Friday, July 8, 2011

Today's "Putong" girls

Flowers, crowns, palm leaves, good-luck coins, candles and smiles always welcome visitors to Marinduque. The “Putong” folk tradition of singing and dancing to welcome visitors originated from Marinduque’s villages. Over time this tradition has been adopted in major Philippine cities as a special treat to guests and honorees. It is said that the practice started as a healing ritual (some lines in the song beseech the intercession of saints), starting in somber tone with candles lit on cue and ending in jubilation and swaying with cries of “Mabuhay” and “Viva”, long live.

The tradition is no longer exclusively performed by the elderly as a new generation of mamumutong, putong performers have also come to love this it, willing to share it with unsuspecting guests as an unforgettable surprise. A short version of “Putong” became popular during the last forty years (original versions last for hours to a whole day that included breaks for eating and tuba, coconut wine drinking), and many young girls have come to memorize the song and corresponding folk dance-steps.

Not clad in saya or sarong, the Putong girls in the above photo are quite comfortable performing in their modern outfit looking pretty and summery even when the rain starts to fall, another welcome sign here anyway.