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ANN ARBOR — A recent fund-raising dinner event dubbed “Philippine Pig Roast” raised money for the benefit of needy residents of Dumaguete City and several towns in the Philippines.

The Philippine Mission Team (PMT) of the First Presbyterian Church in Ann Arbor hosted the annual event on Oct. 25, 2014 with more than 150 members of the Ann Arbor and neighboring communities in attendance.

This year’s “Philippine Pig Roast” was highlighted by the debut performance of the newly formed rondalla, kulintang and folk dance groups of the Philippine Culture and Arts Ensemble of Michigan (PACE-MI).

The rondalla group played Philippine folk songs such as Magtanim Ay Di Biro, Bahay Kubo, Leron Leron Sinta/Pamulinawen medley, and Elvis Presley’s Wooden Heart with the guests participating in the singing.  The dance troupe performed “Kzaduratan” (scarf dance) to the beat of kulintang music, and Daling Daling.  The kulintang ensemble also played Binalig, a kulintang music.  Elizabeth Weil, soprano and member of the PMT and PACE-MI, sang Gaano Kita Kamahal and Usahay. 

The PACE-MI performance was followed by the mission work presentation led by Hank McQueen, this year’s PMT leader.

The projects presented were on home building, donation of school books and supplies, dental clinic, scholarships, fabric/sewing, Talay project and prison ministry. 

PMT, established in 1999 to assist the Habitat for Humanity of former US President Jimmy Carter, supports projects that serve to develop relationships, promote self-sufficiency and meet the needs of less fortunate residents of Dumaguete City.

Since 1999, PMT has conducted its mission every two or three years in Dumaguete and has built Habitat community homes, daycare centers, dental clinics and community centers.

PMT has also sponsored scholarships for more than 90 high school and college students.  It has worked over the years with Habitat for Humanity, Silliman University and Silliman church, as its major partners.  “Every time we visit Dumaguete, we are blessed by the fellowship and work we share with the community.  We do not work without their involvement side by side.  We meet old friends, make new friends and faithfully serve our God in a meaningful way,” said Mr. McQueen as he described the spiritual impact of the mission.

PACE-MI is a cultural organization based in Ann Arbor whose mission is to provide community-based programs and resources on Philippine arts and culture.

The main focus is on learning and teaching Philippine arts and culture using string and gong instruments that accompany Philippine folk dances and songs.

PACE-MI has three executive directors with expertise in kulintang, rondalla and folk dance.  The formation of the new rondalla group was directly inspired by Michael Dadap, classical guitarist and conductor/music director of the Children’s Orchestra Society in New York, and his former student Dr. Christi-Anne Castro, associate professor of ethnomusicology and director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) at the University of Michigan. Castro serves as the main rondalla instructor for PACE-MI.