1. Hinilawod : An Epic Worthy of a Proud People
Hinilawod is an epic poem written by the early inhabitants of
Sulod in central Panay who lived by the mouth of the Halawod
River. Hinilawod was first discovered serendipitously in 1955,
when F. Landa Jocano, then a young college student -- now a
renown anthropologist -- traveled the hinterlands of his home
province, Iloilo, collecting folk songs, stories, and riddles.
It was during one of those trips to the market of Lambunao that
he heard an old man, Ulang Udig, chanting to his grandson. The
story he was chanting was the story of the tale called Hinilawod.
Over two summers, Jocano returned again and again, and completed the recording of the 30 hour epic poem. This more
than 28,340 verse epic when chanted took about three days to perform if interrupted only for sleep and meals but took
three weeks when done only in the evening hours after supper. It is one of the longest epics known, longer than the
Iliad which has 15,700 verses.
This centuries-old folktale was first staged primarily as a dance performance in Iloilo City in March 1983 by the
cultural group, Panayana, during the inauguration of the Cultural Center of Western Visayas on the campus of West
Visayas State University.
Other notable stagings followed at the World Expo in Seville, Spain in 1994 and again, the same year, for the 3rd
Asean Dance Festival in Manila. In 1995, Hinilawod was presented at the International Festival for Experimental
Theater in Cairo, Egypt, and in Paris, Madrid, Frankfurt and Rome. In 1998, the epic was presented in the US, Canada
as well as in Lisbon, Portugal.
In 2010, Hiyas Kayumanggi, a group of nation-believing imagineers, revived this unique Filipino cultural icon in a
series of well received musical - theatrical performances staged at the Luce Auditorium of Silliman University, in
Dumaguete City, first in February, and because of popular clamor, again in July. It has set new playdates this year for
August 23 and 24, 2011 again, at the Luce Auditorium, Dumaguete City.
For Manila audiences, Hinilawod will be performed at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo(Main Theater) of the
Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) on September 3 and 4, 2011. The Manila performance is made possible
through the collaborative efforts of Creative Futures Inc., a team of creative professionals venturing into meticulous
and out-of-the-box conceptualization and execution of various events and productions ranging from concerts, plays,
workshops, seminars, exhibits, festivals, product launches and showcases, among others.
Hinilawod is not just a literary piece but also a source of information about culture, religion and rituals of the ancient
people of Sulod; showing us that ancient Filipinos believed in the “sacred,” in the importance of family honor and in
personal courage and dignity. Production-wise, according to one viewer, "I went there expecting an enjoyable night of
music with which I was not disappointed. But what I did not expect was the texture and the detail that went into
everything! Simply put, the richness of the production left my mouth hanging wide open. It was simply amazing!"
This Hinilawod revival is brought to us by the following: its Creative Directors: Joanie D. SyCip, M.D. and Rene M.
Oliva, Jr.; Musical Director: Gina Raakin; Dance Directors: Ronnie Mirabuena and Rodel Fronda; Costume Design:
Kristine Jul Oliva; Lighting Design: Martin Esteva; Scriptwriters: Adelina Zerrudo [Part I] and Mel Vera Cruz and
Eliezer del Carmen [Part II and Part III]; Musical score: Romulo Pangan [Part I] and Gina Raakin [Part II and III]. For
the Manila screening, the team is joined by the following: Acting Coaches: Robert Seňa and Isay Alvarez Seňa,
together with Jay B. Cruz; Musical Arrangement: Willy Buena.
West Visayas State University also wholeheartedly shared all previous materials needed to make the revival of