Philippine Dances

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Philippine DancesSayaw Pilipinas (Filipino Folk Dances)

Cordillera Dances

Muslim Dances

Tribal Dances

Rural Folks (Sa Nayon)

Spanish Influence


Banga Tribe: Kalinga "Banga" literally mean pots. The Banga or pot dance is a contemporary performance of Kalinga of the Mountain Province in the Philippines. This dance illustrate the languid grace of a tribe otherwise known as fierce warriors. Heavy earthen pots, as many as seven or eight at a time, are balanced on the heads of maidens as they trudge to the beat of the "gangsa" or wind chimes displaying their stamina and strength as they go about their daily task of fetching water and balancing the banga.

Bendayan Origin: Benguet Province, Northern Luzon Also popularly called Bendian, this circle dance of the Benguet of Mountain Province is restaged, keeping true to the dance's context and meaning. Long known as a dance to celebrate the arrival of successful headhunters, the Bendayan has taken a new face. It is part of every Benguet festivity with the circles slowly giving way to other formations and interpretations.

Lumagen / Tachok Tribe: Kalinga Origin: Luzon When the Kalinga gather to celebrate a happy occasion like the birth of a first-born baby boy, a wedding, or a budong (peace pact), the Kalinga Festival Dance (Tachok) is performed. This is danced by the Kalinga maiden. The dance imitates birds flying in the air. Music is provided by gangsa, or gongs, which are usually in a group of six or more.

Manmanok Tribe: Bago Three Bago Tribe roosters compete against each other for the attention of Lady Lien. They use blankets depicting colorful plumes to attract her.

Ragsaksakan Tribe: Kalinga This dance portrays the walk of the industrious Kalingga women, carrying water pots on their heads and wearing the colorful hand-woven "blankets of life" around their necks. Their walk imitates the climb up the Rice Terraces in the Mountain Provinces of the Philippines.

Salisid Tribe: Kalinga The Salidsid is the Kalinga courtship dance, performed by a male and female (and thus is sometimes called the "cayoo" dance). The dance starts when each of the dancers are given a pice of cloth called ayob or allap. Usually the most important people in the village are the second to dance after the host has signified that the occasion is formally open. The background and meaning in this dance is evident. The male simulates a rooster trying to attract the attention of a hen while the female imitates the movements of a hen being circled by a rooster.

Tarektek Tribe: Benguet Two tareketek woodpeckers vie for the attention of three females. One Male woodpecker rhythmically bang on a brass gong to represent a good voice, while the other swish about a colorful blanket representing beautiful plumage.

Uyaoy / Uyauy Tribe: Ifugao The Ifugao people are said to be the "children of the earth." The term Ifugao is derived from the word ipugao which literally means "coming from the earth." The Spaniards, however, changed it to Ifugaw, a term presently used in referring not only to these people but also to their province. This Ifugao wedding festival dance is accompanied by gongs and is performed by the affluent to attain the second level of the wealthy class. Wealthy people (Kadangyan) who have performed this dance are entitled to the use of gongs at their death

Muslim Mindanao They are known for their mysticism, royalty, and beauty which are evident in their music and dances. Accompanied by the agong and kulintang, Filipino Muslim dance is marked by intricate hand and arm movement along with shimmering costumes. Aside from the colorful contributions of its regional tribes, Mindanao is home to the largest cultural minority in the Philippines - the Muslims. Brought by Javanese and Middle Eastern traders, Islam is the religion of approximately 20 percent of the Philippine population.

Pangalay Tribe: Badjao Origin: Zamboanga del Sur A pangalay native to the Badjao, sometimes known as the "Sea Gypsies." Pangalay is a dance that emphasizes the agility of the upper body. The rhythmic bounce of the shoulder with simultaneous alternating waving of arms are the basic movement of this dance. The pangalay is commonly performed at weddings and other social gatherings.

Singkil Tribe:Maranao Origin: Lanao, Mindanao Sinkil dance takes its name from the bells worn on the ankles of the Muslim princess. Perhaps one of the oldest of truly Filipino dances, the Singkil recounts the epic legend of the "Darangan" of the Maranao people of Mindanao. This epic, written sometime in the 14th century, tells the fateful story of Princess Gandingan, who was caught in the middle of a forest during an earthquake caused by the diwatas, or fairies or nymph of the forest. The rhythmic clapping of criss-crossed bamboo poles represent the trees that were falling, which she gracefully avoids. Her slave loyally accompanies her throughout her ordeal. Finally, she is saved by the prince. Dancers wearing solemn faces and maintaining a dignified pose being dancing at a slow pace which soon progresses to a faster tempo skillfully manipulate apir, or fans which represent the winds that prove to be auspicious. The dancers weave expertly through crisscrossed bamboos. When performed by ladies of the royalty of Lanao, the dancer is usually accompanied by a waiting lady, who holds a beautifully decorated umbrella over the Princess' head wherever she goes. Royal princesses to this day in the Sulu Archipelago are required to learn this most difficult and noble dance.

Pangsak Tribe: Yakan Origin: Basilan The Yakan are a Muslim ethnic group in the highlands of Mindanao. They wear elaborately woven costumes tightly on their bodies. Their dances involve complicated hand and foot movements. In this dance, a man unties a wrap from his wife-tobe's waist to wrap around her body and dance with. Both of their faces are dotted with white paint, to hide their identity from evil spirits.

Pangalay ha Pattong Tribe: Badjao A royal couple balance perilously on top of bamboo poles imitating the movements of the picturesque southern boat (the vinta) with colorful sails gliding across the Sulu Sea.

Kapa Malong Malong Also called Sambi sa Malong, this Maranao dance shows the many ways of wearing a malong, a simple tubular yet highly functional piece of cloth. The traditional womens version shows this cloth of countless colorful designs; used mostly as a skirt, woven in many different ways, depending on the purpose of the wearer. Other ways the women wear malong is as a shawl, a mantle, or a head-piece. During more recent dance documentation, a mens version was derived. This version shows in masculine rendition, how men don the malongdisplaying its use as a sash or waist-band, shorts or bahag, and a head-gear that can be either functional while working in the fields, or decorative as a turban.

Sagayan Tribe: Maguindanao Origin: Cotabato Performed by very fierce warriors carrying a shield elaborately painted with curlicues, rounds, twirls and mirrors which are attached with shell noisemakers. In their other hand, they carry a double-bladed sword (kampilan) of metal or wood. Sagayan dancers are dressed in three tiered skirts, brightly colored topper and headgear embellished with all the imaginable colors of twine trimmings formed into flowers, balls, sunbursts etc. Long, yellow playful tassels almost hiding the face surround the headgear. The dance involves leaping, turning, jumping, kicking and the rolling movements of a warrior ready to defend his master in battle. Kamanyang fumes inhaled by the sagayan moves him to perform in a magic-like trance. On most occasions, this dance is performed before any celebration or gathering to drive away evil spirits (tunong) and to welcome good fortunes or omen.

Tribal Dances (mga katutubong sayaw) Mindanao, the Philippines' southernmost island, is the country's cultural melting pot. It houses influences from Spain, China, Indonesia, and the Middle East. Although Mindanao carries a strong flavor from other lands, there are people who have lived there before it became a breeding ground of foreign trade. Tribes such as the T'boli, Bilaan, Manobo, Bagobo, and other groups inhabit the vast regions of Mindanao. Like their Northern Luzon counterparts, these groups honor pagan gods for the fruits and trials of daily life. What distinguishes them from other tribes in the Philippines is their intricate craftsmanship in metal, clothing, and jewelry. These tribes pride themselves in their concept of beauty and are known for creating colorful sets of jewelry and clothing out of dyed pineapple and banana fibers with are showcased in their traditional dances.

Malakas at Maganda (a national folklore) Cradled amidst thick rain forest, shrouded with the mists of legend and ancient traditions, one folklore has it that a weary bird perched on a large bamboo heard strange noises inside. It pecked the bamboo, split open and from inside came the first man and woman, Malakas the strong, Maganda the beautiful, the parents of all peoples of the island.

Kadal Tahaw Tribe: T'boli Origin: Lake Sebu, South Cotabato A bird dance performed by the T'boli during planting and harvesting which simulates the flights and hops of the tahaw bird.

Binaylan Tribe: Higaonon Origin: Agusan The Bagobo tribe from the central uplands of Mindanao originated this dance which imitates the movement of a hen, her banog, or baby chicks, and a hawk. The hawk is sacred, and it is believed that the hawk has the power over the well-being of the tribe. The hawk tries to capture one of the chicks and is killed by the hunters. Bagobo Rice Cycle This Bagobo tribal dance protrays the cycle of planting and harvesting of rice.

Dugso Tribe: Talaindig Origin: Bukidno