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Subli

Subli is a folkdance in the Philippines. It is considered a favorite of the people of the barrios of the municipality of Bauan, Batangas. It is a ceremonial worship dance performed in homage to the Holy Cross referred to in the vernacular as Mahal Na Poong Santa Cruz.

History

It originated some three hundred years ago in the barrio of Dingin, Alitagtag, Batangas. In a research made by Dr. Elena Mirano, the word "subli" came from the old Tagalog word "sobli" meaning "salisi" or "exchange of place". Exchange of place is a prominent feature of the dance subli.

Subli is the dance portion of a devotion performed in honor of the Mahal na Poong Santa Cruz, a large crucifix of anubing wood with the face of the sun in silver at the center. The icon was discovered in the early decades of Spanish rule in what is now the town of Alitagtag, Batangas. It is the patron of many towns in the area, notably the ancient town of Bauan, Batangas.

The subli consists of a long sequence of prayers in verse, songs, and dances, performed in a fixed sequence. The verse recounts the first journey of the early manunubli (subli performer)through the fields, hills, and rivers of Batangas in search of the miraculous cross. Sections of verse are sung to a fixed punto or skeletal melody, which may be elaborated on in a different way by a different subli troupe.

About five of these punto are used in a complete subli performance. These sections may be divided further into various fixed dance patterns involving one, two or eight pairs of men and women. These numbers seem to be the norm in Bauan, although other towns may have formations involving three pairs at a time. The stances, gestures, and movements of the male dancers are freewheeling and dramatic, consisting of leaping, striking the ground with kalaste (wooden bamboo clappers held in both hands), and other movements suggesting the martial arts. The women circle on half-toe, performing the talik (small refined gestures with wrists and fingers), their fingers grazing the small-brimmed hats and alampay (triangular scarf worn loosely over the shoulder)that are the essential parts of their costume. They dance and sing, to the rhythm beaten out by a stick on the tugtugan, a goblet-shaped, footed drum of langka wood with a head made of iguana skin. E.R. Mirano

source: http://www.accu.or.jp/ich/en/arts/A_PHL4.html

Sa larangan ng sariling sining, hindi pahuhuli ang Batangas. Pinagpala ito ng mayamang kalinangan ng sining ma pa sayaw, musika, kaugalian. Isa rito ang sayaw na subli. Sinasabing ang sentro ng subli ay ang Bauan. Ayon sa pagkaalam ni Miguela "Mila" Maquimot, matremayo, noon sa Dingin, Alitagtag ay may nakatirang mag-asawa. Na ang lalake ay lasenggero, seloso, at mangbubugbog. Kaya ang babae ang siyang umiigib sa balon. Minsan, ay umuwi ang lalake na lasing, at nagkataong walang tubig sa banga, kaya ang babae ay umigib sa balon. Sa balon na ayon ay may kahoy na binubukalan ng tubig. Nakita niya na may manika na naaginging. At dahil dito, maraming bayan ang nagnais na makuha ang kahoy pero, hindi nila ito maiangat. Kaya ang ginawa ng mga taga-Bauan kasama nang parish priest, sila ay pumunta roon at tiningnan ang manika. Kinantahan at sinayawan ng subli, laking tuwa nila nang mabuhat nila ang kahoy. Ang kahoy na ito ay ginawa nilang poon. Sta Elena ang kanilang poon o patron, nguni't kilala ito sa tawag na Sta Cruz.

Ang pagsayaw ng subli ay namana nila sa kanilang lolo't lola na manunubli na noon. Nanonood sila kapag ang mga ito ay nagsasayaw. At pagkatapos, sila ay nagtitipon-tipon at sumasayaw nang pakunti-konti hanggang matuto. At kapag sila ay sumasayaw nasa harapan nila ang poon.

Labindalawang taong gulang pa lamang si Bb Maquimot nang maging manunubli. Ayon sa kanya, siya at ang kanyang mga kasamahan ay hindi na nahihiya kapag nagsasayaw ng subli dahil sanay na silang humarap sa tao. Sila ay nadiskubre noong "Batangas City Day," kung saan sila ay sumali sa paligsahan ng sayaw na subli, na pinanalunan ng mga ito.

Simula noon, kung saan-saang lugar na sila sumayaw ng subli, sa tulong ni Ed Borbon, na masasabing tumatayong "organizer or manager" ng grupo.

Bilang direktor ng cultural affairs ng Batangas, si Borbon ang kumukontak kay Bb Maquimot kung mayroong mga okasyon na sila ay pinasasayaw.

Sumayaw na sila sa Manila Hotel, Intramuros, Folk Arts Theater, Nayong Pilipino, Cultural Center of the Philippines, at maging sa ibang bansa. An grupo nina Miguela Maquimot at Abdon Cruzat ay ipinadala sa Washington, D.C. noong Hunyo 21/Hulyo 5, bilang mga kinatawan ng ating bansa.

Ang Pilipinas lamang ang bansang kumatawan bilang malaya o independent nation. Samantalang ang kumatawan sa USA ay ang Wisconsin at sa Baltic nations ay ang Estonia, Latvia, at Lithuania.

Sa loob ng panahong iyon, hindi lumilipas ang maghapon na hindi sila sumasayaw. At sa Oktubre 21, sila ay sumayaw muli sa Maynila. Dito sa Batangas ay sumasayaw rin sila tulad noong silebrasyon ng senior citizen, Batangas Day, at women's organization.

Bukod dito, sila ay nagtuturo rin ng subli sa iba't-ibang paaralan kabilang dito ang Sta Teresa College, Lyceum, PBMIT.

Nagkamit din sila ng iba't-ibang parangal gaya na plaque of appreciation mula sa CCP, tropeyo, at sertipiko. Maging ang kanilang tinuruan ay nanalo na rin sa ginanap na patimpalak ng subli noong Hulyo 25, 1995 bilang first place.

Samantala, kaya ito sinasabing subli: laro at panata, dahil ang subli ay laro ng kabataan, ayon kay Bb Anicia Villanueva, isa sa matremayo. Karamihan sa mga manunubli ay nagisimulang mag-aral nito noong sila'y nasa edad na 12 at nagdadalaga o nagbibinata na. Karaniwan, matindi ang pagsali sa subli ng mga dalaga't binata habang hindi pa sila nag-aasawa at nagliligawan pa lamang. Kaya't bagama't hindi naman ito talagang kaugaliang kaugnay ng panliligaw, kahalo na rin ang elementong ito. Nasasalamin sa mga kakaibang galaw ng mga batang lalake at babae ang magandang kilos at mabuting asal na inaasahan ng lipunan na tataglayin nila kapag sila ay nasa sapat na gulang na.

Sa kabilang dako, ayon kay Bb Maquimot, ang subli ay panata dahil kung ang isang tao ay nakapanata ng, halimbawa, makapasa lamang ika ang kanilang anak sa board exam sila ay magpapasubli, o kaya naman ay gumaling lamang sila sa kanilang sakit sila ay magpapasubli. Yun ang tinatawag na subli bilang panata. Kaya ito ay Subli: Laro at Panata.

source: http://www2.mozcom.com/~batangan/news/schools/ojt/subli.htm

THE subli is not just a dance or sayaw; it has also been described as a kaugalian which implies something more enduring and a panata that hints at spirituality, specially because the panata or vow is to the Mahal na Poong Santa Krus. In Lumang Bauan (southern tip of the Taal volcano area in Batangas) it is also called a laro which, in turn, is composed of tula, dasal, sayaw at musikang pantinig. But to fully understand the significance of the subli in our national repertoire of dances, one is advised to study the kalikasan around it, which I think means, its social context and gawaing panlipunan.

My source of information is Dr. Elena Rivera Mirano’s edifying book, Ang mga Tradisyonal na Musikang Pantinig sa Lumang Bawan Batangas. This work, an original and valuable contribution to cultural studies, was published in 1997 by the National Commission on Culture and the Arts. I cannot imagine reading and studying about the subli in a language that is not native to these islands. Unfortunately, I have to write most of this article in English which is so alien to the subli.

The Mahal na Poong Santa Krus plays a central part in the subli; the emblematic and decorative installations, performances and other art forms related to the subli revolve around the wooden cross draped with a white fabric similar to the stole placed on the Holy Cross of Jesus during Easter. According to Dr. Mirano in ancient times natives living around the Taal volcano area would plant wooden crosses around the crater, or even immerse these in the crater itself to ask the Poon to save them from Nature’s wrath. Could that have been a tradition even before the Spaniards came? Is the cross (two pieces of wood tied together) a universal design shared by many civilizations? After all, the crucifixion was already the death penalty even before Jesus Christ was born. Spotting all those wooden crosses impaled on the Taal Volcano, the early Spanish missionaries must have been amazed at the coincidence and re-shaped the tradition to fit the Christian mold. My conjecture, according to Dr. Mirano, cannot be proven by documentary evidence.

The Poong Santa Krus was first described in Gaspar de San Agustin’s Conquista De Las Islas Filipinas (1565-1615) as "una cruz muy grande…por ser de una pesada madera llamada anivion…" which in the local dialect was anubing. Fr. San Agustin also wrote that in 1611, natives placed the cross in the mouth of the crater to silence the volcano. Consecuently, he concluded inhabitants of Alitagtag used the cross to ward off evil spirits; they believed it had innate powers, that it could travel, summon stars to surround it with dazzling light and reduce or increase its weight depending on the message it meant to impart. In Juan Noceda and Pedro San Lucar’s VOCABULARIO DE LA LENGUA TAGALA (1860), subli was defined as "…pasear cruzando por alguna calle…hurtar el cuerpo a quien le quiere hablar…las mudanzas de baile, o danzar cruzando. Magsoblian cayong sumayao. La persona por quien sinosoblian…" Imagine, Spangalog in the XIXth century!

More recently, a study of native dances by Francisca Reyes-Aquino, published in 1935 and reprinted in 1953, attempted an etymological analysis of "subli" as coming from the word "subsob" and "bali" which was how the male subli dancers looked. Mislead by that description, Quijano de Manila (Nick Joaquin, National Artist for Literature) considered the subli irrefutable evidence that the Philippines is a matriarchal society. Dr. Mirano’s research has belied both Aquino and Joaquin. In her book, Elenita Rivera Mirano celebrates the mysterious refinements of the subli which is all of sayaw, panata, laro, kaugalian, ritwal and musikang pantinig. The good news is that the tradition is kept alive in many towns in Batangas. (by Gemma Cruz Araneta)

source: http://www.mb.com.ph/issues/2007/05/29/OPED2007052994877.html

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