|Perhaps the best known and closest to the Filipino heart are the dances
from the rural Christian lowlands: a country blessed with so much beauty. To the
Filipinos, these dances illustrate the fiesta spirit and demonstrate a love of life. They
express a joy in work, a love for music, and pleasure in the simplicities of life. Typical
attire in the Rural Suite include the colorful balintawak and patadyong skirts for the
women, and camisa de chino and colored trousers for the men.
Children at play with a stringed coconut shell clasped between the "fingers" of
From Victoria, Tarlac, comes Basulto, a love song presented in satirical form. This dance
of Pampango influence is usually performed with the accompaniment of the song. One verse
of the song is sung, then a figure of the dance is performed. The singing and dancing are
In Malabon and Navotas, part of the Bulacan province, childless women who missed making
the annual pilgrimage to Obando await the return of their friend who went to Obando's
annual fertility festival. Upon their return, they recreate this dance of fertility.
MIDI File (binasuan.mid)
This colorful and lively dance from Bayambang in the Pangasinan province shows off the
balancing skills of the dancers. The glasses that the dancers gracefully, yet carefully,
maneuver are half-filled with rice wine. Binasuan, meaning "with the use of a
drinking glass" in Pangasinan, is often performed as entertainment at weddings,
birthdays, and fiestas.
An occupational dance from Paoay, Ilocos Norte, Binatbatan depicts the beating of cotton
pods to separate the seeds from the fibers with the use of two sticks called batbat
in the Ilocos region. Weavers in Paoay often engage themselves in abel-making
contests (abel is a cloth common among the Ilokanos). Dancers maneuver in and out
of parallel batbat sticks, each about 18 inches long. The rhythm and speed of the beating
of the sticks make for a lively and colorful display.
A dance from the Ilokano region of Pangasinan, Binoyugan features women balancing on their
heads a banga or clay pot which they use to fetch water from the river or well, or in
which to cook rice. The dance culminates with the women laying stomach down on
stage, and rolling from side to side, all while balancing the pot.
MIDI File (gaway.mid)
Originating from a small town of Leyte called Jaro, children celebrate a beautiful
harvest of the Gaway root crop. They imitate the pulling of the stalks, hitting their
elbows in a movement called Siko-Siko.
At one baptismal party in the Surigao del Norte province, a young lady named Kanang (the
nickname for Cayetana), considered the best dancer and singer of her time, was asked to
dance the Sibay. She became so enthusiastic and spirited during the performance
that she began to improvise movements and steps similar to the movements of itik,
the duck, as it walks with short, choppy steps and splashes water on its back while
calling to its mate. The people liked the dance so much that they all imitated her. There
are six separate foot sequences in the series of Itik-Itik steps.
The dance from Cabugao, Ilocos Sur province, symbolizes peace and is represented by
imitating the movements of a graceful dove. It portrays the typical traits of the
Ilokanos: simplicity, naturalness, and shyness.
This dance is named after the three-foot bamboo implement suspended around the neck or
waist. It is beaten in fast rhythm to bring good luck and to drive away evil spirits.
This animated wedding dance derived its name from a plant which grows along Dao beach
in Antique. It is usually performed by the parents of the bride and groom during the
Kilingkiņgan is a small bird that flies swiftly and lives in caves.
As it flies, it produces a peculiar sound resembling that of bamboo
castanets struck together. This dance is popular among the Ibanag
country people of Cagayan province. It is danced in any social
gathering and is usually performed to the accompaniment of sinco-sinco,
a five-stringed guitar found in Cagayan. The dance performed to a
lilting 2/4 style.
MP3 file (kuratsa.mp3 - 1.81MB)
MIDI File (kuratsa.mid)
A dance originating from Bohol, Visayas, it is popular at Ilokano and Visayan festivals.
This dance commands a sense of improvisation which mimics a young playful couple's attempt
to get each other's attention. It is performed in a moderate waltz style.
MP3 file (maglalatik.mp3 - 1.74MB)
MIDI File (maglalat.mid)
This mock-war dance, originating from the Spanish Regime, depicts a fight between the
Moros and the Christians over the prized latik, or coconut meat residue. This
dance, originally performed in Biņan, Laguna, is also performed as a tribute to the
patron saint of farmers, San Isidro de Labrador. Maglalatik is a four-part performance:
the palipasan and the baligtaran showing the intense combat, and the paseo
and the escaramusa, the reconciliation. The Moros of this dance usually wear red
trousers, while the Christians don blue trousers. All of the men use harnesses of coconut
shells positioned on their backs, chests, hips, and thighs.
MIDI File (oasiwas.mid)
After a good catch, fishermen of Lingayen would celebrate by drinking wine and by dancing,
swinging and circling a lighted lamp. Hence, the name "Oasiwas" which in the
Pangasinan dialect means "swinging." This unique and colorful dance calls for
skill in balancing an oil lamp on the head while circling in each hand a lighted lamp
wrapped in a porous cloth or fishnet. The waltz-style music is similar to that of Pandanggo sa Ilaw.
In Laguna, the village labanderas, or washerwomen, spend a relatively calm day
doing their laundry when tsismis, or gossip, among them gets out of hand, and
drama ensues. Through fighting with their palos (laundry paddles) to resolve their
disputes, their dance comes to life.
Pandanggo na Tapis
In the olden days, a woman's sapeuy, or skirt, is incomplete without a tapis, a
rectangular apron. The dancer depicts the different uses of tapis: courtship, flirtation,
decoration, protection, wrapping, and driving the birds away from the rice fields.
MP3 file (pandanggo.mp3 - 1.54MB)
MIDI file (pandango.mid)
This popular dance of grace and balance comes from Lubang Island, Mindoro in the Visayas
region. The term pandanggo comes from the Spanish word fandango, which is a
dance characterized by lively steps and clapping that varies in rhythm in 3/4 time. This
particular pandanggo involves the presence of three tinggoy, or oil lamps, balanced
on the head and the back of each hand.
MIDI File (pateado.mid)
This couples-dance, from Balimbing, Marinduque, features the male partners performing
acrobatic movements, such as bending backwards to pick up a hat from the floor using only
his head. This is combined with characteristics of the pandanggo to make for a lively
During the early days, the regatones, or traveling fish vendors, together with
women fish buyers called lab-aseros used to wait for the arrival of fishermen in the long
and bountiful shoreline in the town of Cadiz, now Cadiz City, Negros Occidental.
They would sprint towards the banca to select and purchase the fish they would like to
sell. The regatones sell the fish with the aid of two paraka (a shallow
rounded basket made of bamboo) attached to both ends of a long flat bamboo strip, or tuwang-tuwangan,
balanced on the shoulder. While waiting for the fishermen to arrive, the regatones
and women fish buyers tease each other by doing some simple dance steps such as leaping
over the tuwang-tuwangan and tricks in maneuvering their tuwang-tuwangan
with the paraka.
A dance of the Ilokano Christians and non-Christians from the province of Abra, Sakuting
was originally performed by boys only. It portrays a mock fight using sticks to train for
combat. The stacatto-inflected music suggests a strong Chinese influence. The dance is
customarily performed during Christmas at the town plaza, or from the house-to-house. The
spectators give the dancers aguinaldos, or gifts of money or refreshments
especially prepared for Christmas.
This dance, from Manibaug barrio, Porac, Pampanga, is usually presented by the farmers
during the planting season as an offering for a good harvest. Its name, according to the
elders of the region, must have been derived from the word Zapateado, a dance
introduced in the Philippines by the early Spanish settlers. The dance is usually
accompanied by a corrido, or musical narrative.
Sayaw sa Bangko
MIDI File (sayaw.mid)
This dance is native to the barrio of Pangapisan, Lingayen, Pangasinan, and demands skill
from its performers who must dance on top of a bench roughly six inches wide.
Sinulog is a ceremonial dance performed by the people of San Joaquin, Iloilo, during
the feast of San Martin. It originated in a barrio of San Joaquin called Sinugbahan. It
was believed that the image of San Martin was found at the edge of a beach, and that it
could not be removed until the people dance the Sinulog. From that day on, every Novemeber
10th on the feast of San Martin the Sinulog would be danced before the
procession comes out or else, it was believed, the chuch would be burned. The dance itself
was patterned after the Suluan war dance of the Sulu people, the native name of Sulu being
Sulog which means strong ocean currents.
MIDI File (subli.mid)
From the province of Batangas comes this ancient dance, originally performed in veneration
of the holy cross of Alitagtag, referred to in the vernacular as Mahal na Poong Santa
Cruz. The word subli is derived from two Tagalog words, subsub (stooped) and
bali (broken). Hence, the men are stooped throughout the dance and appear to be
lame and crooked, while the women dance with hats.
Enhanced MIDI File
Original MIDI File
Honored as the Philippine national dance, Tinikling is a favorite in the Visayan islands,
especially on the island of Leyte. The dance imitates the movement of the tikling
birds as they walk between grass stems, run over tree branches, or dodge bamboo traps set
by rice farmers. Dancers imitate the tikling bird's legendary grace and speed by
skillfully maneuvering between large bamboo poles.
A favorite dance of the mountain people of the barrios of Panitan and Loctugan, Capiz.
The dance imitates the movement of the tolabong bird, a long-necked, long-winged
heron which rides atop a carabao while picking insects off its back.
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