Wherever I am, the world comes after me.
It offers me its busyness. It does not believe that I do not want it.
Now I understand 
why the old poets of China went so far
and high 
into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.
"The Old Poets of China" by Mary Oliver

The UP Asian Center, together with the Areté and Tanghalang Ateneo of Ateneo De Manila University, will host a cultural performance, “Pesta Igal: A Celebration of Sama Dance and Music” on 22 November 2023, Wednesday, 7:00 PM (GMT+8) at the Hyundai Hall, Areté, Ateneo de Manila University. The show will go on despite the transport strike. The event is free and open to the public.


Hosted by Areté under the initiative of Dr. Ricardo G. Abad, and in partnership with the University of the Philippines Asian Center, Tanghalang Ateneo and Dr. MCM Santamaria, PESTA IGAL 2023 aims to continue its pursuit of artistic excellence through its collaborations with universities and ethnolinguistic communities. From a local Pesta Igal series that originally included participants from the municipalities of Sitangkai and Tawi-Tawi in the Philippines to an international adaptation featuring delegates from Malaysia and Indonesia, Pesta Igal has bridged musical boundaries between cultures for the past decade.
Witness the new masterpieces by Dr. MCM Santamaria alongside intricate special performances by Sama Bangingi dance masters Radzmina Tanjili and Kiram Ignacio from the Sama community of San Andres, Manila. Enjoy the beat and music of our collaborating artists, Kontemporayong Gamelang Pilipino (Kontra GaPi), with their founding director, Professor Pedro “Edru” R. Abraham, Novo Concertante Manila as conducted by Dr. Arwin Q. Tan, and a performance of Maestro Lester Demetillo - founder of the University of the Philippines Guitar Orchestra.
The concert will also serve as the much-anticipated debut of the newest Ateneo de Manila University performing arts group, the Blue Igal, as they bring to life Dr. MCM Santamaria’s choreography fusing of Sama and Western forms.


Radzmina Tanjili and Kiram Ignacio are Sama Bangigi dance masters from the Sama Community of San Andres, Manila.
Kontemporaryong Gamelan Pilipino or Kontra-GaPi is the resident ethnic music and dance ensemble of the College of Arts and Letters of the University of the Philippines Diliman. Founded in 1989 by Prof. Pedro R. Abraham Jr., Kontra-GaPi draws inspiration from the traditions of different ethnolinguistic groups in the Philippines and Southeast Asia to create new music and dance that is rooted in indigenous well-springs but presented in contemporary and modern dress. Know more about Kontra-GaPi.
Novo Concertante Manila is a chamber choir from Quezon City, Philippines. It was originally formed as a recital choir, and it continues to reinvent itself to be “a choir with a purpose.” The choir received the “Ani ng Dangal” award four times from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts in recognition of Novo’s achievements in international choral competitions. View their full profile.
Maestro Lester Demetillo is one of the Philippines' leading classical guitar performers and teachers. He is the founder of the University of the Philippines Guitar Orchestra. Maestro Demetillo has been on the faculty of the University of the Philippines College of Music since 1980. View his profile.
Blue Igal is Ateneo's newest performing arts group. Their inaugural performance will be at the Pesta Igal 2023.
Dr. MCM Santamaria is Professor and the Assistant to the Dean for Cultural Affairs at the UP Asian Center. He obtained his Doctor of Law in Political Science in Kyoto University. He handles courses in Asian Studies and Philippine Studies at the UP Asian Center. View his full profile.


The event is organized by the UP Asian Center, Areté, and Tanghalang Ateneo.
For inquiries, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


The UP Asian Center offers M.A. degrees in Asian Studies with four fields of specialization: Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and West Asia. The Center also has an M.A. program in Philippine Studies that allows students to major in Philippine society and culture, Philippine foreign relations, or Philippine development studies. The Center offers a Ph.D. program in Philippine Studies in conjunction with the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy. For an overview of these graduate programs, click here. The Asian Center also publishes Asian Studies: Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia, the latest issue of which can be downloaded at the journal's website. For other news and upcoming events at the Asian Center, click here.