Mayor in awe as Bailes de Luces wins WCOPA

La Castellana Mayor Alme Rhummyla Nicor-Mangilimutan (center) with the Bailes de Luces dancers.

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD CITY – Days after Bailes de Luces, the festival dance of La Castellana in Negros Occidental province, won the grand championship in the World Competition of Performing Arts, Mayor Alme Rhummyla Nicor Mangilimutan still couldn’t believe they made it.

“Actually daw indi gid ko mag pati nga kmi ma grand champion sa dance,” Mangilimutan said Tuesday as she celebrated her birthday.

Bailes de Luces, or “Dances of Lights,” was adjudged the senior grand champion in the Dance Group of the World category at the 2024 World Championship of Performing Arts held at the Westin Long Beach, California, in the United States.

Mangilimutan, who was with the Bailes de Luces contingent from the start of their journey to WCOPA, said it was not an easy quest.

First, they had to qualify for the WCOPA preliminaries to earn the right to represent the country. After they did, they followed through with the processing of their travel documents.

“It was not easy, and we thank God we made it,” she added.

Before she left with the delegation, she also had to contend with the recent eruption of Kanlaon volcano, which affected thousands in several barangays in the town.

Most of them have returned to their respective homes, and despite the threat of another eruption, Kanlaon volcano “seems to behave.”

“It is really a great honor and pride, not only for us delegates but for the people who trusted us and believe in our capacity to show off our talents and skills to the world,” the mayor enthusiastically said.

She further said, “It was a long dream of ours, and we finally attained it.”

“It goes to show that Bailes de Luces is world-class,” the mayor added.

“It’s an advance birthday gift,” she beamed.

Bailes de Luces Festival is an annual event in the town during the last week of December. The dancers use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in their performances and wear colorful and vibrant costumes.

Aside from Bailes de Luces, Andee de Silva from Lipa City, Batangas, also won as the 2024 Junior Grand Champion Female Model of the World.

Both are part of Team Philippines which competed in the WCOPA final showdown on July 5.

WCOPA is an international competition often cited as the official “Talent Olympics” for aspiring performers and entertainers, with selections for official contestants held in the USA, Canada, Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe, Asia, and South Africa.

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