With the largest Filipino population of any of state, the trials of tinikling are woven into the fabric of California childhood as surely as dodgeball. Tinikling, which we kids were taught to perform for parents' night, is an ankle crushing folk “dance” involving two long poles smashed together in rhythm. Things might have been different if we had been taught about Balagtasan. Named for Francisco Balagtas y de la Cruz, the Shakespeare of Tagalog, Balagtasan is a marathon public debate held in poetic verse. It was so popular before WWII, it was staged at the Olympic Stadium in Manila. During... More >>>