Those loud thunders in the night.

Sinulog is right around the corner, and the feeling of the festivities are starting to take shape every place in this city that I went to. Well, for starters everytime I come home from work, our “used-to-be-silent” neighborhood would suddenly break into a loud thunderous sound, emitting from the trumpets, drums and other percussions right across our house.

For those that who do not know, I happened to live in the same neighborhood as the Sandiegos. Yup, you guessed it. Val Sandiego and the rest of his crew he calls “The Sandiego Dancers” were practicing their routines behind closed doors during the night, for what I believe is their offering once again to Sr. Sto. Nino this coming Sunday.

Now, I dare not complain about the whole thing, since Val happens to be a close family friend of ours, and my late Lola would treat him like a son and somewhat family member as well. Not to mention the fact that over the years, my aunts, cousins and even my sister has joined the Sandiego Dancers during the Sinulog Festival, winning awards here and there every year. So, there’s no stopping these guys from practicing almost every night. Besides, this is only on a “temporary” basis since after the festival this Sunday, everything will be back to normal as it was before.

These guys have been doing it year after year, night after night of practicing, rehearsing the whole dance routines, etc. It’s no wonder they have been winning awards to the point that they were eventually banned from joining the Sinulog dance contest.

The reason? Because as some would call it “protest,” that the Sandiego Dancers have been winning year after year and it’s taking away their “supposed” right to win other awards as well.

 I wouldn’t know how Val and his crew managed to snagged those awards before, but what I do know is how dedicated they are in their crafts in arranging their dance routines and such.

From the dance choreography to designing the costumes for the dancers, Val has done them all(with some help from his wife “Boging” and his other costume designers).

It’s a good thing that Val and Co. have not taken this so-called protest as a form of insult. Rather, they are flattered by these protest that some contingents have brought before the board members in charge of the Sinulog Festivities.

So, since they couldn’t enter the contest due to the ban, they decided that the best thing to do was to offer their sacrifices to Sr. Sto. Nino during the festival.

I recalled back in 2002,  just two days before the Sinulog festivities, tragedy struck Val and his family. On that peaceful afternoon his house caught fire, and quickly spread around their surroundings including their appliances, beds, etc.

I remember people hurriedly grabbing whatever things or appliances or clothes that they can possibly save from their houses, all the while screaming and hollering for help from nearby residents. I saw Val running towards our garage grabbing his collection of Sto. Nino from his house and placing them in our garage.

I was in awe looking at him, not because for his bravery during the fire, but for his dedication in saving as much of those Sto. Ninos as he can. He never bothered to save any of their clothes or appliances during that fire.

He would later on say, that despite the tragedy that struck him and his family, his faith and beliefs in the Sto. Nino made them more stronger than ever. So strong was their faith that despite the incident, they still went on with the festivities during the Sinulog, minus their costumes that were burnt along with their things.

During that Sinulog day, they wore t-shirts that were plain white, symbolizing their faith and their strenght to carry on with the festivities. I was told that people were cheering on during their performance. I guess everyone must have read the newspapers about the fire and knew how difficult must be for them to continue on despite what happened.

Val and the rest of The Sandiego Dancers never asked for any sympathies from the people during their performance on the streets and on the grand stand that day. Instead, they showed people that faith and trust in God is what kept them going and that people shouldn’t give up on whatever trials that they may come across their way.

That’s why people in my neighborhood respected him that much because of who he is, and what he is today.

Tonight, I’ll still get the distinct pleasure of those thunderous trumpets and drums echoing in the distance. But, I know that deep inside Val’s house they are perfecting yet another of those dance routines or steps for the coming Sinulog. 

Did I mentioned that years ago, Val offered me a slot to be one of his dancers? Now, that would be some good o’l experiences to write about. Sadly, I never went through with it for the mere fact that I chickened out on the whole thing. 

No regrets, because I chose not to participate for my own personal reasons. 

On a side note, I’d like to greet my bandmate Dhee Evangelista a “Happy 27th Birthday!!” today. Here’s to more rocking birthdays to come and an album to release hopefully this year 🙂

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~ by roadworthyman on January 17, 2008.

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