Rural/Barrio Suite

updated 01-Jul-2002


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 their toes.


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 done alternately.


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.


Audio sample (itikitik.wav)
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.


MIDI File (kalatong.mid)
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 wedding feast.


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.

Pandanggo sa Ilaw

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 exhibition.


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.


Audio sample (sakuting.wav)
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.


MP3 filenew05.gif (1433 bytes)
Enhanced MIDI File (tinik2.mid)
Original MIDI File (tiniklng.mid)
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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