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

Mountain Suite
"Echoes of the Cordillera"

Hidden in the mountainous regions of central Luzon live many tribes collectively known as the Igorots. Once known to be vicious headhunters, these tribes have kept many of their ancient pagan celebrations and rituals. Whether it be for victory in war, courtship, or worship, dance and music play an integral part in the lifestyles of these mountain people.

(Mountain Province) The Applay, a sub-tribe of the bontoc, celebrate victories in tribal wars and headhunting expeditions by performing the ballangbang. Copper gongs called gangsa are struck rhythmically by the successful headtakers as the women execute movements imitating the carabao or water buffalo.

(Kalinga) The Banga is performed during feasts as a way to entertain guests. It derived its name from the earthen pot called banga, which are stacked and carried on the heads of the females while dancing.

(Benguet) Bendian is performed for many reasons. Some of which are to heal a prolong illness, relieve natural calamities such as famine and drought, and to celebrate a bountiful harvest. However, the biggest Bendian is to celebrate a victory in war and a successful headhunt. The arrival of succesful head takers, called "ulul" is met with great festivities by the entire village. The Bendian festival celebrated by the Benguet, Ibaloy, and Kankanay is always big and extraordinary. It involves the village circling and dancing around the ulul leader while executing various arm movements. Lasting until the wee hours of the night, the bedian ritual ends on the sound of the loudest oway or war cry. This version of Bendian centers around the maiden's part of the circle.

(Kalinga) The Idaw dance is a hunting ritual performed before tribal wars. The warriors listen for the sacred Idaw bird that is said to lead the tribe to victory.

(Penarubia, Abra) The family is the basic structure of family life among the Itneg/Tinggian people. The chores and caring for the children is shared by both mother and father. While the men are clearing the fields, breaking the soil by tediously stamping on the sticky mud, the women watch the children. But as soon as the men are done, mothers set in on a series of back-greaking jobs including sowing, planting, weeding, harvesting, drying, threshing and pounding the grain. With most of the mother's time spent out in the field, chances are that the baby stays cuddled in the arms of its father. Once in a while, a Tinggian singer breaks into an uwalwal or idudu lullaby to send his baby to sleep. The dance takes the name frm the idudu lullaby that clearly demonstrates the change in roles in a Tinggian family.

Mamakar* (Bontoc War Dance)
(Central Bontoc) Performed during the planting season for the rains to come and during a bountiful harvest, the Mamakar portrays two strong warriors battling to the death.

(Vigan, Ilocos Sur) The Man-Manok is a dance that mimics fowls. Tribal blankets that represent the colorful plumage of wild cocks are shown off by the warriors who intend on winning the attention of the maiden hen.

(Lubuagan, Kalinga) The Ngilin is a marriage dance performed during rituals and celebrations such as the budong or peace pact. Movements of this dance simulate the interactions of a rooster and hen at love play.

(Kalinga) Palok is a festival dance performed by the Kalingas in any social gathering. Each male dancer is provided a gangsa; a percussion instrument made of copper, held and beaten by a twig or wood.

(Lubuagan, Kalinga) The Kalinga borrowed the beautiful word ragragsakan from the Ilocano, which means "merriment." The two biggest occassions for a ragragsakan in a Kalinga village are for the homecoming of successful head takers and the culmination of peace-pact between warring tribes. In this dance, Kalinga maidens balance labba baskets on thier heads, wave colorful tribal blankets, and sing short salidumay songs as they snake through the terrace dikes and skip through breaks in the path.

(Lubuagan, Kalinga) The homecoming of triumphant headhunters after a successful kayaw of headtaking, done to avenge the death or evil done to a family member or relative, is celebrated with the playing of special gongs called gangsa. The minger or successful warriors are honored by their female relatives with gift of feather of lawi, beads or bongon and colorful g-string s called ba-ag. Victory songs are sung by the by the villagers while the minger dance with closed fists while the bodan or the unsuccessful members of the headhunting group are demoted to playing the gangsas.

(Lubuangan, Kalinga) Tadjok is the most popular of all Kalinga dances. It is performed by the tribe to celebrate grand feats, rituals, and social gatherings. The men express brawn and virility while the women showcase grace and suppleness as they imitate high-flying birds.

(Mt. Data, Benguet) Benguet province was once inhabited by many tarektek or woodpeckers. These wild and colorful birds gave rise to the tarektek dance. In this dance, one tarektek male manipulates a colorful tribal blanket representative of the birds's iridescent plumage while the other playfully beats on a brass gangsa representing impressive bird calls as they battle for the attention of three tarektek females.

(Mayaoyao, Ifugao) The rice terraces of Banaue are home to hundres of small and large feasts called canao. Each canao has a different purpose: weddings, hope for a good harvest, success in war, or the death of prominent villagers. The grandest of all canao is the uayoy. The uyaoy is mainly celebrated by a Kadangyan or chieftain of the village in order to reaffirm his social status in the community. Men spread their arms to imitate the sakpaya hawk's majestic glide and stamp their feet to affirm their affinity with the cosmic earth as the women throw their arms upward while scratching the ground with their toes.


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



Copyright © 2011 Hiyas Philippine Folk Dance Company