Circular Expo Valença 2019 - English
5th Exhibition of CAFIB's Fila Brasileiro in Valença
CAFIB – Clube de Aprimoramento do Fila Brasileiro (Enhancement Club of Fila Brasileiro) -, held on Saturday, September 14, held one more phase of its 2019 World Championship, having as stage the old Fazenda São José das Palmeiras, owned by Marília Barroso Pentagna, in the historical city of Valença, in Vale do Paraíba, south of the state of Rio de Janeiro.
The origin of this municipality dates back to 1803, when, in the main village of the Coroados Indians, a modest chapel was built dedicated to Our Lady of Glory. A few years later, by Royal Charter, the indigenous village was upgraded to the parish of Our Lady of Glory of Valença, in honor to the Viceroy of Brazil, Dom Fernando José de Portugal e Castro (1752 - 1817), descendant of nobles of the Spanish Valência city and belonging to “Casa de Valença” in Portugal. In 1823, the parish was raised to a village, which, in turn - due to the great economic growth resulting from coffee growing -, had, once again, its category updated in 1857, becoming a city. Valença, at the end of the imperial era, accounted for over 80% of all coffee produced in Brazil and, due to the intense need for slave labor to work in the coffee plantations, came to shelter one of the largest black populations in the country, then province of Rio de Janeiro, or maybe the entire national territory. It is estimated that, in 1888, farms there still accounted for about 25,000 slaves.
It is interesting to mention some curiosities and eccentricities of those farmers, at that golden age, called "Coffee Barons" of Baixada Fluminense (Rio de Janeiro Lowlands). In the midst of the woods, they built true palaces, extremely sumptuous and surrounded by whimsical gardens, almost always designed and executed by landscapers imported from France especially for this, such as the Secretary's Farm, belonging to Baron of Campo Belo, which French travelers used to compare with that of the Tuileries of Paris. Many of these estates, which once hosted the emperor, brought about an overwhelming reaction due to the refinement of rosewood furniture, the purity of imported crystals, the precious Venetian mirrors, the intricate arabesques in fine oriental tapestries and apricot-colored curtains, the sophisticated Europe-imported papers that lined the walls, the lavish carved silverware, the beautiful Carrara marbles, the extensive galleries with valuable oil paintings. Some farms even kept choirs and music bands, with dozens of young and beautiful slaves in austere uniforms, to brighten up the festivities they often promoted, while others held a theater to entertain guests. Bernardo Clemente Pinho Sobrinho, the Count of Nova Friburgo, besides collecting musical instruments, also used to bring from France hundreds of refined hand fans and masks, with which he presented the noble ladies invited to his costume balls. Commendator Breves, when in Rio de Janeiro with his family, was accompanied by white slaves, some even blondish - due to the "breed enhancement" conducted in the Restinga de Marambaia - all dressed luxuriously, to go to the Opera. Francisco José Teixeira Leite, the Baron of Vassouras, at a time when there was not today's technology, had printed (evidently in French and illustrated with classic engravings) the dinner menu he offered, in which the names of the dishes, written in Gothic letters, honored distinguished guests, or those of the nobility. Viscount of Barra Mansa, who always wore white clothes and a silk beret, refused to shake hands with anyone for fear of being contaminated with microbes. Henrique Carneiro Leão, the eccentric Baron of Paraná, on his farm, was dedicated to raising zebras brought from Africa to hybridize with horses and obtain what he called “zebroids”.
Obviously, this fantasy setting, in that region that became known as the "Coffee Valley," could not last long. The soil kept suffering from erosion and becoming impoverished as a result of the devastation of forests and overexploitation, aggravated by the growing emergence of new pests and the use of wrong agricultural techniques, such as frequent burning and the planting of vertical coffee plantations from the foothills to the summit of the hills, causing great loss of fertile soil, carried away by the floods; that is, a set of factors - in which the coup de grace was the Abolition of Slavery, followed by the Proclamation of the Republic - that could only lead the entire Paraíba do Sul Valley to a marked economic decay. Only the picturesque record of that age of splendor and extravagance remained.
We recall, as a historical curiosity, that Valença - during the splendor of the coffee age, known as “City of the Marqueses” - in 1943 had its name changed to Marquês de Valença, but in 1959 it was once again only called Valença.
One of Valença's most interesting districts is Conservatória, so named because it was the “conservatoire” of the Araris Indians, a territory that had a very healthy climate and was protected by mountains, where they retreated for disease recovery. Conservatória is considered the “Brazilian Capital of Serenade” and also the “Capital of Serestas”. It is worth noting that “serenade” is the music sung in the open air, under the dew and at night, while “seresta” is the performance of sentimental songs indoors. And during the holidays and weekends, besides the serenades and serestas, Conservatória also promotes the so-called “solaratas”, which are the performances of musical pieces under the morning sun. Among its many tourist attractions - such as old lofts and mansions, several museums linked to music and many handicraft and typical products shops (cachaça (type of brandy), liqueurs and rapaduras (unrefined whole cane sugar)) - the historical Santa Clara Farm stands out which has already served as site for several miniseries and television soap operas. Considered the largest rural property in Latin America at the time, it also impressed by its huge "stock” of 2,800 captive blacks. This is because many claim - although current owners deny - that their main activity was the reproduction of slaves for sale at competitive auctions. These lands had been granted by the Portuguese Crown to the Bustamante Fortes family, and the impressive three-story headquarters' house - once known as the Fortes Mansion - extends over 6,000 m² of built-up area with 12 halls. (one for each month of the year), 52 rooms (one for each week of the year) and 365 windows (one for each day of the year). A curious thing is that of these 365 windows, more than 20 are fake, that is, they were painted on the wall of the senzala (slaves' quarters) façade - which was a hermetically sealed room to prevent evasion - but, from a distance, they seem real. This ploy was also adopted in other farms because the English Crown - a large buyer of Brazilian coffee that had already abolished slavery - did not negotiate with countries that adopted slavery and, in the first half of the nineteenth century, began to supervise São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro farms to check if, in fact, there were no more black captives working in the coffee plantations. And it is said that these fake windows gave rise to the expression "it is only for English to see" (just for show; just for the sake of appearances). The Santa Clara Farm - listed by the State Institute of Historical and Artistic Heritage of Minas Gerais (IEPHA) and the Institute of National Historical and Artistic Heritage (IPHAN) - also preserves, besides the senzala, a dungeon, with the instruments used to punish and torture the blacks. In this, perhaps the last remaining authentic slave prison, stands out the thick solid wood door, original from that time, with its curious triple lock, consisting of overlapping latches, numerous keys and reinforced locks, forming a well-crafted escape-proof system.
Valença proudly maintains a centenary grouping, today officially known as the Associação Comunidade Negra Remanescente do Quilombo da Fazenda São José da Serra (Remaining Black Community Quilombo Association of São José da Serra Farm, where, in an area of nearly 500 hectares, live a few hundred descendants of African slaves from Angola who were brought to Brazil, the circle dance called jongo, recognized by the Federal Government as a National Historical Heritage and considered one of the origins of samba. It was in this community that, in 1901, the legendary jongueira and sambista Clementina de Jesus (daughter of a midwife and a capoeira and granddaughter of slaves) was born, who worked for decades as a house maid and only started her short and remarkable artistic career at 63 years of age. In addition to musical traditions, this quilombo continues to hold other rich ancestral reminiscences, such as the umbanda (religion of African descent), the rosary of São Gonçalo and the practices of natural medicine, prayers and blessings. There, where until a few years back, there was no electricity, in the middle of the forest, wattle and daub houses are still preserved, covered with thatch and lit by sconces, where, until today, people cook in firewood ovens and clothes are ironed with the archaic red-hot irons, which are made of cast iron, whose interior is hollow and full of incandescent coal.
Returning to the region's economic decay, Valença was not as badly hit by the crisis because the city's railroad favored the installation of industries, particularly the textile industries, in the early twentieth century, such as the one founded in 1909 by Vito Pentagna and other local businessmen. Actually, this entrepreneur, Vito Pentagna, in the last years of the nineteenth century, had already imported, from France and England, the most sophisticated stills, accompanied by mills and waterwheels and, from the 1870's, started to produce the Santa Rosa cachaça, whose manufacture continues to be perfected by his descendants to this day. It is important to stress that cachaça, although sometimes still associated with the brutish gutter drunkard, is being produced in an increasingly refined manner and, gradually, is becoming a drink intended for the noble palates of the refined cachaciers of high lineage, who can now afford to choose from the aged beverage in balsam barrels, or umburana, or oak, woods that soften and enhance the drink's sensory characteristics. As a matter of fact, at the beginning of September, the city of Vitória, the capital of Espírito Santo, hosted the 1st Brazilian Congress of Cachaça, in which 25 speakers, over two days, addressed various aspects of the sector, highlighting the historical roots of prejudice against this drink. And the "Carta de Vitória" (Letter of Victory) was launched there, whose purpose was precisely to overcome these and other obstacles and thus achieve greater expression in the distillate market.
In the central region of Valença, many old buildings still hold and tell stories, such as the Museu Casa Léa Pentagna (a museum), a traditional soiree stage where intellectuals and coffee barons gathered. This large stone house, which preserves the furniture and works of art of its illustrious resident, Léa Josephina Pentagna (1909 - 1983), today receives tour-guided visits and was transformed into a Cultural and Philanthropic Foundation, where courses, lectures, exhibitions and performances of classical and popular music are usually held. In the rich 20,000 m² garden that surrounds the house, cut by various trails among the numerous native and exotic, fruitful and ornamental species, Léa Pentagna rests in peace, truly incorporated into her flower beds, where she was buried as per her wish, expressed in testament.
Belonging to this traditional lineage, Marília Barroso Pentagna and her husband Vito, in 1973, in order to give gifts to friends who had bought a farm in Teresópolis (RJ), acquired a couple of puppies of a breed that they saw a lot of in their hunting trips through the south of Minas Gerais, the Fila Dog, or Fila Brasileiro. During the days when the Pentagnas temporarily housed the puppies, they became so attached to them that the moment of giving them to their new owners turned out to be rather dramatic. So, in early 1974, they bought two other Fila puppies and, soon after, a male, this time to remain at the São José das Palmeiras Farm - a traditional property dedicated to the commercial production of flowers, mainly anthuriums - and to constitute the initial milestone of the Canil Boa Sorte.
Here, I allow myself to open parentheses and comment that the name São José das Palmeiras is soon justified by the visitor who arrives there for the first time. The alley leading to the farmhouse, as it was customary at the time, is flanked by ancient and towering imperial palm trees. Interestingly, all specimens of this species (Roystonaeoleracea) existing in Brazil descend from a single seedling, called “Palma Mater”, planted in 1809, in the Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden, by the then Regent Prince Dom João VI and that, for this, was called "Imperial Palm". Its seeds began to be distributed to the illustrious subjects of the Second Empire, as an indication of loyalty to the monarchical power and for its emblematic strengthening. In 1972, almost 40 meters high, Palma Mater was destroyed by lightning and, in the same place, one of its descendants was planted, symbolically called “Palma Filia”. Palm trees are among the oldest plants on the planet and are represented by about 3,500 species, mostly in tropical regions.
Closing parentheses and returning to Canil Boa Sorte, with the birth of the first litters and the start of their participation in the Exhibitions of the old BKC, Marília began to notice the surprising heterogeneity of the specimens she saw on the tracks. An enthusiast of cynophilia, and a student of the subject, at the turn of the 1970's to 1980's, she heard of a new club specializing on Fila Brasileiro, and considered a dissident, because it fought the wide-open crossbreeding and the resulting falsification of pedigrees, carried out shamelessly under the blind eyes of the BKC. This so-called Brazilian cynophilia matter entity was already embarrassed by the astonishment manifested by foreign judges invited to perform at the major exhibitions, especially in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and who, in the “filas” tracks, were faced with a scandalous set of dogs of different sizes, shapes, coats and temperaments. In order to reverse this chaos, BKC had formed a technical board called CAFIB - Comissão de Aprimoramento do Fila Brasileiro (Commission for the Enhancement of the Fila Brasileiro), which, because it had been constituted by true lovers of the breed and, precisely because it did not deviate from its initial purpose, eventually brought about increasing friction and embarrassing situations for the "big wigs" of the so-called "official" cynophilia. Therefore, the decision of the commission to disengage itself to become an absolutely independent association became inevitable and it became CAFIB - Club for the Enhancement of the Fila Brasileiro -, always committed to preserving and improving the breed, fighting crossbreeding and technically evaluating the specimens. Since its inception, and for many years, this group was led by attorney Paulo Santos Cruz, founder of Santos Kennel Club, renowned allrounder judge, professor of courses for cynophile judges, one of the authors of the first official Fila Brasileiro standard and, also one of those responsible for its official recognition by FCI - Fédération Cynologique Internationale.
In those early 1980's, Marília Barroso Pentagna - already accompanied by her young nephew Joaquim Liberato Barroso, known as “Quinzinho” who liked dogs and spent his holidays on the farm - began participating in the Phenotype and Temperament Analyses, followed by Exhibitions for approved specimens, promoted by CAFIB Rio, in Rio de Janeiro, under the leadership of Francisco Peltier de Queiroz and Carlos Feijó de Carvalho. It must be highlighted that Marília's tenacity and courage, who participated in all events held by CAFIB Rio, coping with a very strong pressure and even threats of suspension of her kennel, perpetrated by the then BKC leaders. At the turn to the 1990's, assisted by Jonas Tadeu Iacovantuono and Sebastião Pereira Monteiro, who assisted her in choosing and acquiring new specimens, her breeding site started to stand out on the tracks, with the presentation of dogs such as Pilar, Piná, Oleiro, Feiticeira and Trevo da Boa Sorte, among others. Quinzinho, recalling the history of the kennel - founded by Marilia and whose direction he later took over - highlights the gradual improvement of the stock as its links with CAFIB were strengthened. He says that the first contacts were mainly motivated out of curiosity, given the strange situation in which Fila's breeding in the national cynophilia was going through; they then found that the new club's proposal was real and the actions were effective and finally they came to believe by convincing themselves of what was, in fact, best for the breed and for the breeders who sought to improve it.
This CAFIB's event of September 2019, in Valença, organized by Quinzinho, in partnership with Half Fonseca Marassi (Canil Alto Quatis, in Quatis), was held at São José das Palmeiras Farm, home of his Filas breeding site, as a tribute to the 90th birthday of Marília Pentagna, completed in May, and the 45th anniversary of Canil Boa Sorte. In fact, the traditional breeders Quinzinho and Half, both from Vale do Paraíba at the South of Rio de Janeiro, instead of promoting each one a CAFIB Exhibition per year, decided to establish this partnership in which both, together, shall organize alternate exhibitions, one year in Valença and the next in Quatis. In this, on Marília's farm - because it is a private property, without the structure and accommodation of an official exhibition ground -, of course, breeders and owners were forced to take fewer dogs than they usually do because there was no way to accommodate them all in that farm place. With this, the show ended up presenting a smaller number of participants. Even so, the 5th CAFIB Fila Brasileiro Exhibition in Valença (RJ) - judged by Américo Cardoso dos Santos Jr. (Canil Araguaya), who evaluated the males, and Giovani Éder de Carvalho (Canil Itapuã), in charge of the females - was a success, with 36 quality specimens on track. Just before that, ten dogs had been subjected to Phenotype and Temperament Analysis, one of which failed due to presenting a disqualifying reaction in the attack test.
We emphasize the whim and good taste in making the truly beautiful prizes, delivered to those that had been classified, in the form of metal plates in velvet-lined cases.
The main results were:
BEST MALE: Llyoto Fila Roots, owned by Alessandro Castro Bueno (Aparecida de Goiânia, GO)
BEST FEMALE: Gana Recanto do Livramento, owned by Leonardo Monteiro (Cordisburgo, MG)
BEST HEAD: Major V Guardiães do Caracu, owned by Marcus Flávio Vilasboas Moreira and José Wilson Vilela (Nova Serrana, MG)
BEST TEMPERAMENT: Noite Vale do Rio Doce, owned by Durval José de Miranda Silva Filho (Manhumirim, MG)
CAFIB is honored to be attended by breeders, exhibitors and lovers of the breed from 20 cities in five Brazilian states: Goiás (Aparecida de Goiânia and Goiânia), Minas Gerais (Aiuruoca, Belo Horizonte, Campo Belo, Cordisburgo, Itanhandu, Manhumirim, Nova Serrana, São Tomé das Letras and Três Corações), Rio de Janeiro (Nova Iguaçu, Quatis, Rio de Janeiro and Valença), Rondônia (Colorado do Oeste), São Paulo (Aparecida, Guaratinguetá, São Paulo and Vargem Grande Paulista).
Several judges from CAFIB were present, working on the Analyses and also as track aids and as judges: Américo Cardoso dos Santos Jr. (Vargem Grande Paulista, SP), Fabiano Gonçalves Nunes (Guaratinguetá, SP), Giovani Éder de Carvalho (Aparecida, SP), Jonas Tadeu Iacovantuono (Guaratinguetá, SP), Marcus Flávio Vilasboas Moreira (Belo Horizonte, MG) and Mariana Campbell (São Paulo, SP), who was, in addition, the veterinarian in charge. We register and are grateful for the help in the secretarial work provided by Cleide Cocito Cardoso dos Santos (Vargem Grande Paulista, SP) and Rosely Campbell (São Paulo, SP), and on the track, performed by Joaquim Liberato Barroso and Cíntia Junqueira de Barros (Itanhandu, MG), who also took charge of the photographs and videos; and the important performance, as extras in the temperament tests, of Fabiano Nunes and Wolney Almeida Santos. CAFIB is honored by the attendance of the representatives of the City-Hall of Valença who contributed decisively to the event: Mr. Rômulo Milagres, Municipal Secretary of Sports, and Mr. Silvio Graça, President of the City Council, who received the diploma on behalf of his brother, Mayor Fernando Graça. It is curious that, in some way, both were also involved and collaborated in the last CAFIB Exhibition in Valença, held more then two decades ago, as in all previous ones. At our 1998 event, Councilman Silvio's father was Mayor of the city, while Rômulo was already the Secretary of Sports.
And, heading the list of distinguished people at the 5th CAFIB Exhibition of the Fila Brasileiro, we highlight the presence of the host, Marília Barroso Pentagna, whose intense energy is already exposed in her strong handshake. She followed the judgments closely, always elegant and carrying her golden-knob cane, not with the fragility of those seeking support not to fall, but with the loftiness of those who take up a scepter to command.
The complete list of dogs awarded and classified in the various classes, as well as their photographs, can be accessed at the following sites: www.cafibbrasil.com and www.cafib.org.br.
Next stage of CAFIB 2019 World Championship is the 16th CAFIB Exhibition of the Fila Brasileiro in Spain, scheduled for November 23, in Alicante, to be judged by Jaime Pérez Marhuenda.