Local performers include Ariel Rebadulla, Enriquito Galero Sr., Eric Quimbo, John Paul Quimbo, Erlinda Ronda and the UPAO Band rondalla.
“We offer our heartfelt gratitude to the organizer, especially to MaryJane Salomon. This event, showcasing the talents of San Roque and other parts of the province, is first time in Northern Samar,” added Northern Samar senior provincial board member and chairman of Tourism , Culture and the Arts Committee Albert Lucero, who represented Governor Edwin Ongchuan.
He added that the special show served as inspiration to Northern Samar as a family.
The provincial official also lauded Salomon “for raising the bar” in terms of appreciating and promoting cultural performances and entertainment in the province.
“It was not only a show. It was an offering. May the young generation be inspired to continue such initiative,” retired educator and book writer Lorna Castillo said.
“It was an excellent show. I loved every minute of it. I hope we can have more of this in the future,” provincial health officer Dr. Ninfa Caparroso-Kam agreed.
Others who said how much they enjoyed the show were retired parole and probation officer Monseratt Resuello, retired professor and accreditor Dr. Jenny Abalon, retired nurse Barbara Lim-Poso, Carolyn Irinco of the Philippine Health Center, Department of Education District Supervisor Dr. Ester De la Cruz and University of Eastern Philippines faculty member Evelyn Balanquit.
While this is her first time organizing a socio-cultural and religious activity in her hometown of San Roque, Salomon said she remains confident that her trailblazing cultural show will pave the way and continue to be exhibited in the province.
In addition to the live show, Salomon, who is also a publisher of an international magazine, disclosed that she would be publishing a coffee table book to serve as memorabilia and capture the memories for future generations.
“I am positive that in the next years to come we will be having this type of event. We can do more and achieve more for our people not only in San Roque but for the whole of Northern Samar in highlighting and supporting local tourism, igniting more job creation for local residents and at the same time supporting the people in government,” the social entrepreneur, disruptor, innovator, humanitarian and a maverick of her kind concluded.