Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Neriza Sarmiento Saito


September-October 2013

At the crossroad of life, there are facts to accept, decisions to make but some matters to leave to the Divine Creator to decide. People who have to go through this phase in life are admirable and can actually inspire others. One such person is Ms. VICKY WAKIYAMA, founder, director and choreographer of the Philippine Dance Company in Osaka.

Vicky was diagnosed with a tumor in the brain and underwent an operation in the beginning of the year. Her strong faith kept her spirit high by sending passages from the bible to friends. Before her birthday in July, her condition deteriorated and suffered a mild stroke that paralysed her left arm. The doctors have given up hopes and asked her family if they would like to take chances and have another operation on July 30. On July 15, with some friends, we visited her at home together with Ms. Kay Yamaguchi, a member of the PDC. Although frail and unable to eat, Vicky was happily joking with us and showed us an old DVD of her wedding day.

From time to time, she said that "Kinukuha na ako ni Lord at lahat ng mga paghihirap na dinaranas ko ay para kay Lord dahil ibinigay niya sa akin ito at dahil alam ni Lord na kaya ko!" We were visibly touched with her words but clearly dismayed that the once vibrant and vivacious Vicky is now frail, weak and thinner. Members of her dance company like Khay Yamaguchi were visiting her on a daily basis and her sister, Beni, came from the Philippines to assist her.

On July 28, she invited us to her 50th year birthday in the prayer meeting of the ELIM group in Kadoma City. With PCCC chairperson Joy Yoshitomi, DOT Administrative Officer Ms. Lorelei Cruz, Filipino Community members like Ms. Sally Yamamoto, Ms. Susan Fuchizaki, Ms. Beth Kan, Ms. Luz Teranishi, Ms. Robert, Vicky was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation for promoting Philippine culture through Folk Dances.
Vicky was born in Bohol, graduated from the Southwestern University in Cebu and taught  dance at the San Andres Bonifacio College in Dipolog Zamboanga del Norte. She met the man of her dreams, Hiroyuki, got married in a beautiful ceremony and started to live in Ikeda City where their two children were born.
In 1995, she founded the Philippine Dance Company and their maiden performance was during the visit of former President Fidel V. Ramos at the APEC summit. Most of the members were Filipinas married to Japanese. Eventually, the members increased as years went by. Even Vicky's own children, Hannah and Naomi, became regular performers. The group has performed at various national and local events mainly through the Department of Tourism Osaka's participation at the Midosuji Parade, Sakai City Festival and promotion events at KIX and INTEX Osaka and many more as far as Kyushu and Hokkaido including schools around Kansai.
Vicky also choreographed the dance sequences of major Filcom and PCCC productions like "Ang Kasaysayan ng Pilipinas" in 1998, The Ginang Kalayaan Pageant and the musical "The Gaijin."
In March 2012, the PDC, organized a major charity event for calamity victims in the Philippines at Toyonaka International Center, where she has endeared herself to the members of TIFA like Kasai San, Ishizumi San and Mizutani San. Aside from dancing, Vicky shared her culinary talent at their World Cooking Project.

At the 10th Anniversary of the PCCC at the Hilton Osaka in December 2012, the undisputed queen of dances was the belle of the dance floor in a black and red outfit.

Be it ITIK-ITIK, the piquant dance from Surigao, with choppy steps and waddly walk, or the Leyte's famous TINIKLING, where dancers jump skilfully between two clashing bamboos, or SINGKIL one of the most exotic of the Royal dances from the Maranao tribe where a couple enters crisscrossed bamboo poles rhytmically clapped and ending in a frenzied finish, VICKY is a survivor. She is determined no matter what happens.
After her second operation, her family and friends could not believe what the        surgeons said,
"The tumor is gone.”
It was as simple as that! Be it a miracle or luck or fate, Vicky's strong faith in the people around her, in her family and above all, in the Lord, has helped her through! Vicky is on the move to pursue her dance for life!

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