Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Last June 29, personalities and individuals from a wide cross section of government, business, media and social circles gathered in a night of merry-making to celebrate the 49th Hijos de Davao ball.
The highly respected foundation continues to live on the tradition of reaching out to the community through cultural programs to showcase Davao’s history and heritage. Every year, they dedicate one night of festivity to re-connect with families and to welcome the new generation of Dabawenyos.
I have always perceived Hijos de Davao to be of the same grandeur as the Oscars and Met Gala, where long gowns and suits are considered a must. Here, in place of the formal suit, you see men in traditional Barong Tagalog and female guests either in an Imeldific attire or an evening dress.

Last year, I was invited by a colleague to attend the event. That being my first time to experience the Hijos de  Davao, I found myself in desperate search of a Terno, thinking that it was the only outfit of choice for that night. Lucky me, I was able to borrow a one from a friend. What I didn’t know then was only women joining the Rigodon de Honor dance are required to come in Terno. Imagine my surprise when I walked in and discovered that I was the only female guest in Terno, while the rest of the onlookers were in cocktail and evening attire.

I just shrugged off the slight (self-inflicted) embarrassment and thought, “Never mind, this will probably be the last time I’ll be attending this ball, anyway.” Back then, I thought Hijos de Davao was exclusive to the city’s pioneering families, and, since I was born and raised in Manila, I figured invitations to this ball won’t be coming in every year. Contrary to this belief, the foundation has long since introduced new blood into the group to make it grow through generations to come.
Two weeks before this year’s ball, I received a call from Jackie Garcia-Dizon herself, the new president of the Hijos de Davao foundation. She asked me if I’d be interested to join the Rigodon de Honor dance this time. I hesitated at first, thinking that I’d be the only “newbie” in the group. Being invited to the event is a privilege on its own, how much more when invited to join Rigodon? I gave in to Jackie’s kind offer after much consideration. I said "Yes" and went to the event in full Terno, for the second time around. This time, I wore my own.

I was paired with Arch. Michael Dakudao, whose lineage is associated with culture and arts. His dance prowess and training, strongly influenced by his family relations to multi-awarded choreographer Agnes Locsin, is quite known within the society. I was a bit nervous having him as my partner, thinking that my long-forgotten dance skills won’t be able to match his talent.

Through that small group of 20 pairs who met for practice on succeeding nights, I was able to get a deeper understanding of what the foundation is all about. It is about strengthening ties between the old and the new, to enrich and nourish the heritage of Davao in years to come.


Good thing the dance was not as difficult as I imagined. The choreographer did mention that she patterned the routine to what was being done in Malacañang. I thought we won’t be able to pull it through since most of the steps were new, even to those who have danced the Rigodon for years. I guess we did quite alright during the event proper… Not bad after 2 nights of practice.

One of that night’s highlights was the official turnover of leadership from Ma. Lourdes Socorro Medina-Estanislao to Jackie Garcia-Dizon. The new president was presented to the group together with the new set of officers namely, Amy Soriano-Diano (Vice-President), Rowena Hizon-Daluz (Secretary), Pilar Rosario Rodriguez (Treasurer), Mabel Soriano-Lemen (Asst. Treasurer), Mia Pineda (Business Manager), and Marissa Salonga-Tionko (P.R.O). 
Irra Zarina Derla Escandor, who wore a pale pink gown by Francis Libiran, was crowned muse by Dr. Louie Gahol and Dawn Zulueta-Lagdameo. Irra was escorted by Julio Palma Gil Bucoy.

A group from the younger generation also gave the audience a surprise treat and showed off their own talents in a jazz number.

In her speech, Jackie gave everyone a preview of the projects she has in line as the foundation gears up for its 50th anniversary. From the successful turnout of this year’s ball and Jackie’s own plans going on full swing, I believe we’ll be expecting bigger and brighter things from the foundation in the years to come.

Congratulations once again to everyone in the committee. It was indeed a night to remember.
(Photos courtesy of Ms. Silvia Gomez-Gempesaw)
Story published on my newspaper column, Metro Mom.
A1, INdulge section, Edge Davao, Vol. 6 Issue 83, 10 July 2013.



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