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Vol. XXVI, 2nd Quarter
April–June 2008

Science community glows during SinAg night

Gabi ng SinAgThe country’s science community momentarily switched off its customary staid trait for a few enchanting hours on a night of music and dance last June 9 at the cavernous University of the Philippines Theater in Quezon City. 

Cells and atoms effortlessly made way to notes and beats, while the laws of Physics took form in rhythm and body movements. Chemistry describes the splendid blending of melodies and voices.

“This is a rare chance of fusing arts (“sining”) and science (“agham),” says Dr. Jaime C. Montoya, overall chair of the Department of Science and Technology’s golden jubilee celebration.  The cheerful mix of arts and science is DOST’s tribute to the men and women who diligently set in place the country’s S&T development program since 1958.

Dubbed “Gabi ng Ginintuang SinAg,” the special night traced and expressed DOST’s development history through performances of Ms. Pilita Corrales, Asia’s Queen of Songs along with the UP Symphonic Band, La Salle’s Kundirana, Ateneo Glee Club, UP Alumni Opera Band, UP Intertwine Voices, and the UP Jazz Orchestra.

Prof. Ramon Acoymo, dean of the UP College of Music and musical director of Kundirana, was both master of ceremonies and performer. His spirited narration weaved seamlessly with the music, choreography, and instrumental numbers depicting social conditions as well as music and fads during each of the previous five decades.

The well-researched commentary took the audience on a journey to the past, when the then National Science and Development Board was created and assumed the colossal task to organize, lead, and direct the science and technology sector with a vision to usher the country to modern times.

This momentous development was depicted through the immortal “Sa Mahal Kong Bayan” by UP Professor of Composition and National Artist for Music Lucio San Pedro. The heady days of the young agency was portrayed in “This is the Moment/Ngayon.”

Meanwhile, “Lagi Kitang Naa-alala” paid tribute to the personalities that played key roles during DOST’s formative years.

The second part of the musicale presented the colorful ‘60s when the clothing and fabric industries were among the R&D priorities of DOST, and the decade’s up-and-coming generation wrestled with the challenges of nation-building. Performances include the “Medley of Dance Tunes from the 1960s,” “Bahaghari [Rainbow],” “What a Wonderful World,” and “Next in Line.”

The third installment featured “Tschaikowsky’s 1812 overture,” an allusion to the turbulent ‘70s that eventually led to a daybreak of hope. The songs “Manila,” “The Light of a Million Mornings,” “Stardust,” and “Kapantay ay Langit” amplified the mood of the era.  It paid tribute to PAGASA, the country’s meteorological agency that was attached to DOST during the period.

Part four depicted the spirited ‘80s through the disco ditty “Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch.” The expansion of DOST’s services into the regions and provinces was illustrated by the songs “Waray-Waray,” “Rustic Dance,” and a “Medley of Philippine Regional Songs.”

The fifth segment called attention to the environmental challenges faced by the ‘90s through the songs “Kalikasan” and “Paraiso.” DOST’s expanded research programs were validated through the song “You Make Me Feel So Young,” illustrating the exuberance of creating new knowledge for different applications.

The sixth and last part shows DOST embracing the new millennium accentuated by the techno-pop “Let the Joy Rise.” In a fitting finale, Ms. Pilita Corrales crooned “A Million Thanks to You” in peerless grace what the rest of the nation might have wanted to say all along to all of DOST’s past, present, and future leaders and workers. The night’s crescendo moments wafted all the way to the rousing “Sana’y Wala Nang Wakas”, which all the night’s exceptional performers triumphantly sang as a prayer for DOST to make science work in the life of the Filipino nation.

The crowd broke into a long, appreciative applause as the massive theater curtains went down.  The mood was electric.  It’s as if the science community wasn’t about to let go of a precious discovery.

It was dim outside the UP Theater.  But it was clear and easily discernible whose night it was.