By Mark Francisco
A HIPHOP group based here has clinched a spot to the “World Supremacy Battlegrounds” this coming October in Melbourne, Australia.
The group has a big problem though––it does not have enough money to cover for the trip.
It all started when “Make It Natural” tried out for the Mindanao leg of the World Supremacy Battlegrounds eliminations in April 13 here.
Pitted against hiphop groups from as far as Kidapawan, Make It Natural members did their best when the competition was held at Liceo Civic Center.
“Wala man mi nag-expect g’yud nga makuha kay daghan man gihapon mga maayo from all over Mindanao. But we are confident, we believe in ourselves and we prayed to God,” group founder Mara Castro said during an interview over the weekend.
When the big announcement came that they are going to Melbourne, all the seven members of Make It Natural jumped with glee.
But the overwhelming joy was temporary.
Aside from preparing intensely to battle against their contemporaries from five other Asia Pacific countries, Make It Natural has to contend readying their travel documents and all the expenses along with it.
The journey between now and October would be an arduous one, admitted Castro.
That’s because Make It Natural is not the typical high school dance group whose members grow up in middle-class neighborhoods. Instead, it was formed from a grassroots-based hiphop workshop in 2012 where most of the participants were out-of-school youths.
“Naglisod g’yud mi sa karong panahona. Aside from the practices, we are still scouting for a financier,” Castro said.
Castro said each group member needs a total of P70 thousand for the five-day trip to Australia. That would cover roundtrip plane tickets, hotel and food accommodations, land transport in the city of Melbourne and miscellaneous and contingency expenses.
Still, hope floats.
This early, Make It Natural has been touring places around the northern part of Mindanao, raising funds for their Melbourne trip by performing in out-of-town shows.
They guested at a corporate event on Saturday at Limketkai rotunda where people in the audience donated cash while they performed. They will do a similar thing at the Mindanao State University (MSU) campus in Marawi City on May 15.
Local talents manager Gabby Bacarro recently accepted Make It Natural into his fold, hoping that the group could impress a few corporate sponsors that could help bankroll their trip.
Bacarro urged the group to focus more on enhancing their dancing skills rather than worrying about logistics.
Representing the Philippines to the World Supremacy Battlegrounds is not an easy task.
Make It Natural will be following the footsteps of INDK, an Ateneo de Manila University-based hiphop group that was the grandslam winner in 2013, beating dancers from New Zealand, Japan, Malaysia, Guam and even homecourt Australia.
“We’re just keeping our fingers crossed and we don’t disappoint. One thing is sure though––we will be executing the best we can,” Castro said.
Aside from Castro, Make It Natural is composed of Raynart Cabasas, Cyril Zuluaga, Harold Hatalan, Rheggie Lunio, Donald Filimeno and Kenneth Padera.