Mga Anak ni Inang Daigdig, which translates to “Children of Mother Earth,” is a group of young Filipino performers born and raised on Smokey Mountain, the third largest untreated garbage dump in the world in Tondo, Manila, Philippines. The group debuted in 1994, and the current troupe is touring California this month to showcase the riches of the Filipino cultural heritage through the dances and rituals of the indigenous peoples and the folk dances from various parts of the Philippines. In addition, the group brings their message of environmental awareness and sustainability. One of their stops included a visit with the Kababayan Learning Community students at Skyline College for a dance workshop with members of Barangay Dance Company, Kababayan’s sister troupe under the artistic direction of Bonifacio Valera, as well as two fundraising shows at the Main Theater on October 12th, 2013.
On the afternoon of October 9th at Serramonte Mall in Daly City, their van was broken into and all of their bags containing their personal belongings (cellphones, laptops, passports, etc.) were stolen. Despite this tragedy, the members of the troupe indicated that maybe whoever took their belongings needed money more than they did: these were just material things they lost, not their life or health, and they would rather focus on their upcoming performances.
The community responded with an outpouring of donations, including monetary contributions, new clothing and supplies, and even replacements for their lost technology. Several members of faculty and administration at Skyline College as well as the district office helped gather donations, and some of the students made generous contributions as well. One student, Remigio Miguel, even donated several rebuilt laptops, a digital camera, and $100 cash, then took the group of 15 out to lunch at Moonstar Restaurant. Needless to say, the group members were very grateful for everyone’s help, and are currently on their way to Southern California to continue their tour.
This show would not have been possible without the help and support of several important people. Thank you to Liza Erpelo, Kababayan Learning Community coordinator; Dr. Reina Bautista, Filipino instructor; Melanie Espinueva, Kababayan Learning Community counselor; Lady Flor “Parts” Partosa, Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA); Janice Sapigao, English instructor; students in the English 103 AK class; Alan Ceccarelli, Theater Events Manager, and his crew; and Donna Bestock, Dean of Social Sciences/Creative Arts for helping to coordinate and run the show.
A special thanks goes out to Mary Gutierrez, Dean of Language Arts/Learning Resources; Eloisa Briones, Vice President of Administrative Services; Tom Bauer, Vice Chancellor, Auxiliary Services and Enterprise Operations; and Kevin Chak and Marta Cuellar, Skyline College Bookstore, for collecting contributions on campus as well as throughout the district, including a generous donation of brand-new backpacks and Skyline College sweatshirts for the entire troupe from the bookstore.
For more information about making donations to Mga Anak ni Inang Daigdig, please contact Joe Espinueva at (650) 892-7184 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article by Liza Erpelo, Photos by Jonathan Tioseco.