Going to jail is, regardless of the country, never fun. Between wardens forcing you to do their taxes for barely a bottle of suds, and the food, it’s got to be a horrible way to spend a few years of your life.
That said, some prisons certainly are better than others. For example, the dancing prisoners in the Philippines sure do seem a lot happier than if they were forced to do manual labor. And while a visit to a prison might not exactly be on the top of your average holiday to-do list, this is one jail you would want to go out of your way to get into! (At least for the show.)
Here’s RocketNews24 Japan‘s Sekai no Shogo with the report!
Cebu Island in the Philippines is famous for its resorts. But do you know about the famed (and strange) sightseeing spot that has recently risen in popularity? What am I talking about? The prison dancers, of course!
While I had assumed that only certain people would be able to check out the dancing, it turns out that I was dead wrong! Anyone can check it out! And it’s free!! So, of course, I had to go on the prison’s dance tour. I mean, who would want to miss this?
- Inquiring at the local jurisdiction management
Upon inquiring at “Cebu Capital,” the governmental agency in charge of the prison, I found out that the tours were held on the last Saturday of every month. I was told that we were to arrive in front of Cebu Capital at 1 pm on the day of the tour. But, like I said before, the tour was free! Even better—there was a complimentary shuttle bus for visitors to the prison! How generous they are! [Editor's note: At this point, we're starting to wonder if Shogo will be charged to get OUT of the prison...]
- The prisoners’ enthusiastic welcome at the jail
After taking the shuttle to the prison, we got out and were greeted by the prisoners. The inmates shook our hands so hard they felt like they might get ripped off. “Is this really a prison!?” I thought to myself. What was with the hospitality!? These guys and gals really knew how to welcome a “customer!”
- Dance starts at 3 pm
The performance started promptly at 3 pm. At first, the opening ceremony was carried out with solemnity, or so I thought. Suddenly, dance music blasted out of the speakers! And then the prisoners broke into dance. That was where they got truly serious and danced their hearts out.
- “Gangnam Style” rocked the house!
Out of the several dances they did, “Gangnam Style” was the best. The fellow playing the role of Psy showed us such an enthusiastic performance that it put the original to shame! The rest of the dancers also really helped make the performance stand out, shouting in unison. And the best parts of the song really hit the right notes. The entire place was wrapped up with excitement!
- Taking photos with the prison dancers after the performance
At 4 pm the performance ended. The moment the prisoners were finished, the audience jumped to their feet without thinking and gave a grand standing ovation. Then, quite suddenly, the audience dashed out to the dancers. For a moment, I thought there was going to be a riot, but it turned out that the audience was just taking commemorative photos. No one moved to stop them, and I realized that it was perfectly fine to get you photos taken and mingle with the prisoners.
- Be sure to make a reservation the day before!
The amazing things about this tour are that it’s open to anyone, it’s completely free, there’s no special background inspection, and it’s easy to sign up. But it’s also incredibly popular. So, if you really want to see it out, it’d be best to sign up the day before.
Check out dance videos and more photos below!!!
Report: Sekai no Shogo
▼Psy’s “Gangnam Style”
▼Justin Beiber’s “Baby”
▼Approaching the meeting spot in front of Cebu Capital
▼Do. Not. Lose. This.
▼Our chariot awaits!
▼You’ll need to show the guards this to get out. Be careful not to rub it off!
▼Souvenir store stocked with prison-made goods.
▼Entering the prison proper…
▼And here’s the “stage!”
▼This is the “convenience store.” Prisoners run to make purchases for the guards.
▼A few of the women dancers
▼Had to get a picture with the guys!
▼The lead dancer himself! Roel Uender!
▼Even the TV news wanted to meet them!
[ Read in Japanese ]