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|The 1998 Smithsonian Folklife Festival|
A Philippine Harvest
Philippines Chapel lit up at night, with the July 4 fireworks and the Washington Monument
in the background.
100 participants and presenters from the Philippines marked the centennial of the Philippine declaration of independence from Spain with a Folklife Festival program, "Pahiyas: A Philippine Harvest" on the National Mall, Washington, D.C. June 24-July 5, 1998. The program was the result of several years of research and development by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife Programs & Cultural Studies and the Philippine Cultural Center. Pahiyas, a Tagalog word meaning "gems" or something of value given to strengthen a relationship, became a theme of a program that was organized, in part, to connect Americans, and particularly Filipino Americans, with the cultures of the Philippines. This centennial year provided an opportunity to revisit a close and long-standing relationship between the two countries.
Pahiyas also is the name of a harvest Festival in central Luzon and as such the choice of this program title reflects a harvest of traditions that were identified during an extensive research project in 1996-98. Some of the very best community-based artists who demonstrate mastery of their tradition came to the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to represent their country. These artists were presented in contexts familiar to all Filipinos. A basketball court, always a focal point of any barrio or barangay in the Philippines, hosted kulintang gong performers from Mindanao Island, Kalinga and Talaandig community groups from upland regions of the country, and martial artists. An elaborately decorated chapel presented a bamboo marching band, devotional singers and dancers, and a Rondalla ensemble.
traditions were presented in three cluster areas that highlighted the technical process
represented by each artist - weaving, pounding and carving. These areas were scheduled
regularly with quiet performances and focused narrative discussions. Larger discussions
were held in the sari-sari store, a representation of a neighborhood general store.
On June 27, Filipino-American Day, seven Filipino-American groups from across the country
performed on the basketball court and then joined the Filipino delegation for a
traditional procession and concert in the evening.