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Folk Dance

1.Tribal Dances of the Far North

The mountainous Central Cordillera region of Northern Luzon is also known by the term "Philippine Skyland." Inhabiting this rugged terrain are six ethno-linguistic tribes known as the Ibaloy, Kankanay, Ifugao, Kalinga, Apayao, and Bontoc. They prefer to be called by their respective tribal names rather than the collective term Igorot, which was first used by the Spaniards and later by Christian lowlanders. These tribes were generally unfazed by Spanish colonization. This homogeneous group is recognized by their common socio-cultural traits. They hold common religious beliefs, generally nature-related, and make propitiatory offerings to anitos, or household gods.
Among these people of the Cordillera, dance continues to be an expression of community life that animates the various rituals and ceremonies. It serves for self-edification of the performers and entertainment for the spectators. They dance to appease their ancestors and gods to cure ailments, to insure successful war-mating activities,or to ward off bad luck or natural calamities. They dance to congregate and socialize, for general welfare and recreation, and as an outlet for repressed feeling. They also dance to insure bountiful harvests, favorable weather, and to mark milestones in the cycle of life.

2.Maria Clara Suite

The coming of the Spaniards in the 16th century brought a new influence in Philippine life. A majority of the Filipinos were converted to Roman Catholicism. European cultural ideas spread and the Filipinos adapted and blended to meet the local conditions. These dances reached their zenith in popularity around the turn of the century, particularly among urban Filipinos.
They are so named in honor of the legendary Maria Clara, who remains a symbol of the virtues and nobility of the Filipina woman. Maria Clara was the chief female character in Jose Rizal's "Noli Me Tangere." Displaying a very strong Spanish influence, these dances were, nonetheless, "Filipinized" as evidence of flamenco style posturing and movements. Typical attire for these dances for the women is the formal "Maria Clara" dress that imitated the Spanish ballgown from the eras of influx of their influence. Typical attire for these dances for the men is the "Barong Tagalog," an embroidered long-sleeve shirt made of pineapple fiber or "jusi."

3.Muslim Dances

A proud and noble race hail to the far Southern most region of the Philippines. They number almost a million, and reside mostly in the southern island of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago. They are known as Muslim coined through their religious roots, Islam. By the end of the 12th century, traders and settlers from the Malay Peninsula and Borneo introduced their faith to the islands.
Also known as Moros, they strongly opposed and were able to resist the onslought of Spain and her religious conquest. Thus, the Pilipinos in this region were able to preserve their Islamic lifestyle that markedly differed from the rest of the majority. The ethno-linguistic groups who are primarily considered Muslim are the Maranao, Maguindanao, Samal, and Tausug. The dances are characterized by vivid colors and rhythmic movements which reflect the influence of Arabian and Indo-Malaysian cultures.

4. Dances of the Philippine Countryside

Dances that are best known, and closest to the Filipino heart are those 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.

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