More than 360 people, including more than 100 East Texans, brought a taste of the Phillipines to AT&T Stadium in Arlington on the morning of January 18 to set a Guinness World Record.
The Filipino-American Association of East Texas coordinated efforts to set a record for the most people performing tinikling, a traditional Filipino dance, simultaneously.
People from East Texas and around the nation gathered to dance, and while Guinness required only 250 people to dance for at least five minutes, more than 360 people graced the turf at AT&T Stadium.
Tinikling involves two people beating, tapping and sliding bamboo poles on the ground, as two dancers gracefully step over and in between the poles.
Proceeds and donations from the event, which asked $25 from each participant and spectator, went to a proposed Children With Disabilities Center at the De La Salle Health Sciences Institute in Dasmariñas, Philippines.
Dr. Cecille Licuan, dean of the College of Rehabilitation Sciences at De La Salle, said the wish to build a center for children with disabilities started in 2011, when the school’s alumni decided to advocate for a good cause.
Ramona Santos, vice chancellor of academics at De La Salle, said that she suggested advocating for children with disabilities, because she is a rehabilitation medicine physician.
Dr. Licuan said out of 93 million households in the Philippines, about 2 percent have children with disabilities living in them, and 30 percent of those are age 21 and younger.
Because of poverty, “a significant majority (of children with disabilities) don’t receive the services they need — physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and also education …” she said. “Since we are an academic institution offering these health services, we wanted to raise funds so we can bring down the services to the community’s level for free.”
She said the Leyte province — where tinikling originated — was one of the areas most affected by Typhoon Haiyan. A part of the proceeds also are benefiting typhoon victims.
Ed Santos, an event organizer from Tyler, said the record-setting dance was inspired by an event put on in September 2012, where East Texans broke a world record in Tyler for most people making spring rolls, known as lumpia in the Philippines, simultaneously.
That event was put on to benefit Ross Sajo, a mother of three diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer.
“It was a team idea, to have something common among the 7,000 islands (of the Philippines),” he said. “This is the national bamboo dance.”
Santos said tinikling was a great way to raise funds, because most people of Filipino blood at least know of the dance, and people trust the money is going to a good place, also no government agencies are involved.
“This way, we know where the money is going and at the same time, we wanted to do it big, and (AT&T Stadium) is a big facility. Everything in Texas is big. … This is our way of giving back. We love the Philippines, but we make our living here, so this is a big deal.”