KASAMA Vol. 15 No. 3 / July-August-September 2001 / Solidarity Philippines Australia Network

Bayanihan International Solidarity Conference 2001
Philippine Civil Society and International Solidarity Partners:
Strengthening Local & Global Advocacy Initiatives
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 24-26 August 2001

Cultural action has always been a strong feature of the Philippines solidarity movement and the Bayanihan International Solidarity Conference 2001 was no exception. As well as pre-conference exposures plus caucus meetings and three days of conference dialogue, there was also a Trade Fair for Fairer Trade where cause-oriented organisations sold their products and an exhibition from the non-government and people's organisations of their issues and concerns.

There was pop too with singers Miriam Pantig and Jo Awayan performing a special show that rocked us into an afternoon session in swinging mood.

Kaliwat Theater Collective, a theatre group based in Davao, opened the Conference with a cultural presentation and a tri-people's prayer and they rounded off the first day with "Danao" a musical play.

In an emotionally charged tribute to the International Solidarity Movement, the Philippine Educational Theatre Association (PETA) presented Pagpupugay Dangal sa Ating Mga Kaibigan featuring a host of artists who travelled us back in time with the songs composed for the street rallies of protest, sung in the prisons of the dictatorship, and recorded by artists who dared to be branded as "radicals". Jess Santiago and Susan Fernandez sang "Halina", "Kalayaan", "Babae Ka" and there were tears in our eyes and lumps in our throats as though we were hearing them for the first time. Grupong Pendong, Noel Cabangon, and others - they were all there. Even Patatag who haven't sung as a group in the past ten years, but are still friends, got out the old song sheets and rehearsed a few weeks for this revival performance.

The PETA production was not the final treat however. The last day of the conference ended with a dance and concert by The Jerks and sentimentality flowed freely as we danced and sang together, and said our farewells to friends we may not see again for another decade and more.

- Dee Dicen Hunt

Pagpupugay Dangal sa Ating Mga Kaibigan was captured on video and it is hoped that it will be packaged for sale. If this project comes to fruition, we will let you know how you can buy a copy.

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