Sunday, April 24, 2011
"Sayaw ng Bati" marks 2011 Easter Sunday's Salubong in Angono: The Art Capital of the Philippines
Hundreds of Angono, Rizal residents and Catholic faithful watched the “Sayaw ng Bati” marking the Easter Sunday in Angono, Rizal on early morning of April 24, 2011.
“Sayaw ng Bati” is a unique and endemic tradition in Angono in which a Galilea and two young ladies dance and recite a poem to pay tribute and honor to Jesus Christ’s mother, Mama Mary.
Galilea is a makeshift stage of bamboos decorated with flowers and palm leaves where a heart-shape structure hangs in the middle.
Upon the Kapitana’s signal which is part of the “dicho” or poem, large papier mache of birds open this to reveal the little girl/angel. The angel then removes Mama Mary’s black veil on her head to signal the end of her grief and welcome the resurrection of her Son, Jesus Christ.
The two young ladies, called “Kapitana” and “Tenyenta,” perform a dance by rotating, bowing, bending as low as possible, and with one of their hands on their waist and the other swirling in the air while holding a cloth banner etched with “Hallelujah.”
The “Tenyenta” performs a slow moving dance along with the “sorrow” tune provided by Banda Uno of Angono.
The “Kapitana” follows by reciting a poem tracing the sorrow, pain, and victory of Mama Mary as her Son has resurrected. After the poem, the “Kapitana” dances like waltz. The band accompaniment though is now livelier to symbolize joy and celebration.
This year, however, a glitch occurred when the heart-shape structure failed to open when the birds tried to unlock it. Organizers manually opened the structure. Despite this, the people warmly applauded when they saw the angel and sang “Regina Coeli.”
The “Kapitana” and “Tenyenta,” along with other young ladies who act as councilors or assistants, are chosen annually through lottery.
Once selected, they are supposed to remain unmarried or refrain from unwanted pregnancy. Otherwise, she will be stripped of her duties.
The “Kapitana,” meanwhile, has one year to learn the dance steps and memorize the poem, which takes at least 20 minutes to recite.
The dance steps are taught by Ti Martha Vitor, one of the gatekeepers of this highly treasured tradition in Angono.
It is also the Kapitana's duty to solicit financial and moral support from her friends, families and community to pay for the expenses on this rare event of being chosen as the next bearer of Angono tradition which started during the waning years of Spanish colonialism. (Richard R. Gappi, Community Affairs Assistant/Assistant Public Information Officer, Municipality of Angono.)
1st photo: Mrs. Martha Vitor, the gatekeeper of Angono's tradition called "Sayaw ng Bati" held during Easter Sunday in Angono, Rizal known as the "Art Capital of the Philippines," poses after the "Salubong." Behind her is the "Galilea," the makshift stage made of bamboos, flowers and palm leaves where a heart-shape structure hangs in the middle and where the "angel" is kept inside.
2nd photo: The "Kapitana" (in red) and "Tenyenta" in this year's celebation of Easter Sunday.
3rd photo: The heart-shape structure hanging in the middle of the "Galilea" where the "angel" is kept inside.
4th photo: Ti Martha Vitor (foreground) watches as the Kapitana performs her "Sayaw ng Bati". Photo by Jan Nico Simpao Macapagal.
5th photo: Mama Mary is reunited with her Son, Jesus Christ.
6th photo: Image of the resurrected Jesus Christ.
7th and 8th photo: Mama Mary and Jesus Christ proceed inside the St. Clement Parish Church marking the end of the Easter Sunday procession.
(Unless otherwise indicated, the photos were taken by the author Richard R. Gappi. April 24, 2011. Angono, Rizal, Philippines)