The_Bicol_Dotoc.pdf - The Bicol Dotoc Performance Postcoloniality and Pilgrimage Jazmin Badong Llana Department of Theatre Film and Television Studies

The_Bicol_Dotoc.pdf - The Bicol Dotoc Performance...

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Unformatted text preview: The Bicol Dotoc: Performance, Postcoloniality, and Pilgrimage Jazmin Badong Llana Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies Aberystwyth University September 2009 This thesis is submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at Aberystwyth University. Acknowledgements Most Filipinos know at least one proverb which they try to live their lives by and I believe it is this: ‘Ang hindi lumingon sa pinanggalingan, hindi makararating sa paroroonan’ (one who does not look back to where s/he has come from will not reach her/his desired destination). The underlying idea is the very same one present in concepts of relatedness or reciprocal relations that I discuss in this thesis. And how fitting for my purposes here, since the image is that of a journey. One must look back, however hard or painful it becomes sometimes. But the wisdom of the saying is its reversal of a particular looking back that turned the looker into stone (the story of Lot’s wife in the Bible). Here one looks back so that he/she might realize the goal of the journey (it is empowering and not petrifying!). One looks back with gratitude. It is therefore with deep gratitude that I acknowledge debts and gifts that can never be repaid by any kind of labour or good intention. I will forever cherish the many contributions to this work. I thank, first of all, my supervisors Richard Gough and Adrian Kear whose insights and critical attention to my work have shaped this thesis in entirely positive ways. I always came away from supervisory meetings energized and brimming with ideas, and comforted by their care and support. Mikel Koven supervised the first stages of this project leading to the field work and provided great encouragement, challenge and advice on ethnography. I came to the U.K. to study through the Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program and this is a gift I will forever cherish. Administrative support was provided by the British Council and IFP-Philippines. Thanks to Luisa Fernan, Criselda Doble, the staff of IFP-Philippines and to their counterparts in the Institute for International Education in New York as well as to the Philippine Social Science Center that has made my study abroad possible. Special thanks to Dr. Virginia Miralao, Manny Diaz, and Danny Reyes, to the IFP selection committee, academic advisory panel, and pre-academic training team and resource speakers. The thesis grew out of my MA research at the University of the Philippines and for this I thank Amiel Leonardia, Tony Mabesa, the late Rogelio Juliano, Elena Rivera Mirano, and Apolonio Chua, who advised or read and critiqued my work. Sir Amiel and Sir Tony wrote reference letters for me, as did Judy Ick, Jina Andaya, Sr. Patria Painaga, OP, Christi Muñoz, and Fr. Mon Mendez, OP. Some parts of the thesis were first written as conference papers and I am grateful for the funding provided by the IFP Professional Enhancement Fund and the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies of Aberystwyth University. I also thank the University of Helsinki and Hanna Korsberg for the Helsinki Prize 2008 of the International Federation for Theatre Research that afforded me the trip to Seoul, Korea. Thanks as well to Patrick Alcedo, Hendrik Maier, and Sally Ann Ness for my participation in the SEATRiP conference in i California in 2007; to Jojo Buenconsejo, Cecilia de la Paz, and Jerry Respeto, my co-panelists in the 8th International Philippine Studies Conference; and to Dean Virgilio Almario and the organizers of Komedya Fiesta 2008, Belen Calingacion and Riya Lopez. I also benefited from encouragement or feedback and input from new friends I met in various conferences: Paul Rae, Jacqueline Lo, Helen Gilbert, William Peterson, Ric Trimillos, Gay Morris, Esteban Villaruz, Marian Roces, Julius Bautista, Kathy Nadeau, Anril Tiatco, and Victor Emeljanow and the Popular Entertainments working group of the IFTR. I also thank Karoline Gritzner and David Ian Rabey who read some initial submissions; Ceris Medhurst-Jones, Daniel Meyer-Dinkgrafe, Martin Barker, and Mike Pearson for their encouragement and support over the three years of the PhD; Heike Roms and Karoline Gritzner for trusting me to help out in their conferences; Sabine Sörgel and Andrew Filmer for their encouragement; and the staff of the Centre for Performance Research, especially Dominika Komaniecka, Siu-Lin Rawlinson, and Cathy Piquemal for their assistance. Russ Hunter and Pamela Atzori became my first friends in Aber and later on Esther Pilkington and Daniel Ladnar of Showroom Aberystwyth, and Arseli Dokumaci. They have become like my own family in Aberystwyth. I also thank other members of Showroom: Richard Allen, Kasia Coleman, Gareth Llŷr, and Louise Ritchie. Thanks as well to Julie Durcan, Martha Truscott and Nick Brown, Alex Yang, Ela Kruger, and Paddy and Sue O’Brien. Through the course of the field work and indeed the whole study, I was hosted and welcomed by kin and friends: Jun Gines in Riverside; Nathaniel and Jon Llana and their mother Chita in Los Angeles; Thelma, Dan, and Rachel LeMarble, Cindy and Mike Green in Raleigh; Edith and Jun Mirasol in Manila; Elmer and Neri Llana in Subic; Ringo and Janet Badilla in Naga; Rosalie and Jun Requintina in Canaman. In London, there’s Becca, Charisse Fradejas, and Faith. In Nottingham there is Riza AbilgosRamos. In Oxford is Analyn Salvador-Amores; in Manchester, Resty Abella, and elsewhere in the U.K. I am fortunate to have known other IFP fellows from the Philippines and the rest of Asia, Africa, Latin America and Russia, thanks to Mary Zurbuchen (IFP-Asia) and James O’Hara of the British Council. Linda Hall, Sue Duxbury, and Victoria Mackenzie welcomed me to Wales in 2006 and linked me with other British Council fellows. Fellows from Cohort 2005 became my precious companions and friends, all of us homesick but comforting each other via yahoo messenger, especially Frank Peñones, Ikin Salvador, Trixie Clemente, Miko Cañares, Rebecca Corral, and Gremil Naz. Thanks are due also to Doods Santos, Kristian Cordero, Gode Calleja, and Jenifer Belarmino. I thank the staff of the various libraries I visited: the University of the Philippines Main Library, the Ateneo de Manila University's Rizal Library; Ateneo de Naga University Library, the Aquinas University Library, Mary Mother of Salvation Major Seminary, Baao Municipal Library, Nabua Municipal Library, Albay Provincial Library, the Philippine National Library, and Philippine National Archives. Also, the Institute of Women’s Studies of St. Scholastica’s College Manila, University of Nueva Caceres Museum, the Lopez Museum, Filipinas Heritage Library, Aberystwyth University’s Hugh Owen and Old College Libraries, the Centre for Performance Research Resource Centre, and the National Library of Wales. ii My home institution, Aquinas University of Legazpi, allowed me to take the study leave and I thank them for their trust and support: the rector Fr. Ramonclaro G. Mendez, OP; Fr. Robie Reyes, OP, Walter Jalgalado and other colleagues in the division of culture; colleagues and friends Emerson Aquende, Mike Navarro, Amparo Binamira, Rose Barquez, Christie Muñoz, Susan and Ying Bobadilla, Pete Bernaldez, Letty Roque, Salve Fernandez, Raffi Banzuela and other members of the AQ community; the staff of the Centre for Culture and the Arts: Malou Berzamina and Che Lominario, Sarah Aviado, Arnel Espineda, and Ramon Manjares, as well as our student artists and student assistants, especially Jenica Adea and Richard Sales. For her encouragement, I also thank Merlinda Bobis who will always be part of the AQ community. I am in great debt to the Filipino scholars and Philippinists cited in the thesis whose works have provided the guiding trails for my own journey. Reinhard Wendt, Danny Gerona, Elsa Mampo, and July Mendoza provided me with materials for the thesis. And for the field work, what follows is a very tentative list. In Baao: Felicidad Baracena, Soledad Brabante, Gloria Bricia, Providencia Benosa, Lily Fajardo, David Esplana, Fr. Jorge Tirao, Salvador Babol, Narsi Brigola, Cesar and Hilda Bismonte; Eugenio Baudin and the paradotoc of San Juan; Precy Badong and the community of Centro in Buluang; Mrs. Brecinio and the paradotoc of Buluang; Eden Bayrante, the Baesa family, and the paradotoc of San Nicolas; Narsi Brigola and the Imperial family; and many others too many to name. In Bigaa: Arlene and Sam Aguilar, Beth Borja, Soledad Apuli, and Pilar Artiaga. In Canaman: Theresa Roy, Aurora Lara, Walter Pante, Rechilda Pante, Tess Pante, Tecla Fortaleza, Nelia Nolasco, and Abstenencia Coz. In Nabua: Fe Amparado, Mr. & Mrs. David Solano, and Msgr. Pan. Arnel Espineda, Carlo Garcia, Leo Ganace, and Gideon Peña assisted with the camera work. My sisters and brothers: Janet and Ringo Badilla, Joy and Ding Clutario, Judy and Abet Vergel de Dios became my companions on the field work, assisting with the camera or the voice recorder, and joining in the conversations. Even our children Niqui, Mikee, Judo, Mico, Buboy, and Ances accompanied me on some trips. Papa and Mama were important sources of my dotoc stories. My father (Juan Badong) always had contacts for me and one area I visited in Buluang turned out to be full of his relatives and welcomed me warmly. I decided to do this work on the dotoc because of my mother (Lourdes Badong) and Nanay, my grandmother (Rosario Balilla), both paradotoc. Nanay who was my oldest informant died in September 2008, a month before her 94th birthday; we did not plan it, but her funeral fell on the 14th of September, the feast of the exaltation of the Cross. Her memory will live forever in these pages. Most of all there is my own household and Tabontabon family who have persevered with me, especially Fe Mirabuenos and her children who have kept the house running while I’ve been away. I would not have been able to study so far from home without the loving support and strength of my husband Leo and daughter Niqui. This is as much their accomplishment as it is mine, by the grace of the One who makes all things possible. iii Candidate’s Surname/Family Name: Llana Candidate’s Forenames: Jazmin Badong Candidate for the Degree of: PhD Full Title of Thesis: The Bicol Dotoc: Performance, Postcoloniality, and Pilgrimage Summary: The dotoc is a religious devotion to the Holy Cross in Bicol, Philippines. Women cantors take the role of pilgrims journeying to the Holy Land to visit the Holy Cross or performers reenact as komedya St. Helene’s search and finding of the cross. The practice was introduced by the Spanish colonizers, but I argue that the dotoc appropriates the colonial project of conversion, translating it into strategies of survival, individual agency, communal renewal, and the construction of identity, through the performance of pilgrimage. I grapple with issues of ethnographic authority and representation. The project is a journey back to childhood and to a place called home, to sights, sounds, smells, tastes recollected in the many stories of informants, or experienced on recent visits as a participant in the performances, but it is also already a journey of a stranger. I am an insider studying my own culture from the outside. Using a Badiourian framework combined with de Certeau’s practice of everyday life and Conquergood’s methodology, the thesis explores how fidelity to the enduring event of the dotoc becomes an ethnographic co-performance with active subjects. Theirs is a vernacular belief and practice that cuts off the seeming infinity of the colonial experience in the imagination of the present. The centrality of the actors and their performance is a practice of freedom, but also of hope. The performances are always done for present quotidian ends, offered in an act of faith within a reciprocal economy of exchange. Chapter 1 poses the major questions and my initial answers and thus provides an overview of the journey ahead. Chapter 2 locates the dotoc in the field of cultural performance, problematizes my ‘gaze’ as traveller, as insider-researcher, as ‘indigenous ethnographer’, and sets down my own path of ethnographic coperformance inspired by Dwight Conquergood. Chapter 3 gets down to the details of the ethnography. Chapter 4 is a probing of the postcolonial predicament, which ends with Badiou and a decision to keep to the politics of the situation. Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 take up the dotoc as a practice of fidelity that is integrally woven into the performers’ everyday life and informed by autochthonous concepts of power, gender, and exchange. iv Table of Contents Acknowledgements Summary Sheet List of Tables and Figures Preface I Chapter One: Introduction: Liminality, Performance, and the Dotoc Song of Triumph Bicol, Philippines The Dotoc of Baao Dotoc Practices in Bigaa, Nabua, and Canaman Performing Liminality and Hope Reframing the Dotoc Notes on Structure II Chapter Two: Ethnographic Seeing and Cultural Performance: What is Wrong with my Gaze? Cultural Performance Ethnography and Colonialism Textualization and Representation The Ethnographic Object and Self-representation Indigenous Ethnography Travel and Theory Ethnographic Co-performance III Chapter Three: The Bicol Dotoc: Ethnography of Performance Pilgrimage and Ritual: Action in the Dotoc Older Texts in Baao The Cobacho Dotoc Dotoc in Canaman The Dotoc as Komedya The Lagaylay Notes on Textual Sources Performance Spaces and Duration Costuming Practices Costuming in the Komedya Costuming in the Cobacho, Canaman Dotoc and Lagaylay The Dotoc Soundscape: Murmurs of a World Tono and Tugtog Dicho ‘Sound Signals’ and Environmental Sounds Transmission and Continuity The Paradotoc and Their Training Musikeros The Parapanganam, Cobacho Makers, Cabos and Pudientes Revival and Continuity in Canaman i iv vii viii 1 1 5 11 13 24 29 32 35 41 60 73 81 86 89 98 98 99 110 117 121 127 128 130 141 142 146 149 150 157 158 159 163 168 170 173 v IV Chapter Four: Postcolonial Cultural Politics The Postcolonial Predicament Subaltern Speech Identity and Cosmopolitics Against Postality: Neocolonial Singularities Fidelity and the Politics of the Situation 180 180 194 201 213 218 V Chapter Five: Religiosity and the Performance of Pilgrimage Panata, Faith, and the Devotion of the Bicolanos Samno asin Atang: Embodying the Sacred The ‘Clash of Spirits’ and Vernacular Religion Truth, Grace, and the Transcendent 244 VI Chapter Six: Identity, Economy and Material Practices of the Quotidian Women, ‘Siblingship,’ and the Continuity of Tradition Gender and Siblingship The Paradotoc as Woman Space, Place, Time, and Mobility Virtual Space The Poor Bicolanos: A Heritage of Woes Dress, Humor, Power, and Virtual Inversions Feasts, Olfaction, and Defiance 294 246 251 270 287 295 296 299 307 308 311 321 327 Conclusion 331 Glossary Bibliography Appendices Photographs: Cobacho Dotoc in Baao Photographs: Komedya and Dotoc in Bigaa Photographs: Dotoc and Lagaylay in Canaman Photographs: Dotoc/Komedya in Baras, Nabua Photographs: Peñafrancia Processions Photo and Video Clips (in DVD Attachment) 341 346 371 388 398 404 406 410 vi List of Tables and Figures Tables Table 1 Table 2 Table 3 Table 4 Table 5 Table 6 Table 7 Table 8 Table 9 Parts of the Baao Extant Texts Action Structure of Extant Texts in Baao Structure of the Cobacho Dotoc (1939 Text) Dotoc y Pasion Texts in Canaman Action Sequences of the Komedya Action Sequence of the Lagaylay Dotoc Timeline Performance Schedules Chronology of Dotoc Training in Baao c.1920-1960 page 104 110 115 119 123 128 131 131 165 Figures Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3 Figure 4 Figure 5 Figure 6 Figure 7 Figure 8 Figure 9 Figure 10 Figure 11 Figure 12 Figure 13 Figure 14 Figure 15 Map of the Philippines Map of Bicol Detailed map of Bicol Title page of 1895 Dotoc sa Mahal na Santa Cruz (Cobacho) Page 1 of 1895 Text showing directorial instructions Pages 2-3 of 1895 Text showing directorial instructions Pages 6-7 of 1895 Text showing directorial instructions Dotoc asin Pasion sa Mahal na Santa Cruz (Canaman) Sketch of Santa Cruz, Baao grid of streets Cobacho structures in Santa Cruz, Baao Sketch of performance space in Tinago, Bigaa ‘Kalbaryo’ in Tinago, Bigaa Tinago boys in dark glasses Dotoc music score Vexilla music score 2 3 4 112 113 113 114 118 133 136 138 139 145 153 156 vii Preface I never thought of the dotoc as theatre or performance, or as anything at all. It was just itself, a big event that dominated my growing up summers in Santa Cruz, Baao, Camarines Sur—until I started looking at it as a researcher. But, then, I never thought of the dotoc at all, as one who is alive does not think of breathing, because it was a part of my life. I remember snatches of childhood experiences of the dotoc: myself as a young girl of five or six, looking down from the massive windows of my grandparents’ house right into the dotoc of our street, or joining in the singing and the offering of flowers, excited at being still awake at ten or eleven at night; or myself at age ten being invited to the dotoc in the next street and feeling all grown up, mixing with the young girls of that neighbourhood; or at fourteen, now being conferred the honour of singing the celebrated solo part. As a researcher, I was compelled to look at it closely, to think about it, to explain it. Before this project started, my Filipino mentors had warned against using foreign categories in making sense of field data, saying that the academic usually comes from a tradition totally alien to that of the community being researched, speaks a foreign language, and has a foreign world-view learned from the university (Mirano 1997). Subsequent readings opened up further questions on the ethical choice of subject matter and methodology. Confronting these questions has been difficult and now I am down to just the bare essential answers, such as the fact that no one before me has ever worked specifically on the dotoc tradition or written about it with any breadth or depth. I have tried to understand the questions as pertaining both to the danger of not being ‘distanced’ enough to have a clear viii (‘objective’?) view of the data and to the need for rigour in methodology, which might be compromised because the researcher might take things for granted, many aspects tending to become invisible due to her familiarity with them. I started writing on the dotoc performance tradition from the perspective of an insider, but later fieldwork yielded new data that I did not know about before, and the emotional distancing allowed an outsider perspective to exist side by side with the insider’s. It is this insider-outsider view that has in fact allowed critical reflection on the tradition. With this dual position I have sought to analyze the tradition using the theoretical tools of the academy, but also resisted engagement with these tools, considering, ethnographically, that the paradotoc perform without so much fuss in the head and just go into the doing of it because it is the season for the tradition, it is fiesta time, or because it is a call of duty, an act of faith and devotion. I embark on a journey with this project, a journey back to childhood and family, to a place called home, to sights, sounds, smells, tastes recollected in the many stories of informants but also experienced on recent visits as a paradotoc. It is however already the journey of a stranger, of someone who left and is returning as a different person. It is a researcher’s journey marked by stops and starts, as I strive first to locate myself on the map of the researcher’s ‘field’—the site of things already said, ‘routes’ already taken, ‘roots’ accounted for or explained in discrepant ways. I then organize the images into coherent pictures, compose statements about them or ask questions. In so doing I chart a different kind of journey. Chapter 1 poses the major questions and my initial answers and thus p...
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