Art-For-Art’s-Sake Theatre: Paruparong Bukid
Time once again for (an unusual twist on) our usual midday Wednesday feature.
Today is "Sal's" birthday. It's a special one this time, because it's divisible by five or ten. Other than that, I cannot disclose her age, but everyone says she looks ten years younger, and not just when I'm around. So this one's for her ...
Paruparong Bukid (Butterflies in the Field) is a humorous song comparing a butterfly to a Filipina dressed in her glamorous formal dress with tall butterfly sleeves, as she moves down the aisle of the church, swaying her hips as every one looks on. This recording in the first clip is performed by the Filipina singer and actress Nora Aunor.
Paru-parong bukid na lilipad-lipad
Sa tabi ng daan papaga-pagaspas
Isang bara ang tapis Isang dangkal ang manggas
Ang sayang de kola Isang piyesa ang sayad.
May payneta pa siya ... Uy!
May suklay pa mandin ... Uy!
Naguas de ojetes ang palalabasin
Haharap sa altar at mananalamin (mananalangin)1
At saka lalakad nang pakendeng-kendeng
The song is a popular staple of collegiate glee clubs, both in the Philippines and in the United States. In those settings, especially in the States, they tend to be embellished somewhat, often by starting out with a "paru-paru" sound, as if to emulate the butterfly's fluttering about. One of the most popular recordings on YouTube is by the Northwest Missouri State University Madraliers, as recently performed at the Liberty United Methodist Church in Kansas City, Missouri. By now, I'll bet you're curious as to what it means in English.
A butterfly from the fields; flitting and floating by;
waiting by the main trail, fluttering in the air.
Sari wrapped around her, sleeves as wide as my palm,
Skirt’s a trifle oversized,2 ends dragging on the ground.
Hair held with a fancy pin. Oh!
Her hand twirling a comb. Oh!
Decorated half-slip, drawing others to peep.
She would face the altar, ogling her own image,
She would come and tease us, hips swaying like a duck.
"Swaying like a duck." Now fellas, THAT'S how you talk to a girl.
This third clip is an example of the folk dance associated with the song. It's cut off in a few places, but the others available were all little kids, so what can I say? Notice in this case, that the dresses are not the formal variety referred to earlier, but are known as the "Maria Clara" style more common to the provinces. I rather prefer them myself.
I also prefer when Sal performs this dance for me herself, which is really quite entertaining. She is that, and so much more. Happy birthday to my best friend. Mahal kita!
1 The term "mananalamin" appears in most versions, meaning "to gaze in the mirror." Some versions, however, apply the context of the reference to an altar, thus using "mananalangin," meaning "to pray."
2 Also translated as "shaped like a grand piano." Don't ask me why.