“BALAGTASAN” HELD IN SYDNEY IN CELEBRATION OF BUWAN NG WIKA
04 September 2014 - In celebration of the month of August as Buwan ng Wika, the Tagalog Association of Australia (TAA) based in Sydney, New South Wales (NSW), held its second annual “balagtasan” at the Masonic Club Centre in Blacktown City, NSW, on August 23.
The issue tackled by the two mambabalagtas, Mr. Ross Aguilar and Ms. Aida Morden, was whether or not the Filipino language should be kept pure and free from foreign influence, in particular the English language. Mr. Aguilar was “Mambabalagtas para sa Wikang Pilipino” and Ms. Morden was “Mambabalagtas para sa Wikang Banyaga.” Mr. Danny Peralta, President of the TAA, moderated the “balagtasan” as the “Lakandiwa.”
The skillful and masterful way of argumentation in the Filipino language displayed by Mr. Aguilar and Ms. Morden were appreciated by the audience, which included several youth members of the Filipino community in NSW. The “balagtasan” protagonists’ verbal joustings were rewarded with thunderous applause. Members of the Filipino community who were present expressed their joy at witnessing the event which showcased the beauty and power of the Filipino language.
In her remarks, Philippine Consul General Anne Jalando-on Louis thanked and acknowledged the TAA for commemorating, for the second year, the “Buwan ng Wika” to highlight the Filipino language as a unifying force for the Filipino people and as a backbone of Philippine culture, especially for the younger generations of Filipino-Australians.
Further celebrating the richness of Filipino culture, the TAA also prepared a program featuring Filipino music, dance and poetry. Mr. Cesar Bartolome of the Order of the Knights of Rizal (OKOR) Sydney Chapter recited the poem “Wikang Pambansa,” paying tribute to the Philippine national language. Several contemporary Original Pilipino Music (OPM) numbers were rendered by Mr. Richard Peralta and Consul Marford Angeles. Popular folk dances “Tinikling” and “Pandanggo sa Ilaw” were performed by the Filipiniana Friends Group of Bathurst led by its President, Ms. Nenita Weekes. Mr. Rene Sanchez, a winner of well-known singing competitions in the Philippines including “Tawag ng Tanghalan,” performed Filipino love songs. The renowned Sydney Sonata Singers performed “kundiman” and well-loved Filipino patriotic and inspirational songs. Ms. Lilian de los Reyes sang “Katakataka” popularized by Sylvia La Torre. Beloved folk songs “Leron-leron Sinta,” “Bahay-Kubo,” and “Pamulinawen” were performed by Mr. Andoy Manghakot on the banduria.
Professor Floro Quibuyen, through a video presentation, introduced the audience to the song, “Marangal na Dalit ng Katagalugan” by Julio Nakpil. Professor Quibuyen also spoke on the importance of the Filipino language to those who fought for the country’s freedom during the Philippine Revolution in 1898.
The TAA officers led the audience in singing Florante’s “Ako’y Isang Pinoy” which capped the very successful program.
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