Magdaragat Philippine Association Inc.

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Magdaragat Philippine Association Inc.


Winnipeg Manitoba

Magdaragat Philippines Inc. is a non-profit dance group in Winnipeg Manitoba.

Magdaragat and Tanghalang Pilipino[edit]

The seed of the present Magdaragat was planted in 1976 when three individuals decided to form a dance group. The primary reasons were centered on presenting an alternative to what was already existing then. The organizers were experienced and/or technically trained in their respective specific fields; hence the boldness of approach. The dance group was formed with less than 10 members.

Tanghalang Pilipino (Philippine Theatre) was formed almost at the same time. Both activities utilized the group's limited resources, with the drama company involving more community members who were given some training through short workshops. Tanghalang Pilipino performed about 14 short plays from 1977 to 1981, all of which were written and directed by Dante Buenaventura. In Magdaragat, attitude towards ensemble playing was emphasized very heavily. Cooperative work, constant rehearsals and group effort were always instilled. These were the key factors in the success of a group that professes 'company' as a method of artistic and administrative operation.

The creative requirements (repertoire, costumes, programs, etc.), however, were heavy and at that time given emphasis. There was no choice. Every single thing had to be started from scratch. Members had to provide whatever they needed. In other words, the group depended on themselves to achieve.

Talks about having the dance and drama activities under one name happened in 1977; in 1978, the combined groups were called Philippine Folk Arts Society. In 1979, the name changed to Tanghalang Pilipino. Finally in 1980, the umbrella organization including all cultural activities sponsored or spearheaded by Magdaragat was incorporated as Magdaragat Philippine Folk Arts, Inc., as a private, non-profit cultural organization.

Excerpts from the Past[edit]

Magdaragat and the Community[edit]

Magdaragat feels that cultural organizations like theirs help in consolidating the community. Especially at this stage of youth of the Philippine community in Winnipeg, no clear direction or attempts at consolidation by a cultural group have been made - meaning it was never thought of a viable objective.

Magdaragat does not boast to do this tedious and painstaking task but is willing to try doing the first steps and hopefully continuing with it. Priorities have to be defined; objectives have to be clearly delineated. If consolidation of the community or helping the community grow to be a strong community is the direction, then the objectives have to be geared towards the growth of this direction. Happily, Magdaragat has started.

We do it all for love[edit]

Many people ask us, "ano ang napapala ninyo? Ano ang nakukuha ninyo?" (What do you get out of it?). They are referring to our activities in dance and drama - working late, regular practices, spending our own money for costumes, rehearsing in parking lots when space is not available, sewing costumes by hand, soliciting sponsors, getting ads, burning the midnight oil drawing, layouting, beading rehearsing, etc. We say nobody gets any money and that if ever our group has some, the money is used to buy things for the group - food for the group, tapes for the group. Members don't even charge gasoline for the use of their cars.

It is just sheer pleasure, self-fulfillment, self-improvement and belongingness to a group that takes care of all its members fairly, even if at times one's personal wishes are not granted for the sake of a total good. There is a lot of sweat and hard work - hours which are creatively allotted among school/work, personal and social lives. But that is the price of success. Success means more hard work to achieve and maintain (improve rightly) standards set. Improvement means going upwards, treading new paths, doing new things, researching new materials and that is a lot of work.

More important is the fact that our group serves the community through various cultural endeavours - performances, studies, research, experimentations, and improvisations. It is with this hope that we continue - despite internal problems which are inherent in any group and external problems which aim sometimes unknowingly at discrediting not only our groups but the community as well, and all the hosts of other barriers that can impede growth. This is probably the beauty of engaging in our cultural activities - there is an endless colourful wealth of experiences taken in a positive tone, given a positive approach, resulting in positive achievements.

To all of you, we invite you to join us in a performing capacity, or in a non-performing capacity - through criticism, research, clerical work, sewing, set designs, construction, drafting, etc. - we do them all for Love.

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