The dancing prisoners of the Philippines
The dancing prisoners of
the Filipino prison Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center,
are a Youtube hit.
By Madonna T. Virola, Cebu City, Central
A thousand men and women in orange prison suits
dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” was unforgettable. By last count,
the video of inmates from Cebu’s high security prison in the Philippines
had been watched on YouTube 45 million times. But it’s not just dancing
– it’s rehabilitation. According to the prison, the prisoners have shown
remarkable changes in behavior since dancing has been used as therapy.
Practicing steps in unison, inmates from the Cebu
Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center are preparing for the
last Saturday of the month show, which international and local guests
flock to see.
The prison houses inmates are convicted of serious
crimes such as rape, murder and drug trafficking. Inmate Romeo is
leading the class and believes dance has positive impacts on the lives
of his fellow inmates. “Before coming to jail, I had all the vices like
drugs. I lost these when I came to dance because it preoccupied my
mind,” he says.
With more than a thousand dancers, the Guinness World
of Records recognizes the prison’s dance class as the biggest in the
world. The concept was initiated by former prison director Byron Garcia,
who uploaded videos of the inmates dancing to Michael Jackson’s hits.
Vince Paras Rosales choreographed those first dance
moves. “Before the inmates here were angry at the world and a lot of
them were getting sick. So the governor created a rehabilitation program
which at first was just marching to the beat of a drum. Then it evolved
into a dance with pop music,” he explains.
Except for the elderly and the sick, all the inmates
rehearse daily – an hour in the morning and in the afternoon when the
weather is cooler.
Because of all that dancing, readers’ comments on
YouTube have alleged the inmates are being exploited and forced to
dance. But the inmates say they love the program.
One female prisoner says the world has embraced the
prison thanks to the videos. “Before we became popular from our dancing
nobody wanted to visit us. Outsiders used to see us as really bad
people. Now, they accept us more. A lot of people watch us dance,
interact with us and tell us how much they are touched, some of them
even cry, including foreigners,” she says.
Choreographer Vince Rosales, however, says it isn’t
always an easy job trying to get the inmates to dance. “During my first
week as choreographer, I cried and wanted to quit. The inmates were
rough, they showed me their tattoos and did not want to dance. I really
had to live with them to get their cooperation, but later on, the more
they became popular, the more they persevered and really took care of
their looks. Now they cut their hair, make sure they smell good and
clean up the compound for the guests,” says Rosales.
Algier Comendador, the current warden at the prison,
says the inmates who join the dancing classes are less likely to get
involved in conflict. “The inmates have become more disciplined. They
program really helps their rehabilitation,” he says. The program has
been so successful that other jails in the Philippines have adopted the
dance and music therapy. The Oriental Mindoro provincial jail, for
example, holds weekly Aero Tae-bo dance classes with popular songs.
Many Filipinos never imagined that they would be
proud of their country’s prisoners, but they are. Sophia Logman is a
college teacher in Southern Tagalog region and is among millions of
YouTube viewers of the dancing inmates.
“The dancing inmates are people we Filipinos can be
proud of. I hope that people will look at inmates from a different
light. Not just as criminals, but as people whose talents can be
developed and whose talents can help other people become better,” says
This article was first broadcast on Asia Calling, a
regional current affairs radio program produced by Indonesia’s
independent radio news agency KBR68H and broadcast in local languages in
10 countries across Asia. It is published in conjunction with the
Faculty of Mass Communications, Chiang Mai University. You can find more
stories from Asia Calling at www.asiacalling.org.
Europe stage remarkable Royal fightback
The European players celebrate
with the Royal Trophy after their incredible fight back in Hua Hin last
weekend. (Photo/Entertainment and Sports Co., Ltd./Royal Trophy)
Colin Montgomerie hailed his team’s
incredible Royal Trophy triumph as “one of the greatest days in the history
of European golf”.
The Europeans staged an amazing fight-back last Sunday at
the Black Mountain course in Hua Hin after going into the singles trailing
6-2, winning the session seven-one without losing a single match.
That earned them a highly unlikely 9-7 victory, and
Montgomerie admitted he had rarely witnessed such drama on the golf course.
He explained: “We all said it was a glorious achievement
to win five-and-a-half points out of six on the Sunday of the last Ryder
“And quite rightly, because it was a remarkable
performance, and it showed that you should never count a European team out
in any situation.
“But this comeback ranks right up there alongside that as
one of the greatest days in the history of European golf, especially when
you consider that we were routed 4-0 in the four-balls 24 hours earlier.
Asian Captain Joe Ozaki was almost lost for words as
Asia’s commanding advantage slipped away under a tidal wave of European
birdies, and several of his players had to fight back tears.
Captain Ozaki commented: “I expected the European team to
come back hard at us, and it was never going to be easy to get the points we
“As captain and as a Japanese man I have to take full
responsibility for this defeat. I never thought it would be an easy win
today – I realise how hard it is to win any match play event. Anything can
happen, and it did not go our way.”
It was left to Spaniard Pablo Martin to clinch victory
for Europe, courtesy of a shot that would have done justice to the Royal
Trophy’s founder, Seve Ballesteros.
His second shot had rebounded from a hospitality tent,
but he executed his delicate chip over a bunker perfectly. It finished 18
inches from the hole, and he tapped it in for the birdie that gave him a one
up win over Jeev Milkha Singh, taking Europe to the victory target of eight-and-a-half
Gymkhana Juniors star bowls a hat trick
The first junior league match at Gymkhana
finally took place on 19th December, after months of extensive pitch
renovations. The U-16 sides, Gymkhana Juniors and Sahakornsong School were
the first to play on the brand new artificial pitch, and the game did not
Chanchai Bengkamta – the
hat trick bowler.
Gymkhana Juniors were put into bat and struggled to hit
the ball off the square, and their cause wasn’t helped by 4 run outs in the
innings. Sahakornsong’s Pepsi ( Bongpat Banyara) and Nite ( Songrat Kowsooai)
kept the runs to a minimum, but too many wides from the other bowlers
enabled Gymkhana Juniors to reach a defendable total of 62-8 from their
allotted 15 overs.
In reply Sahakornsong’s opening batsman Pit ( Pongpeepat
Ingow) smashed 11 runs from the first over, but Gymkhana Juniors response
was a positive one. They bowled a good line and length and Captain Sufi soon
got his reward by removing the dangerous Pit.
Batting at three, Thai international ladies player Nan (Jutamat
Tamasee) hit a fine cover drive from her first ball faced, only to be then
run out from some sharp fielding.
Player of the match, Chanchai (Chanchai Bengkamta) who
was on the receiving end of the first over, then took a hat-trick, never
seen before in the junior leagues, to leave Sahakornsong floundering on 14
runs for 6 wickets.
Captain Formot (Artit Supamoon) tried valiantly to
resurrect the innings with the tail enders. He faced 47 balls for only 11
runs but still managed to steer his team to the brink of victory. Needing
only 12 runs from 3 overs the crowd sensed an unlikely comeback, but
Gymkhana Junior captain Sufi clean bowled Formot, and he went down with the
ship with Sahakornsong finishing on 55 runs. Gymkhana Juniors recorded their
first victory of the season and the title is now wide open.
For junior league tables and latest news check our website
CPP bowlers dominate
in U-19 league
Chow Kow take on CCP at the 3G
Oval on December 11, 2010.
League leaders Chol Phrathan Phataek once
again came up against their close rivals Chow Kow in an encounter at the 3G
Oval on 11th December.
In junior matches bowling often dominates proceedings, so
winning the toss is always an advantage. The coin flipped in CPP’s favour
and they naturally invited the opposition to post a score. Chow Kow’s top
order needed to keep wickets in hand to maximise their total, but wickets
fell at an alarming rate early on, through excellent bowling spells from
Seegame (Surasak Wanarit) and Ga (Kitanoo Serger). Four of the top five
batsmen fell before reaching double figures, only Chow Kow’s captain
Bonchooai Baeshaegoo put up any resistance with a hard fought 17 runs.
Any hope of a respectable total was dashed when their big
hitter Mike was bowled for a duck. Spinner Jai mopped up the lower middle
order with figures of 3 overs, 3 wickets for 11 runs. The disciplined
bowling performance saw Chow Kow limp to 67 all out in the 19th over.
Chow Kow’s fine bowling attack needed to take early
wickets, but although runs came very slowly, CPP’s batsmen held firm as they
knew victory would be easy if they could avoid a batting collapse.
A flicker of hope for Chow Kow happened on the last ball
before the drinks interval, taking a wicket leaving CPP on 33-3. However man
of the match Ga hit an unbeaten 26 runs to guide CPP to a comfortable win in
the 13th over. CPP won by 7 wickets.
The winners have won their first 3 matches and top the
U-19 league table, and with 3 more games remaining for them, look favourites
to be champions.
Chiang Mai FC win penalty
shoot-out to take third place
Chiang Mai ‘Lanna Tigers’ FC signed off the 2010 season
with a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over last season’s main rivals
Chainart FC at the Supachalaisai Stadium in Bangkok on December 29 to secure
third place in the Champions League playoffs.
By finishing second in a the A and B groups, both teams
had automatically qualified for promotion to the Division 1 this year, but
there was still a lot of pride at stake as the two rivals faced off in the
Chainart opened the scoring in the 41st
minute of the match through Sadayu Huangyart but the ‘Lanna Tigers’
equalized just before half time when Panuwat Art-in headed in a cross from
Chanatpol Likhamontol to send the teams in level at the break.
Art-in was on the score-sheet again for Chiang Mai in the
65th minute with another
unstoppable header but Chainart bounced straight back and drew level at 2-2
in the 73rd minute when
Thanongsak Promda headed in a corner past Meesatham in the Chiang Mai goal.
The scoring wasn’t finished yet however and in an end to
end second half it was the ‘Tigers’ who retook the lead again with just five
minutes to go. Panuwat’s fierce shot was only partially saved by the
Chainart keeper and the ball bounced kindly into the path of the onrushing
Wasuwat Laktharn who made no mistake from inside the area.
With the seconds ticking down and the game deep into
injury time there was still more drama to come as Kakkim Yungjae’s shot was
deflected off a Chiang Mai defender past the despairing dive of Meesatham to
once again tie the scores up at 3-3.
After such an entertaining match it was only fitting that
a dramatic penalty shoot-out should decide the winner with both teams being
successful with their first eight kicks. Chiang Mai then scored from their
ninth successive penalty kick before Sadayu of Chainart FC fired his shot
wildly over the bar to hand victory to the ‘Tigers’.
In the other playoff match for first place, Buriram FC
defeated FC Phuket 1-0 to claim the top honours. All four teams will face
each other in the 2011 Division 1 league season.
Mae Ai football tourney still going strong in its eighth year
The Mae Ai Samlong Joy 3 team
looking resplendent in their new football kit pose
for a photo with Frenchman Alain David, standing far right.
Mae Ai residents organize a yearly
football competition, with 9 teams from Mae Ai and Fang taking part this
year in this 8th annual
tournament. Pairat Sakrew is one of the leading organizers of the
competition that takes place in the second week of January at the San
Tonpueng Tambon Administrative Organization pitch.
This year, regular French visitor to Chiang Mai, Alain
David, sponsored the Mae Ai Samlong Joy 3 team, providing 19 sets of kit,
with jerseys, shorts and socks for the 18 team members, plus one number 50
for himself, as he celebrates his 50th
birthday this year.
The tournament matches take place all week long, with the finals taking
place on the weekend of the 15th
and 16th of January.