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9 Days of Immersion in the Culture of Our Southern Brothers

June 28, 2004

Participants to this year’s Kulintang Arts Lab will spend nine great days in July this year learning about the history, music, dances and craft of the Maranao, Maguindanao, Tausug and other peoples of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

KulArts, Inc. and the Mindanao State University Cultural Affairs Office through the Sining Kambayoka Ensemble are hosting a Cultural Exchange and Exposure Journey dubbed as “Kulintang Arts Lab” from July 1 to 9 in Marawi City, Lumba Bayabao and other venues in Lanao del Sur.

“Kulintang Arts Lab” is a newly-opened program that explores traditional artistic expressions centered on Kulintang music and related fields of peoples in the ARMM.

The multi-disciplinary research and development programme in theatre, traditional dance and music of Maranao, Maguindanaoan, Tausug, Samala and other Moro communities, will include components on visual arts, films and rituals curated by Moro contemporary artists.

The program will have classes, workshop explorations and interactive lectures.

“This laboratory, the first with such extensive scope and continuity looks at the different creative strategies of individual artists, both traditional and contemporary, through the recognition of differences and similarities between the many Moro communities in Mindanao,” the program’s press statement said.

It added: “the focal point is on cultural negotiation and exploring process in cultural work – the heart of managing diversities in Mindanao, aided by this clash of time/space through the dynamic interaction between the traditional performers, Moro and Non-Moro contemporary artists and the Fil-American community from San Francisco, California in view of the development of artist in a more dynamic muscularity, understanding one’s roots and advancing the Filipino expressions towards a common ground.”

Day 1 of the arts lab will have Sining Pananadem, an all-Maranao traditional performing group welcoming the participants.

Day 2 will feature lectures on Maranao Culture and Maranao Dance and Music by Prof. Minang Shariff. Shariff will discuss Maranao historical perspective and Sultanate genealogy, traditional practices in the morning and will conduct a workshop on Maranao dance in the afternoon with the members of the Sining Pananadem or Kambayoka.

Shariff will also conduct a basic conversational Maranao lecture in the evening.

Day 3 will feature lectures on Maguindanaon historical background and genealogy of the sultanats, Maguindanaon cultural tradition, beliefs and practices and Maguindanao legends and folklores by Faisal Monal.

In the afternoon, the Maguindanaon Musical Ensemble will conduct and interactive demonstration with Amal Lomontod on the kulintang, Datuan Kalanduyan on agong an d gandingan, Datuan on kudyapi, Noraisa on dabakan, Datuan Kalanduyan on tumpong (flute), Akmad Siao on babendil.

An interactive demonstration on Maguindanaon dances will also be conducted by Noraisa Kalanduyan and Akmad Siao.

Day 4 will bring participants to Sulu and Tawi-tawi, at least through these provinces dances and music.

An inter-active demonstration will be held on the dance and music of the Sulu archipelago and Tawi-tawi, as well as lectures on Samal, Tausug, Badjaw and the Jama Mapuns by Taalao Manandaw, director of the MSU Cultural Affairs in Bongao, Tawi-tawi and Saki Nur Ayin Delasas, director of the Tambuli Cultural Troupe also from MSU in Tawi-tawi.

A film showing will be held in the evening featuring “House Under the Crescent Moon” by Teng Mangansakan. The film was adjudged the Best Video Documentary and won the 2001 Gawad CCP for Independent Film and Video

Mangansakan will also be the main speaker in the forum on “The Bangsamoro struggle for self-determination” while Geejay Arriola of Earth Music Foundation, who conceptualized and directed “Salima,” a multi-media concert theatre presentation on the evacuees of Mindanao from the point of view of a child, will lecture on Peace and Development.

Day 5 will have the participants visiting Togaya for the brass casters, Maranao sculptures, (treasure) chest makers, lunch in the Marawi market, travel to Tuka to visit weavers and visit the Maranao market in Marawi City.

In the evening, a film showing will again be held, this time, featuring Mangansakan’s “A boat in deep waters” on the history of the Bangsamoro women in the last 100 years through the lens of the memory of Bai Tinomimbang Pendatun-Matalam, wife of Datu Udtog Matalam, founder of the Muslim Independence Movement.

“Daud,” a video-essay installation portraying a child mujahideen’s thoughts on peace a nd war will also be presented by Mangansakan.

Day 6 will feature lectures by Teng Mangansakan on “The life of Tao sa Laya” or People of the Upper Valley and Philipp P. Matalam’s “The living legacy of the Sultanate of Buayan.”

An interactive demonstration and continuation of Sama-Tausug workshop will also be held.

In the afternoon, Matalam will conduct a lecture demonstration on the usage of the Maguindanaon malong, designs and patterns of Maguindanaon Inaul (malong) and Maguindanaon hairstyling and accessories.

A workshop on the Kambayoka theatre form will also be held in the evening.

Day 7 will have participants traveling to Lumba Bayabao, home of traditional Maranao artists. An interactive demonstration with Maranao traditional artists will be held prior to a Pagana Maranao at noon. A workshop on music and dance follows.

Day 8 will feature dance and music intensives through small group workshops. In the afternoon, Sister Delia Coronel will lecture on the Darangan epic followed by Alleluia Panis’ overview of post modern Filipino American expressions.

Day 9 will have participants visiting Aga Khan Museum at the Mindanao State University campus. In the afternoon, they will observe how to prepare a Pagana Maranao, facilitated by Cecil Mambuay.

A Pagana Maranao will start at 6 p.m followed by the closing ceremonies, which will feature a performance showcase of “Two Rivers: Mindeping a Pulangui” written by Mangansakan, curated by Carlo Ebeo and Geejay Arriola with set design by Cris Rollo.

Registration Fees are P15,000 for Manila-based Filipinos and P8,000 for Mindanao-based Filipinos. The fees are inclusive of food, accommodation, translations, and inland travel in Lanao del Sur only.

Kularts, is a Bay Area community-based arts organization whose mission is to inform and expand the understanding of American Pilipino culture through works that address contemporary issues in our community and Mindanao.

Sining Kambayoka Ensemble ( is the resident theater company of the Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi City. Primarily a folk theater ensemble that draws its materials from the rich indigenous cultures of Mindanao, particularly the Maranaos of Lanao, it adapts folklore, customs, and folkways which include both oral and written literary traditions, visual arts and music for theatrical presentations.