the real rigodon

peque gallaga always emails interesting stuff that i usually open right away, except for one last week with two fwds on gloria’s junkets, thinking, so what else is new. but today i clicked on it, by mistake? and i’m so glad i did. because while the first was indeed something i’d received before, the second by perry diaz was new to me. especially the last half of it which was all about how gloria celebrated her last (it better be) independence day in the palace.

i had the blues that day, almost forgot kasi, working day kasi, no celebration kasi, whereas gma pala had a very exclusive, very grand ball behind closed doors, at our expense of course:

During the 110th Independence Day last June 12, Arroyo cut the cost of the Independence Day program at the Rizal Park to show the people that she’s willing to conserve money at a time of rising food prices. However, on the night of June 12, Arroyo hosted a glitzy reception at the Malacanang Palace for the diplomatic corps and the country’s elite.

What is appalling was the ostentatious display of pomp at the Malacanang reception, especially the revival of the elitist dance, the “rigodon de honor.” Arroyo handpicked the 20 couples — the country’s rich and famous or, I might say, the cream of Gloria’s “Enchanted Kingdom” — who participated in the rigodon.

It is interesting to note that the last time the rigodon was performed in Malacanang was on June 30, 1981 during the third inauguration of President Ferdinand Marcos. When Cory Aquino ascended to the presidency after Marcos was overthrown, she prohibited the rigodon from being performed in all official functions, an oblique rejection of a dance considered to be fitting only for the high and mighty ruling elite. After 27 years of not performing this unnecessary display of power and affluence, Gloria revived the rigodon at a time when the people are in dire need and impoverished.

After all the speeches at the June 12th reception had ended, the media people were unceremoniously told to leave. Thus, nobody from the media witnessed the “rigodon the honor” except one — outgoing Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye. Bunye disclosed and described the rigodon in detail — including the names of the participants — in his weekly newspaper column. Arroyo should have told him to leave the reception too.”

at once i googled “toting bunye rigodon” and found that he has a website pala where the column was supposed to be posted but i couldn’t find it, LOL, recently deleted maybe? so i clicked on manila bulletin online instead and there it is: history & rigodon de honor in all its decadence.

…For the revival of the Rigodon for this year’s Independence Day celebration, the President handpicked the participants and took the time to occasionally drop in on their rehearsals. At one rehearsal, I understand that she also gamely learned the steps, partnering with Secretary Art Yap.

The twenty couples who performed the Rigodon were:

Congressman Albert Garcia and Congresswoman Carissa Coscolluela
Mayor Freddie Tinga and Ms. Zareen Baqir
Chairman Ray Anthony Roxas Chua III and Ms. Abby Ramos Claudio
Mr. Butch Ramirez and Mayor Jenny Barzaga
Congressman Mark Enverga and Congresswoman Mitch Cajayon
Mr. John Gaddi and Ms. Joanne Reyes
Ambassador David Pine and Ms. Assunta de RossiLedesma
Governor Leo Campos and Ms. Angie Cadungog
General Arturo Lomibao and Ms. Elizabeth Lee
Congressman Robbie Puno and Atty. Patricia Bunye
Mr. Sonny Tanchanco and Ms. Paula Locsin Bondoc
Congressman Martin Romualdez and Ms. Dawn Zulueta-Lagdameo
Mr. Nestor Jardin and Ms. Tessa Prieto Valdez
Mr. Alex Macapagal and Ms. Anna Marie Periquet
Congressman Joboy Aquino and Ms. Marissa Andaya
Congressman Dato Arroyo and Mayor Kimi Cojuangco
Secretary Arthur Yap and Ms. Lani Mercado Revilla
Former Senator Tito Sotto and Ms. Mons Romulo Tantoco
General Generoso Senga and Congresswoman Rachel Arenas
Secretary Peter Favila and Ambassador Kristie Kenney

The entire Independence Day reception and Rigodon de Honor was directed by Ms. Lupita Kashiwahara. Choreography was by Ms. Bujing Danao and Ms. Dalah Pia, assisted by Mr. Renato Delgado and Mr. Jerry Mercado. Music was by Gloria Gatmaitan and her band.”

my, what a star-studded extravaganza. so, did the choreographers change the steps a little, jazz it up a little, or was it faithful to the old boring quadrille? so, what were the women’s ternos like? sinong winner sa coutouriers? and the best family jewels must have been out on display, patalbugan blues, palakihan, pakinangan ng diamonds at pearls, among themselves lang of course, then back to the vault, hora mismo. so who was the belle of the ball, dawn zulueta? asunta de rossi? lani mercado? tessa prieto? rachel arenas? kristie kenney? o talbog silang lahat kay glory glory hallelujah? i would have loved to watch the show, kahit sa tv lang, di ba. for a sense of history, why not?



    In its modern usage, hubris denotes overconfident pride and arrogance; it is often associated with a lack of knowledge combined with a lack of humility. An accusation of hubris often implies that suffering or punishment will follow, similar to the occasional pairing of hubris and nemesis in the Greek world.

    The proverb “pride goes before a fall” is thought to sum up the modern definition of hubris.

  2. Considering the subject matter of just about every blog I follow today, I half expected your update to be about the second coming of the iPhone too :-)

    Interesting post (as usual), but I thought it was building up to some monumentally incredulous rant about the impropriety of it all. I was caught off guard by how you ended it instead. You really meant to wrap it up sounding like you’re sorry you (and the media) were so “out” of this particular happening, wishing you’d caught at least a glimpse?

    Of course, your sarcasm may just have been below my unreliable tongue-in-cheek radar. In which case, don’t mind me and let me leave you alone to go off and wallow in my own inadequacy.

  3. from an article on Congressman Ferdinand Martin Romualdez’s site,, entitled “Ternos barongs get as much got as much interest as Arroyo’s address”:

    “The President, who was escorted by First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo as she entered the hall where the gathering was held late Thursday to mark the country’s110th Independence, wore a cream terno.

    US Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney looked glittering in her blue gown, while actress Dawn Zulueta was stunning in a black evening dress. Senator Vicente Sotto wore a piña barong tagalog. Presidential Management Staff chief Cerge Remonde’s barong was green and red.

    In her message, President Arroyo said the skyrocketing price of oil and food is a global problem but can be hurdled if Filipinos unite. She also called on members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to work together towards becoming a unified economy.

    This year’s 20 pairs of rigodon dancers, meanwhile, included Cabinet officials, members of the diplomatic corps, spouses of lawmakers, and business leaders. The media, however, was barred from covering the dance.”

    ang ganda ng walang koneksyon between the oil and food crises and the 20 pairs of rigodon dancers. :) and of course let us bar the media from the dance itself, kase nag-change outfit pa most of the participants for it, and i’m sure pati alahas pinalitan ng mga mas bonggang katas ng kani-kaniyang hacienda.