philippine folk dance

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TheA-utonomous R-egion in M-uslim M-indanao (abbreviated ARMM) is an Autonomous region of the Philippines, located in the Mindanao island group of the Philippines, that is composed of five predominantly Muslim provinces, namely: Basilan (except Isabela City), Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. It is the only region that has its own government. The regional capital is at Cotabato City, although this city is outside of its jurisdiction.


The ARMM spans two geographical areas: Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao (except Cotabato City) in south western Mindanao, and the island provinces of Basilan (except Isabela City), Sulu and Tawi-Tawi in the Sulu Archipelago. The region covers a total of 12,288km.


For the most part of Philippines' history, the region and most of Mindanao have been a separate territory, which enabled it to develop its own culture and identity. The region has been the traditional homeland of Muslim Filipinos since the 15th century, even before the arrival of the Spanish who began to colonize most of the Philippines in 1565. Muslim missionaries arrived in Tawi-Tawi in 1380 and started the conversion of the native population to Islam.

The Moros had a history of resistance against Spanish, American, and Japanese rule for over 400 years. The violent armed struggle against the Japanese, Filipinos, Spanish, and Americans is considered by current Moro Muslim leaders as part of the four centuries long "national liberation movement" of the Bangsamoro (Moro Nation).

Aside from the colourful 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% of the Philippine population. 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.

Dances of MindanaoPangalay 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 bounces 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.

Asik Tribe: Maguindanao Origin: Lanao del Sur

A solo slave dance performed by the umbrella-bearing attendant to win the favor of her sultan master. The girl wears long metal fingernails and dances and poses in doll-like motions. Asik usually precedes a performance of Singkil.

Burung-Talo Origin: Tausug

A form of self defense. The dance like movements show a fight between a hawk and a cat.

Tahing Baila Tribe: Yakan

Yakan dance for a bountiful fish catch where they imitate their movements.

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-to-be'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

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.

Pangalay sa Agong Origin: Tausug - Sulu

A variation of the Tausug's traditional dance, Pangalay, two warriors vie for the attention of a lass both using gongs to show their prowess and skill.

Pagapir Tribe: Maranao Origin: Lanao del Sur

Pagapir depicts a royal manner of "walking" among the Maranao people who live mainly around Lake Lanao. Ladies of the royal court perform this stately dance in preparation for an important event. The ladies gracefully manipulate the Aper (apir) or fan, while emphasizing their small steps, or "kini-kini", which is a sign of good upbringing.

Sagayan Tribe: Maguindanao Origin: Cotabato 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.

Kapa Malong MalongAlso called Sambi sa Malong, this Maranao dance shows themany ways of wearing a malong, a simple tubular yet highlyfunctional 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.

Singkil Tribe:Maranao Origin: Lanao, Mindanao

Singkil 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 skilfully manipulate apir, or fans which represent the winds that prove to be auspicious. The dancers weave expertly through criss-crossed 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.