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ENTRANCE to pleasure
A resort built
on innovation

Posted: 9:55 PM (Manila Time) | Jul. 05, 2003
By Angelina G. Goloy
Inquirer News Service

Naked bodies

ADMIRED for the beauty and serenity of its beaches, Boracay nowadays also conjures up images of nearly naked bodies cavorting in abandon, no thanks to newspaper/magazine spreads and TV footage on bikini parades or beer-guzzling contests.

Alas for those not blessed with a figure fit to bare, or who are at least game to putting on the "Boracay attitude," such carnival-like events, now virtually de rigueur on the famed Aklan island, seem to become more daring with each staging.

But none perhaps could be bolder than the coup of sorts pulled last month by the Pink Patio Resort. It presented young dancing girls, all right, but they were draped in Maria Clara lace and frills or filigreed Muslim bridal finery-so brazenly incongruous to the setting, yet so refreshingly entertaining!

In an hour-and-a-half program billed "Sulyap," the lasses (and lads) of the multi-awarded Kalilayan Folkloric Group of Quezon enthralled the audience, not with any old "generic" jota or harvest ritual, but authentic Philippine dances, researched and culled from various regions of the country, and usually staged in such venues as the Cultural Center of the Philippines theater where, in fact, the group has performed.

Resort owners Charlie Uy and Kelly Boncan conceived of the novel presentation in commemoration of the 105th Independence Day, in what may well be their own declaration of freedom from formula attractions. Boncan's cousin, Rommel Padilla Serrano, a former member of the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group, and founder of Kalilayan, fleshed out the concept as the show's artistic director-choreographer, as well as costume designer-maker.

Kalilayan-the old name of Tayabas, the province now known as Quezon, explains Boncan, whose family is from there-is composed mostly of students of the Manuel S. Enverga University Foundation High School of Catanauan town. The group is the 2001 champion of Timpalak Indakan, a dance competition sponsored by Nayong Pilipino.

Staged at the resort's convention hall, the program was divided into five segments, representing the three major island groups plus a collection of tribal rituals and popular fiesta dances. These included the "Ragragsakan," depicting the balancing act of Cordillera village women walking along rice terraces with labba baskets on their heads; the "Paseo de Andaluz," the courtship of a demure lady peeking at her suitor through the ruffled edges of her parasol; the "Singkil," the exotic Maranao wedding dance that is well-known even abroad; and the popular "Pandanggo sa Ilaw," "Maglalatik," and "Tinikling."

Even more charming were the little-known "Pindulas," a courtship dance of the Yakan of Basilan, characterized by the "broken-arm" movement; the "Pangamote" of the Talaandig of Bukidnon; and the "Karasaguyon" of the T'boli, which portrayed a polygamous male in the process of picking his next wife from among four sisters vying for his attention, with the jingling of the brass beads and bangles around their necks and waists the only musical accompaniment.

VIEW of Vaseux Lake in Okanagan Valley
As a side attraction, the guests were invited to get into the mood of the dances by donning the costumes and having themselves photographed.

"This is our way of helping preserve the nationalist spirit... It's something our nation badly needs," said Uy, resort president. Granted, he conceded, "Sulyap" also served as a lean-season come-on although they weren't expecting any extra revenue from it. "We're just happy to present something novel," he said.

The show is but one of the many firsts on which Pink Patio built its reputation. Uy proudly rattled these off in a conversational style that's clearly an asset in a business like this: first to build air-conditioned rooms, fireproof guest room doors, to install a 40-foot-high wall for sports climbing, to open a gym, with the latest equipment not found even in Metro Manila, and-the resort's latest pride- the Alpha Capsule, a machine that steam-massages while playing soothing music.

"We're the only one on Boracay who has it," Uy said. Then he recounted his chance meeting with an American businessman that led to his flying to Minneapolis to check out the curious contraption, which he eventually imported.

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