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Rehabilitation Activity Through Music and Dance: Philippines Thriller

cebu thriller.jpgIf you’re a Filipino, you might have watched in amusement , This Youtube video of 1,500+ Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) inmates dancing to Thriller . When I asked my daughter if she’d seen it , her reply was “It’s so Pinoy”. Lorna, my sister thinks “Only in the Philippines” (read her entry ““Thriller!” – How Cebu’s CPDRC Inmates Rocked the World With An Awesome Rehabilitation Activity ). I am not surprised at this [tag]Thriller dance routine[/tag]. Maybe it’s Cebuano thing but I remember my parents always danced after dinner and we would dance along with them as well. Singing , Music and dance formed a huge part of my upbringing. I miss it so bad. Anyway, I digress.

The video reached more than a 2,300,000 views since uploaded by Byron Garcia ( Consultant on Security of the Cebu Provincial Government) on July 17, 2007 (originally uploaded last April) It’s so popular that ABC News picked up the story called Filipino Inmates do Thriller, Radio Gaga. The news covered reactions from Filipino-Americans as well as American counterparts in the criminal justice. One comment caught my eye:

Along with the security risk, Edward Latessa, professor and head of division of criminal justice at the University of Cincinnati, told that the prisoners are not being rehabilitated.

“I suppose the inmates have some fun,” said Latessa, who cited several examples of similar programs that have been attempted, and for the most part abandoned, by American prison officials. “But there’s always a concern when you have programs like that and you’re offering them as rehabilitation programs. The people that are participating think they’re getting something out of it, but they’re not.”

“That’s a potentially harmful effect,” he added.

Oh goodness gracious. What an uptight statement. These [tag]Cebu Jail[/tag] inmates are bored sitting in their lonely cells. Dancing is a positive and uplifting activity. True, it’s a unusual activity for a prison environment. If you just knew the Cebu Jail history like my sister posted in her blog, then you will appreciate this dance routine exercise. Not only do the inmates benefit form the physical workout but the release of endorphins from the exercises cause euphoria. They can use all the euphoria they can get.

One reader of this ABC News points out that this type of activity teaches discipline and working together (among other things), which are things that prisoners are usually lacking. And keep in mind – the vast majority of prisoners will be released. Only a small percentage are serving life (without parole) sentences. This means that these prisoners will be reintegrated into society, and anything that can be done to help them be more disciplined is a good thing.

Byron further explains that

Security must be approached not only physically but also from the cultural and behavioral context.

Inmates at the CPDRC are required to go through a workout regimen. While the goal is to keep the body fit in order to keep the mind fit, such may not actually happen if it is not done in a manner deemed pleasurable. Music, being the language of the soul, is added to that regimen.

Source: Speak out: The CPDRC experience or view YouTube Video of CPDRC concepts.

Just put yourself in the place of the prisoner. You would grab this chance to be out of your cell and participate in this fun-filled acitivty. So chill. Let’s not get too technical or scientific. Just enjoy and start dancing, right?

Kudos to Architect Vince Rosales, the choreograper, the (CPDRC) inmates, Security Consultant Byron Garcia for an enlightening video. You make us proud to be pinoy!

Click here to watch the Thriller Video.

Also view Jessica Soho’s video response Dancing Inmates in the Philippines and Byron Garcia’s uploads of other dance routines by the Cebu Jail Inmates

Other blog entries– [tag]Cebu Inmates Dance to Thriller [/tag]
““Thriller!” – How Cebu’s CPDRC Inmates Rocked the World With An Awesome Rehabilitation Activity by Lorna Lardizabal-Dietz

Pinoy Inmates Rock to ““Thriller” by Jane

Only in the Philippines: 1500 Inmates Dance to ““Thriller” by Rico

News Report
Philippine jailhouse rocks to Thriller
Jailhouse rock: Philippine inmates groove on the Web

16 thoughts on “Rehabilitation Activity Through Music and Dance: Philippines Thriller”

  1. Hi Noemi. This is the first time I’ve seen this.

    You have a good point. A little recreational effort like this brings inmates much needed time to relax and have fun. Everyone needs a little time off after all.

  2. Pingback: Pinoy Inmates Rock to “Thriller” « Here’s to Life!

  3. I saw this on the news and went online right away to watch it. Galing!! You know, those stiff necks who were complaining probably didn’t know what the heck they were talking about. I mean, hello, is this discipline or what? Besides, who ever said that wielding the rod had to be boring. This is the way to go, if you ask me 🙂

  4. @lemon- it’s so second nature to us pinoys

    @kong- haaay look at how much they are enjoying themselves. This has been their normal routine the past months.

    @chateau- i keep looking at the video when I take a break from work

  5. Grabe naman yang comments na yan about risks etc.

    It’s exercise & it’s supposed to be fun. The only way this dance routine can be harmful is if they’re flogging the people with two-left feet!

  6. Hi Noemi, if they only knew what it’s like to be in prison esp. in our country, a little dancing wouldn’t do any harm, instead it brings cheer to sad, lonely faces inside the prison bars. I’ve visited Manila prisons for years for our church outreach pojects and I deeply sympathize with their current situation esp. the ones who got there (the innocent ones)bec. they can’t hire a good lawyer.

  7. Someone forwarded this to me and I watched with amusement with my husband. And then the next day, it was on the local news (Washington DC channel). They said : “apparently Michael Jackson is still popular in other parts of the world”. LOL

    I think it is a good use fo their time too. 😉

  8. i saw the dancing inmates yesterday, our class went there, it was fun, and yes i have no dissenting opinions on this. those people should also be given the chance to make fun, exercise and physical fitness will make their mind physically and mentally fit, that is why the purpose really is to rehabilitate them and taught them the right way to discipline their selves. the fact that i saw them personally, i saw those people enjoying the dance, they are even counting in every step of their dance, their not harmless, not because they are convicted or suspected of the crime, their already harmful.. no its not.. i have pictorials with them and with some of the visitors on that day… you people!!! who commented the CPDRC offensively to others…. you better see them,… so you’ll feel and experience the beauty of their dance with all their joys and active participation in their activity………..

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