I loved performing as a child. I learned to dance Singkil from watching my eldest sister practice at home. One time she volunteered me to perform at her school, Dansalan College. I think she made me a substitute for herself. Genius of her. Not sure if she gave me something in return for saving her skin. I am sure I didn’t mind, I loved the crowd. Besides, I wasn’t aware of capitalism at that time.
I remember it was so sudden and because I wasn’t an onor at all, my Mom wasn’t prepared for a dress. Ah, but Moms are real geniuses. She remembered I had a long gown as a flower girl and bingo, with a hijab and a gown I was ready to perform. Never mind my arms showing. She argued I was just a little girl. They could have forgone with the hijab, I was a little girl anyway but they wanted it hybrid so there I was.
What is memorable in this “panahon ni Mampor” photo is not only because behind me is the past Dansalan College President Van Vactor and author Peter Gowing (yup that Gowing guy who wrote about Moros), but the story behind their guffaws.
I vividly remember this because for me, it was the most natural thing to do, in my mind. So I was surprised that the whole theatre erupted in laughter. You see, while I was dancing, I saw the photographer having a difficulty trying to get a good shot of me. The hall was full and he naturally did not have the kind of zoom lens that our smartphones can provide nowadays.
So, feeling sorry for the guy, I danced towards him and naturally posed in front of him. After he was done, I went back to the bamboos. The hall was hysterical as I went back to dancing. I recall almost being hurt because my clickers, my sister and her classmate were trying to suppress giggling.
Only one guy did not laugh, the leftmost guy. Maybe he had the same question as I did. When I finished dancing, my sister kissed and embraced me for doing her role for her, but I only had one question: “Inoto siran singa-singa?”
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