Their hearts are in the right places
- May R. Anover () - July 2, 2006 - 12:00am
When Filipinos hear "head throws" and "high kicks," only one name comes to mind: The Aldeguer Sisters.

The dancing duo of Terri and Lally Aldeguer dominated Pinoy public consciousness so much during the martial law years with their inimitable dance floor moves that to this day, high drama terpsichorean choreographies are still associated with them.

How could anyone from that era escape The Aldeguer Sisters? They danced everywhere and for everyone; from people belonging to royalty to those living in poverty.

Terri and Lally even had their own TV shows and were favorites in beauty contests and corporate shows. Why, fellow celebrities and society’s who’s who lined up to have dance lessons with them. The Aldeguer Sisters were the ultimate raketistas and lagaristas in flamboyant regalia.

In local pop culture, the siblings added to the popularity of every song they danced to, most notably Love Thame and It’s Raining Men. Hallelujah. Years ago, The Aldeguer Sisters migrated to the US, not to hang up their dancing shoes, but to dance, dance, dance some more.

In the suburbs of West Covina, Los Angeles, they set up the Aldeguer Sisters Performing Arts Center (ASPAC), a school of dance and drama. Five years strong, it not only has Filipino-American students but Americans, Hispanics, African Americans and Latinos. Some of them would even drive two hours just to attend their classes there come hell or high water.

No surprise there, considering that The Aldeguer Sisters not only teach dance to these kids. They also impart lessons about life, like how to be the best they can be.

It’s common to hear parents whose children are enrolled in ASPAC say that their kids used to be shy.

The parents would even ask ASPAC authorities, "How’d you turn them from being introvert to extrovert?"

These compliments ultimately redound to the Aldeguers’ Filipino sensibilities. The Aldeguer Sisters, they say, do not even have to advertise their studio to attract people. Other nationalities with Fil-Am friends who know the sisters get automatically curious every time our kababayan recognize the sisters and ask for autographs and pictures.

"Who are they? Are they celebrities in your country?" they ask. Our kababayan would look at the person asking the question as if he crawled out from under a rock.

"Enroll your kids in their school and they’d learn how to do high kicks and head throws," our kababayan would often reply with pride.

Two Aldeguer protégés, the Banares Brothers EJ and Brendon have a strong sense of charity. Now spending their summer vacation in the Philippines, the young singing duo are mounting Pusong Pinoy USA. The fund-raising project will benefit the most needy Filipino kids, most of them are physically challenged.

According to Terri who’s helping mount it, the boys "have their hearts in the right places."

"Some Filipinos, especially those in the US, who seem to have turned their backs on their roots, could learn from these boys," says Terri. "Even at their young age, they already are making a difference in Filipinos’ lives. They have all the comforts in the US yet they are not insensitive to the plight of others."

Terri says the idea came from the Banares Brothers themselves. The two, in previous summers here, took note of the street kids they saw en route to the best places in Manila. Used to performing abroad with big stars like Nora Aunor, The Hitmakers, Joey Albert, EJ and Brendon broached the concept to the Aldeguer Sisters.

Terri and Lally readily gave their thumbs up. Terri is now in the country and talking to key government organizations to flesh out the boys’ noble pursuit. She, too, will be taking the boys to areas where the poorest of the poor are to find out who will become the beneficiaries or "donees" of Pusong Pinoy USA.

"They have found purpose in their lives," says Terri. "What is talent if you can’t use it for others in one way or the other? While others just entertain, these two will show needy people there are still those who care."

EJ and Brendon sing like angels. Their ASCAP training has honed their skills well. One of their most requested songs is Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion’s The Prayer. Just to hear 14 year old EJ sing Dion’s part in his clear tenor would be a treat, indeed, if they include it in the repertoire.

Aside from the benefit show the Banares brothers will mount locally on July 28, there is the release of their self-produced album, Aking Inay.

Part of sales of the CDs will go to Pusong Pinoy USA.

Aking Inay
contains four revivals (When You Tell Me That You Love Me, Mack The Knife, One Day In Your Life and Bridges) and four originals by award-winning songwriter Jimmy Borja (who penned Lani Misalucha’s Ang Iibigin Ay Ikaw and Ariel Rivera’s Sana Ngayong Pasko, among others) also based in the US now.

Terri and Lally, meanwhile, are studying the feasibility of establishing a school of dance in Manila.

"Though dancing has been around in media, it still is not getting the same prestige like singing does," says Terri. "In the US, it’s different because kids there are into hip-hop and street dancing. Maybe we could develop dancers here, too."

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