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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Most Popular Folk Dances from the Philippines

The Singkil Entourage
Folk Dances of the Philippines may be classified by regions or the times in the history of the Philippines( Spanish influence, muslim rule, etc..). The first in the list are the highland tribal dances from the Cordillera Regions of Luzon.

Cordillera – highland tribal dances

1. Dances from within the depths of the mountains among the honorable braves and beautiful belles, ring the music of long ago, heralding a victorious return and a blessed merry-making. With the wildness in their blood and forest freedom in their spirit; the Kalinga, Ifugao, Gaddang, Bontoc and other tribal groups celebrate with wild feasting, headhunt, death, peace pact, wedding and/or a bountiful harvest:

a.Chua-ay – call to get together featuring nose flute

b. Kayabang – depicts a maiden's trip to the lowlands. She beats the bamboo sticks called the bungkaka to drive away the unseen evil spirits along the mountain trail

c. Paligo – a beautiful Igorot maiden cleansing herself in preparation of the coming courtship

d. Sayap & Banga – an intricate dance of the maidens, where they skillfully display versatility on the use of the indigenous Igorot cloth, Sayap and balancing clay-pots, Banga,(clay jars) on their heads

e.Lima Nga Gangsa – a dance where tribal elders start the ceremonies with a display of rhythms on the beat of the Gangsa gongs

f.Bumayah – a dance traditionally held during thanksgiving or after a bountiful harvest

2. Nostalgia Filipina – Los Bailes De Los Anos Pasados (Dances of Yester years Past)

The coming of the Spaniards in the 16th century marked the conversion of the Filipinos, principally those in the Luzon and the Visayan regions, to the Catholic faith and the introduction of western civilization; hence, the influence on the Philippine life:



a. Polka sa Plaza – a grand parade of beautiful ladies in their traditional Spanish gowns called Maria Clara and parasols (umbrellas). With their partners, wearing their traditional Barongs, they gladly parade, beginning from the church yard going around the town

b. Valse Filipina - a waltz dance of young collegiala showing off (or showcasing) elegant Maria Clara gowns

c. Panuelo - a dance where the ladies show off their beautifully embroidered shawls (panuelo)

d. La Simpatica - A courtship dance where the picky lady charms her four suitors, who will she choose?

e. Paseo de IloIlo - a dance originating from Llo-Llo (Visayas region) where the young lady who is trying to choose suitors by dancing with them

f. Jota Rizal – This is a lively and exhilarating dance originating from the Rizal province (Luzon region)

g. Baile De Amor – a provocative teasing lovers' dance


h. La Jota Moncadena – The clicking of castanets accompanies this dance with influences of polka, waltz and mazurka

i. Polka sa Batangas – a very popular polka dance originally from Batangas (Luzon region) performed during town fiestas, religious celebration and various events either to welcome a newly wed couple or an announcement of important social gatherings

j. Alcamfor – a courtship dance where the female dancer teases her suitor with a handkerchief scented with camphor fragrance

k. Bajo de los Cocoteros – combines the two European steps, polka and waltz, in a lively dance

3. Hariraya – Muslim and lowland tribal

When the Spaniards came to the Philippines they encountered pockets of the Muslim religion in Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan. They tried to occupy and replace Islam with Christianity, but in vain; the Filipino Muslims resisted. However, they had beautiful songs and dances which were easily liked and adopted by the people:

a. Budyong – a call for a gathering of town folks for a celebration using large seashells

b. Dugso – a dance ritual from Bukidnon region, showing a man's desire to thank his gods, featuring colourful headgear and rhythmical stomping

c. Tig-Ani – a ritual dance to overcome the malevolent omen of the predator hawk

d. Tahing Baila – a dance imitating the playfulness of fish as they swim through the water

e. Kapa Malong-Malong – a Muslim dance showing the versatile uses of the Muslim tubular cloth called Malong

f. Pang-Alay Pamansak
– a courtship dance from Sulu (Mindanao) whose intricate hand movements take their influence from Bali and Thailand

g. Silong Sa Ganding – a dance that imitates the movement of the gandingan (brass gongs) and the single headed Philippine drum dabakan

h. Singkil – taken from the Maranao epic Daranagan performed only by members of the ruling class. This exotic dance features the royal prince and princess as they dance in and out of the clashing criss- crossed bamboo poles


4. Sa Kabukiran – dances from the countryside

The Filipinos are by nature lovers of the arts. They have developed songs, music and dances, peculiarly their own but with a blending of three centuries of Spanish domination and half a century of American, Asian and European influences. These are the dances from the countryside - the rice fields, lake shores, the birds, the animals and coconut groves. They depict the various moods of the people in appreciation of nature and the quiet mode of life in rural areas:

a. Pandanggo sa Ilaw
– a dance using candle-lit glasses swayed like beacons for the homecoming of the fisherman

b. Sunduan – celebrating the spirit of the villagers working on the farm. Involves sowing, harvesting, thrashing, pounding and winnowing rice

c. Subli – a ceremonial dance from Bauang, Batangas to pay homage to the Holy Cross

d. Sayaw sa Bangko – a dance showing off dancing skills and good balance on top of narrow benches

e. Alay – an offering dance to welcome special guests on special occasions

f. Binuyugan – a dance imitates the ladies fetching water and balancing the pots on their head

g. Itik-Itik – a dance imitating the movements of ducks

h. Ilocana A Nasudi – a dance of the old people from Ilocos

i. Maglalatik – a dance celebrating coconut harvest, featuring coconut shells attached to different bodyparts clicked to create the sounds and beats of the dance as the movements get faster and faster

j. Binasuan – a skill dance showing town maidens balancing wine glasses on their heads and the hands without spilling a drop as they twirl and roll on the floor

k. Salakot – a dance showcasing/featuring traditional beautifulPhilippine straw Coolie hats

l. Tinikling - the best known of all Philippine Dances. Dancers hop in and out of fast clapping bamboo poles, imitating the movements of the tikling birds

The World Reknown Tinikling
I hope you have a good idea now of the diversity and richness of the folk dances in the Philippines

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