DON Sergio OsmeÃ±a Memorial National High School (NHS) took the top prize for the second straight year in the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Dakbayan, with a sequel to its winning performance last year.
Its presentation yesterday started where it left off in 2008, when the performance ended with the baptism of a coupleâ€™s child, with an image of the Sto. NiÃ±o as a gift.
In yesterdayâ€™s show, after the baptism, the parents inadvertently left behind the crying â€œlolaâ€ when they rode a carriage on their way to celebrate.
The grandmother bore her hurt through the years until she met the family again.
Despite what happened, the grandmotherâ€™s love for her grandson prevailed so that they both danced the Sinulog in front of the altar of the Basilica del Sto. NiÃ±o.
The presentation ended with the whole family, including the lola and the priest, their SeÃ±or Sto. NiÃ±o held aloft among them, posing in a big picture frame.
Choreographer Angelo Manapsal said their theme was about reconciliation, about people forgiving and loving as they love the Holy Child.
â€œDaghang mahitabo nga naa gyuy kakuli-an sa kinabuhi. Ang importante, pasudlon ang Sto. NiÃ±o sa atong kasingkasing (What is important is that we let the NiÃ±o into our hearts),â€ he said.
Lahug, on the other hand, took the top prize in the elementary category, an improvement from last yearâ€™s third-place finish.
The judges were impressed with the excellent use of its backdrops, which â€œset the mood, including the three-dimensional scene of a giant clam surrounded by tall seaweeds.â€
The clam opened up showing the Sto. NiÃ±o.
Choreographer Manuel Caalimâ€™s concept told the story of a blind man and several persons suffering stomach pains, later healed by the Holy Child.
Barangay Captain Mary Ann de los Santos, who said Lahug spent P400,000 for the contingent, said she got so nervous when she viewed the performances of the seven other contingents because the competition was also good.
Board of judges head Josefina Guillen said the choreography and performance of Lahug were superb, and set the contingent apart from the rest.
â€œWe were unanimous in our decision. Lahug performed with precision, and there was grace,â€ she said.
Guillen is the president of the Philippine Folk Dance Society and director for dance of the performing arts department of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
On Don Sergioâ€™s performance, she said the three judges were one in their decision.
â€œDon Sergio was very focused. And they highlighted the Filipino values of love and tradition. They were able to connect very effectively the Sto. NiÃ±o and the Filipino as a family,â€ Guillen said.
She said Don Sergio managed to keep the intensity and high energy the contingent showed from the start of the presentation.
â€œThe finale, of course, with the family picture, when all were together with the Sto. NiÃ±o in the middle of them, was just perfect,â€ she said.
And with the contingentâ€™s good costumes and musicality, she said they did not have a hard time picking it as the grand winner.
Not that second-place winner Camp Lapulapu NHS failed to give Don Sergio a good fight.
Guillen said it was a close contest between the two contingents. â€œWhen we saw Camp Lapulapu, we thought â€˜This is it.â€™ Kasi maganda rin sila. But when Don Sergio came, we saw the difference,â€ she said.
CLNHS, though, edged out Don Sergio it in the best in costume award, which came with a P20,000 prize.
For their efforts, first place winners get P40,000 each; second, P30,000; third, P20,000; fourth, P15,000; and fifth, P10,000. (RHM/Sun.Star Cebu)