Last week, to support one of my friends, I attended the Filipino Student Association’s Cultural Night called Pasko Sa Nayon. The phrase means “Christmas in the village” in Filipino, and the event was a celebration of the Filipino culture through food, songs, and a really interesting traditional dance called tinikling.
Tinikling is one of the oldest and most popular folk dances originating in the Philippines, and is recognized as the Philippine national dance. It means “bamboo dance” in English, and is performed with two large bamboo poles that are clapped together rhythmically as dancers hop and maneuver between them. There are various stories as to the origin of the dance, one of which being that the Leyte people did it as an imitation of the tikling bird’s unique movements as it hops and walks between grass stems and tree branches, and that the dance’s name came from the name of the bird. Another story tells of the Philippine people working in the fields under the Spaniards. According to LIHKA.org, when workers were slow, they would be sent out of the paddies for punishment. They were forced to stand between two bamboo poles cut from the grove, sometimes with thorns sticking from their segments. The poles were then clapped together to beat the natives’ feet. By jumping when the bamboo sticks were apart, the natives tried to escape this cruel form of punishment. From there it is said that tinikling evolved into the art form that it is today.
It is a really cool and fun-looking dance, and is very clearly a source of pride and unique part of the Filipino culture. I’ll attach a link below to a video of the dance; the OU students who did it during Culture Night were not quite as talented as these people, but it was still quite impressive.
I am very glad I attended Pasko Sa Nayon; I really enjoyed seeing a new facet of the Filipino culture, and definitely want to try tinikling now. Maybe with bubble wrap around my ankles, just in case…
This semester has been a little bit of a disappointment in terms of my involvement in international organizations on campus. I am still a member of Spanish Club and OU Cousins like I was last year, but Spanish Club meetings happen to fall on the same night as ASL Club meetings (and I’m the vice president of ASL Club so I’m kind of obligated to be there) so I haven’t been able to go. I also was unable to be matched with a new OU Cousin this semester because of the disproportionate amount of American students wanting to be involved.
But fear not, dear reader, because I have been able to reconnect with Anita (my old OU Cousin) and have a status update on her life since going back to Taiwan. This is what she sent me in her email:
“I graduated from university this June in Taiwan. I went to Spain to visit my bf in July for the entire month. And I started working since September, which makes my life a hectic. I work in a electronics company as an international salesperson. It’s an okay job but the time difference makes my job kind of difficult because sometimes I need to make phone calls out of my business hour to reach customers.”
She also said she misses her time in the US and being a student (except for dead week), and I definitely miss having her here. However, thanks to the miracle that is modern technology, there is a silver lining: even though she’s not here anymore and is now off working in the real world we can still stay in touch. I’m hoping that in the spring I will be able to get matched with a new Cousin; I had such a good experience and learned so much from Anita, and now have a friend 7,600 miles away and a place to stay when I visit Taiwan.
I’m pretty sure spring semester will be better for me and my international organizations because OU Cousins generally has a more even ratio of international to American students in the spring, and ASL Club meetings will be moving to Tuesday nights to accommodate the change in ASL class scheduling so I will be free Wednesdays to actually attend Spanish Club meetings. In the meantime though, I still have Anita to keep my connection to OU Cousins and my Spanish class to keep me connected to the world of hispanohablantes.