The Karilagan Dance Society celebrated its 47th anniversary last April 7, 2018 at the Radisson Hotel & Convention Centre. Highlights of the evening were the dance showcase “Mga Sayaw Pinoy” by its young members and the presentation of the Hiyas (Gem) Awards.
On hand to deliver personal greetings were: Hon. AmarjeetSohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and MP for Edmonton-Millwoods; Jun Angeles, President of Congress of the Philippines Association in Alberta; and Consul Pamela Durian-Bailon, for the Philippine Consulate General, Calgary.
The Karilagan Dance Society, currently under the leadership of Elmina “Memen” Cochingco as President, Artistic Director and Choreographer, was founded by Dr. Remedios Borromeo in 1971. Through the years, it has had numerous performances for Heritage Days, Canada Days, Klondike Days, on top of other community events. It has served as a cultural ambassador, performing across Canada, the United States, the Philippines, and in Spain. Although its name indicates the group as a dance society, it has expanded its scope to the promotion of cultural traditions, information dissemination and recognition programs. Past and current projects for these include: recognition of Philippine pioneers in Alberta; the community newspaper “Philippine Hiyas”; lessons on Filipino martial arts and rondalla; the holy week tradition Pabasa; cultural exchanges; a choral group; and the Hiyas (Gem) Awards.
The Hiyas (Gem) Awards was launched in 1996, during Karilagan’s 25th anniversary, to “recognize the achievements of Filipino-Canadians in the field of academics, education, science, arts, business, sports and community service”. To date, the award has 166 recipients. This year’s awardees, presented by award Chair Lulu Bernal, were: Franklin Gonzales Jr. for Academic High School; Jeannine Naboye for Academic University; Mila Bongco-Philipzig for Communication Arts; Bethany Briones for Education; Armand Bernabe for Community Service – Adult; and Maria Theresa Juanillo for Fine Arts.
Congratulations to the awardees and to the Karilagan Dance Society for its continued purpose of sharing and celebrating Philippine cultural traditions through the performing arts, and all the best to the group on their upcoming performance in Orlando, Florida this summer!
Photos by Dario Juanillo | Alberta Filipino Journal