Friday, November 24, 2006

Nurturing the young and the restless

From a friend in Isulan

WHAT do children, public officials, and company executives have in common?

A storytelling contest, that's what, at least in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat.

The provincial government of Sultan Kudarat and the Department of Education teamed up with Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI) to put together a series of competitions for schoolchildren. What unfolded inside the posh new provincial offices in Isulan were not only a storytelling contest, but oratorical and ethno-modern dance ones as well.

Schoolchildren from all over Sultan Kudarat came in buses to the provincial capitol recently to compete, in full regalia, with one another. High school co-eds shunned inhibition and performed in full costume, with painted faces and glittering bodies. The three events were a high point during celebrations for the province's 33rd founding anniversary. It was also the 8th Kalimudan Festival, the latter lumad term meaning "gathering."

One by one, the young storytellers and orators gave flesh to the theme: "Government, private sector and community partnership—The Path Towards Sustainable Peace and Development." All pieces were delivered at "performance level, that's why we had a hard time in deciding," admitted one of the judges.

"Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of folk art," said Provincial Board Member Eliseo Castro. Speaking on behalf of Vice Governor Don Ligo, Castro said that as the province was celebrating its founding anniversary, "we continue to adapt this traditional storytelling and oratorical contest as we continue to develop our province."

He recalled that "early storytelling combined stories, poetry, music, and dance. Many people told stories, but the best storyteller was chosen to be the entertainer of the community."

Castro said that the province had an important message to impart in terms of its history and potentials, and that "the best place to find a good story is at the public library."

Flora Valmonte, Assistant Director of the National Library, commended the young competitors for their talents and determination during her keynote address. Valmonte was in town also to introduce e-library to the provincial capitol, courtesy of the national Library.

"The success of these competitions and the spirit of camaraderie that they have fostered inspires us more to continue this partnership," said Rolando Doria, SMI overall project coordinator. Doria was referring to the tie-up with the provincial government, the type of team work that SMI has been cultivating across its host communities.

The string of contests was enlivened by indigenous songs, colors, and dances. The Silek B'laan Musical Ensemble rendered a particularly spirited number.

MIKE BAÑOS501 V. F. Cabaraban St., Cabaraban Subdivision,Puntod, 9000 Cagayan de Oro City, PhilippinesPrimary Mobile 0906-889-8484 (Touch Mobile)Secondary Mobile 0921-469-6305 (Smart) IM alternate email :


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