Diaspora News

We are Back

Members of the Philippine-based Junior New System (JNS) dance crew pose with fans in front of a community center in Eagle Rock, Los Angeles after performing for elderly Filipino Americans on Wednesday (July 5, 2017). Photo © Abner Galino

THE popular 11-man Philippine dance crew bearing a storied past that could be traced back from a poor neighborhood in Sampaloc, Manila is back to further their skills in Los Angeles.

Last year, the dance crew was hailed here as the “Grand champion performer of the world” during the annual World Championships of the Performing Arts (WCOPA) in Long Beach.

No longer dirt poor and now seen as mini-celebrities in their God-forsaken neighborhood, the members of the Junior New System are set to linger in Hollywood for a month or so to train at the Millennium Dance Company, a dance studio known for it’s A-list clientele.

Gerry Mercado, national director of WCOPA-Philippine team, said the opportunity was part of the prize package that JNS won last year.

They will be trained as dance instructors and that would give them more opportunities to earn a living back home,” Mercado said.

JNS performs in various shows and corporate events in the Philippines at least four times each week.

While praising the success of JNS, Mercado pointed out that winning at the WCOPA is not a guaranteed path to fame and fortune.

Success is not a destination, it is a journey,” Mercado said, adding that artists need to keep on working on their respective crafts and to take the right paths for their careers as they move on.

What WCOPA can obviously guarantee, Mercado added, was the opportunity to compete and perform in an international stage.

The opportunity to come to the US and perform, Mercado said, was huge for these kids — many of whom came from small towns in provinces.

That by itself is a dream come true for some of them,” he added.

But before the kids even get on board the team, Mercado intimated, they were already taught to tame their expectations, adding that he didn’t want the kids to come home with their spirits and hearts broken.

So far, the most prominent Filipino celebrity who previously won in the WCOPA was Jed Madela. The incredibly talented singer has been accompanying the Philippine team without fail since winning as “grand champion performer of the world” in 2005.

During the “Philippine night” at WCOPA last Wednesday (July 5) at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, Madela performed with the JNS and other selected competitors.

Despite the absence of support from Philippine agencies here in Los Angeles, the “More Fun in the Philippines” promotional video was continuously played during the Philippine show that was watched by competitors from 50 countries.

Abner Galino
The author is a poet and a writer. He was a cultural worker before he became a reporter for Tinig ng Masa and Malaya Midday Edition during the Marcos regime. He later became a reporter of People's Tonight shortly after 1986 EDSA Revolution. He went on to become its Chief of Reporters, City Editor and News Editor. He retired after 15 years in the Journal Group of Publications. He now writes for Weekend Balita and the US Asian Post (USAP), weekly Filipino-American newspapers based in Los Angeles, California.

One Reply to “We are Back

  1. Thank you very much to the author, Mr. Abner Galino. WCOPA has given us the opportunity to promote the Philiippines and how beautiful and talented the Filipino are to over 50 countries every year. WCOPA has become a venue where Filipinos from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao gets to showcase their talents to over 50 different nations thereby earning the respect. Some millennials from other countries does not even know where the Philippines is. By God’s grace and mercy, WCOPA Team Philippines has been successful in this cause as every year, as those who have personally witnessed the event see and hear how other countries praise and admire the Filipino Artists who participated in WCOPA. Again, thank you Mr. Galino and I hope that you can grace and again witness this rare event in 2018.

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