Laughter and gaiety commonly used to describe the Filipino people takes root in the Philippine country-side. Life in the barrio is simple, but Filipinos always manage to find time to celebrate life’s gifts. The annual fiestas to celebrate the patron saints of the barrios symbolize the mixture of Christian and non-Christian beliefs. Fiestas not only honour the patron saint, but give homage to the barrio’s namesake for a good harvest, health, and perseverance. These fiestas are marked with celebrations of holy mass, music, dance and song.
Perhaps the best known and closest to the Filipino heart are the dances from the rural Christian lowlands. To the Filipinos, these dances illustrate the fiesta spirit and demonstrate a love of life. The same can be said for the native Philippine folk songs – Bahay Kubo, Magtanim, Leron Leron Sinta, to name a few. They express a joy in work, a love for music, and pleasure in the simplicities of life.
The following pieces are only a few selections from KP’s repertoire.
Meaning “with the use of drinking glasses”, this vibrant dance shows off balancing skills of the performers. Glasses filled with rice wine are placed on the head and on each hand, carefully maneuvered with graceful movements.
According to the history of this dance, a young woman named Kanang (short for Cayetana), began improvising her steps in the middle of her performance imitating the movements of an “itik”, a duck, as it walks with choppy steps and splashes water on its back.
Pandango sa Ilaw
The word pandanggo comes from the Spanish dance “fandango” characterized with lively steps and clapping, and “ilaw” is the Filipino word for “light”, hence, the dance of lights.
Sayaw Sa Salakot
The “salakot” is a traditional wide-brimmed hat typically made of rattan or reeds and worn by farmers. In “Sayaw sa Salakot”, the hats are embellished and enhances the graceful dance movements of the dancers.
Tinikling is considered the national folkdance. Originated from Leyte Province, this dance is in fact a mimic movement of “tikling birds” hopping over trees, grass stems or over bamboo traps set by farmers. Dancers perform this dance with remarkable grace.