Smokey Mountain dancers push through with California shows despite being robbed

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Oct. 30, 2013

LOS ANGELES – The show must go on. Despite a bit of bad luck in Northern California, performers from the nonprofit group, The Children of Mother Earth, continued with their California Tour.

The young performers, who hail from Smokey Mountain, a large landfill in Tondo, Philippines, were in the U.S. to showcase the Philippines’ cultural dances.

“We really enjoyed being here. Of course, we’re still sad about losing our belongings. But we really appreciated the community for coming to our performances. In all of our shows, they gave us standing ovations,” Aluna Villacorta, one of the performers said.

The group was being treated to a shopping spree by some community leaders when their tour bus was broken into. They ended up losing laptops, cellphones and iPads that they borrowed from friends back in the Philippines. They also lost their passports.

The Philippine Consulate in San Francisco came to their aid, giving them travel documents so they can travel back to the Philippines.

The young performers were born and raised in Smokey Mountain. For the community, it was a chance to be inspired by their tenacity to succeed in life. It was also an opportunity to see the beauty of Philippine culture through their performances.

“We’re happy to have them here and help them with their advocacy. It’s a noble, very important advocacy,” Perla Reyes of Mother Movement said.

Fred Capinpin of US-Fil Makibahagi added, “Their advocacy is about saving planet earth but we are also very much concerned in helping them provide scholarships to children from the Smokey Mountain.”

The Children of Mother Earth (Mga Anak ni Inang Daigdig) Foundation engages in environmental projects like cleaning up Manila Bay and planting trees in the Marikina Watershed.

You may contact Steve Angeles at steve_angeles@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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