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Maria Clara
Southern Islands
Barrio Fiesta
Los Bailes de Ayer
Echoes of the Cordillera
Himig Sa Nayon
Forgotten Tribes

Barrio Fiesta Suite
"Himig Sa Nayon"

The Philippine countryside is a land bestowed with endless beauty. It is thought of by many as the true Philippines. Small wonder why the dances of the rural farmers that inhabit these areas are the most famous of all Filipino dances. After a hard day's work, the rural people gather in their barrios and would perform many impromptu and lively dances as a form of relaxation. These dances personify the many joys of work, of the surroundings, and of life among the simple country people.

(Pangasinan) Binasuan is a very colorful and spectacular dance from Bayambang, Pangasinan. Baso means drinking glass. Binasuan in Pangansinan means "with the use of a drinking glass." In this dance, the dancers display good balance, graceful movements, and unusual skill. The girls dance with three glasses half full of water or tubo, one on the head, and one on the palm of each hand, while executing continuous fast turns, sitting, and rolling on the floor without spilling a single drop.

(Almazin, Lingayen, Pangasinan) The municipality of Lingayen in Pangasinan was derived from the Chinese word "Li-King-Tung," meaning to look backward and forward, by the Chinese settlers in the area long ago. The binislakan dance was performed to commemorate the stay of Limahong, a Chinese pirate who built his kingdom in Lingayen in the 1200's. Binislakan, meaning "the use of sticks," imitates two chopsticks used by the Chinese for eating.

(Tagalog Regions) During the month of May, it is custom in many parts of the Philippines to celebrate the "Santa Cruz de Mayo," a procession usually followed by a social gathering in the house of the "Hermana Mayor." In some places, the celebration takes the form of folk dances held in front of a provisional alter built by the "Hermana Mayor." Bulaklakan, a lovely and attractive dance, is danced for this occasion. The girls in this dance each hold a garland of leaves and flowers attached to a wire, bamboo or rattan so that the garland will arch when held overhead.

Gayong Gayong
(Aklan, Capiz) In rural gatherings, this dance offers much merriment and fun. Gayong is a pet name for Leodegario. According to the legend and to the words of the song, Gayong and Masiong (pet name for Dalmacio) once attended a feast commemorating the death of a townsman. While eating, Masiong choked on a piece of adobo so he called "Gayong! Gayong!" asking for help to dislodge the adobo from his throat. In this dance, Masiong's liking for feasts and the consequence of his voracity are held up to playful ridicule.

Gaway Gaway*
(Tacloban, Leyte) The gaway, also known as gabi or taro, is a staple food among the Waray. Harvesting, digging, pulling, cutting, cleaning and bundling of the gaway gave inspiration to this very exurberant, naughty and playful dance.

(Panay, Capiz) Performed by the crab gatherers of Pan-ay, the Inalimanggo dance portrays an example of how the lowly ways of mud crab's unrehearsed movements were translated into a dance which carefully arranges into sequences and ends in a frenzied finish, very much the same way crabs would end a day of grappling and fighting.

(Cuyo, Palawan) The annual parade of San Agustine includes the celebration of blossoming mango trees that grow abundantly on the island of Cuyo, the former capital of the Palawan province. Starting at the church patio and ending at the town plaza, groups of ladies sway their colorful "bunga manga," which are meant to represent the flowers of the mango tree while the men strike lively, syncopated beats with their karatong.

(Borungan, Pangasinan) This is a courtship dance of the kumakarets, a person who makes wine, tuba or vinegar from sasa (a type of palm tree.) The dance shows their ability, skill and good balance while dancers perform the dance with half-filled glasses of wine.

(Negros Occidental) Throughout the Philippines, the passing of life's milestones are met with great celebrations. The merrymaking of the festivities led to the creation of the kasadyahan dance, which literally means "merrymaking" in the Visayan dialect. During these celebrations, guests are greeted with garlands, flowers and gifts accompanied by songs and dances.

Pandanggo Sa Ilaw* & Oasioas
(Mindoro & Lingayen, Pangasinan) Pandanggo Sa Ilaw, meaning dance with lights, comes from Mindoro. This is the most difficult of all pandanggos. It is colorful and unusual; the female dancer gracefully and skillfully dances with three "tinghoy" or oil lamps - one on the head and two on the back of each hand. Oasioas, meaning, "swinging" in Pangasinan, comes from Ligayen. After a good catch, the fisherman would celebrate by swinging and circling lighted lamps wrapped in fishnet.

(Capiz) Pasigin is a fish net used by the Capiznon. In the hands of a skilled fishermen, a pasigin assures food for the family. The playful imagination of the Filipinos created the pasigin dance. Using movements of excited fishermen scooping after schools of fish, intricate footwork and dexterous swishing, swashing, scooping, and sifting gave the pasigin that chase and run character. The pasigin dance would have been an ordinary and playful dance had it not been for a comic relief where at the end, the ring-net reveals a hole big enough for the fish to escape.

Pasikat Na Baso*
(Pañgapisan, Pangasinan) Pasikat means to show off and baso means drinking glass. Dancers display good balance, graceful movements and unusual skill on the top of a bench with the use of fourglasses half full of water or wine.

Pastores Talisay
(Talisay, Camarines Norte) Pastores, meaning shepherd in Spanish, refers to the biblical shepherds who visited the manger the very first Christmas. During Christmas season in the Bicol regions, groups of people perform the Pastores; a song and dance spectacle celebrating the birth of Jesus. The town of Talisay featuers a version of the Pastores heavily influenced by Mexican traditions introduced to the islands via the Manila-Acapulco galleons.

Pastores Tubog
(Tubog, Oas, Albay) Pastores, meaning shepherd in Spanish, refers to the biblical shepherds who visited the manger the very first Christmas. The scenic barrio of Tubog is home to one of the most spectacular pastores versions. Starting in early December until the Feast of the Three Kings on January 6th, the pastores groups dance to the tune of Pastores a Belen. All dressed in Filipinized Middle Eastern shepherd costumes, the performers go house to house utilizing flower arches and sheep made of bamboo and rice paper to imitate the tending of the sheep.

(Balimbing, Marinduque) The Pateado dance from Balimbing, Marinduque, is a gay and sprightly dance. It is an unusual dance that combines many characteristics of the pandanggo dances with acrobatic movements. The male dancer, in one number, has to walk on his hands while his feet are dragging along the floor. In other numbers, he and has to do a backwards-bending position to pick a hat from the floor, not with his hands, but with his head.

Sala Ti Alat*
(Camiling, Cabangan, Zambales) A successful fishing expedition is a propitious occasion for merry-making. The villagers of Camiling celebrate it with a dance called Sala Ti Alat. Alat is the local term for a fish container. Sala Ti Alat literally means dance with a fish container.

Sayaw Ed Tapew Na Bangko
(Lingayen, Pangasinan) Sayaw Ed Tapew Na Bangko means "dance on top of a bench". This lively dance is native to the barrio Pangapisan. Good skill and balance is needed as the performers dance on top of a narrow bench.

(Estanza, Pangasinan) Sigsilew is a remarkable dance of grace, elegance, and style. Three lighted coconut shells, one on the top of the head, the other two held, are dexterously balanced. Skill plays a great role in keeping the lights in place. Villagers claim that sigsilew originated from Indonesia, but it too has bee Filipinized as all other imported dances have.

(Zambales) The Sinublihan, meaning "back and forth," originated as a ball game in which a fish basket was thrown back and forth between players while trying frantically to retrieve it. In time, the game developed routine steps and formal sequences. With the addition of rondalla music, the Sinublihan dance was created.

Ti Silaw & Gaod
(Cabangan, Zambales) This is a combination of two dances that both come from Cabangan, Ti silaw literally means light. The dance depicts the warning signs made by the womenfolk to fisherman out at sea of an approaching storm. By means of their light, they guide the fisherman safely to shore. Goad is said to have originated from the fun loving fisherman of Cabangan during village parties.

(Leyte) The "Tikling" bird is a bird with long legs and a long neck. The "Tinikling" dance, therefore, imitates the movements of the "Tikling" birds as they walk between grass stems or run over tree branches. Skill is demonstrated in dancing between the bamboos and in keeping the feet from being caught between the bamboo poles. There is much fun, however, when the bamboo players catch the feet of the dancers. This dance is a favorite in the Visayan Islands, especially in the province of Leyte.

(Pañgapisan, Pangasinan) Tupaan in Pangasinan means to strike against each other. After a hard day's work in making bucayo (cocunut candy), the barrio folks amuse themselves by dancing with halves of coconut shells held in both hands. The rims of the shells are struck together to produce sound in different rhythms.


* denotes the dance as part of our current repertoire for performance engagements


Copyright © 2011 Hiyas Philippine Folk Dance Company