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Are traditional dances of a country which were evolved naturally and spontaneously
in connection with everyday activities and experiences of the people who developed them.
Folk dancing is the heartbeat of the people.


Countries of the world have their own cultures made more colorful, beautiful and vibrant
because of folk dances that are a reflection of who they are and what they are. In the East,
the Chinese have their symbolical dragon dance; the Japanese have the ancestral dance
Bon Odori. In the West, the Americans have their Square Dance. The Scottish people have
their world-famous dances (Highland and Country Dance, Jig and Reel). On the other hand,
the Philippines will not be left behind! The “Pearl of the Orient” boasts of a variety of Philippine
folk dances.

The Filipinos pay tributes and owe itself to cultural heritage. One way of showing such
love and respect for the country gave birth to the development of Philippine ethnic folk
dances. And there are several of these; namely, Binasuan, Sublian, Itik-itik, Tinikling, Maglalatik,
Cariñosa etc.
Binasuan is a native dance of Pangasinan. This dance literally means “dancing with
glasses.” The steps are executed with glasses filled with rice wine balanced on the head and
the hands of the dancers. Danced to show balance and to reflect rural gaiety, Binasuan is
performed usually in wedding ceremonies and occasions in the barangay.

Sublian owes its meaning to native words “subsub” meaning to fall with the head and
“bali” or broken. This meaning is reflected in the dance steps. The dancers move feebly and
tortuously as if without vigor. This dance, however, traces its roots to Batangas where it was
originally played as a ritual dance which evolved into a symbol of religious tradition performed
during town fiestas.

Itik-Itik is one of the Philippine folk dances which have an interesting origin. According
to stories, a Filipina maiden-dancer of Surigao del Norte was asked to perform a native dance
in one special occasion. She started to improvise new steps and imitate the courtship
movements of a local species of duck known as “itik.” The spectators began to imitate her
and that is how the dance came to be.

Tinikling is another Philippine folk dance that is inspired by an endemic bird called
“tikling.” The steps of this dance are an imitation of the movements of a “tikling” bird that hops
and escapes the traps set by hunters. Moving with poise and grace, the dancers skip in-
between two bamboo poles that are held to pound rhythmically against each other. This
dance is a specialty of Leyte.

Maglalatik is danced to mimic the early battle against Christians and Moros to win
coconut meat or “latik” during the time of Spanish colonization. This is also performed to pay
homage to the town saint of Biñan, Laguna – San Isidro Labrador. This dance is divided into
four parts: baligtaran, palipasan, paseo and escaramusa. This is performed by all-male
dancers who wear blue pants to represent the Christians and red pant for the Moros. All
dancers, however, have coconut shells mounted on their body parts.


1. Cordillera Dances

Cordillera, a name given by the Spanish Conquistadors when they first saw the mountain
ranges. Meaning "knotted rope", the Spanish term refers to the jumbled rolls and dips of this
long-range traversing the northern part of Luzon Island.
Today, if one is to generalize one of the six ethno-linguistic tribes as “Igorot” is considered
degrading. Living amidst the rice terraces that tower over Northern Luzon are a people whose
way of life existed long before any Spaniard or other foreigners stepped foot on the Philippines.
The Bontoc, Ifugao, Benguet, Apayo, and the Kalinga tribes reign over Luzon's mountain

They are pagan people, living simple lives to appease their gods. Their rituals celebrate
their daily lives - a good harvest, health, peace, war, and other symbols of living. Such
traditions have survived the changing scope of the Philippines and the tribes continue to
maintain their cultures that are a part of the colorful cultural fabric known as Philippine culture.


(a) Banga (Kalinga)

(b) Bendayan (Benguet Province)
(c) Lumagen / Tachok (Kalinga)
(d) Uyaoy / Uyauy (Ifugao)
(e) Turayen (Cagayan Valley)

2. Muslim Dances

Aside from the colorful 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 percent 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.


(a) Pangalay (Zamboanga Del Sur)

(b) Asik (Lanao Del Sur)
(c) Singkil (Lanao)
(d) Kapa Malong Malong

3. Tribal Dances

Mindanao, the Philippines' southernmost island, is the country's cultural melting pot. It
houses influences from Spain, China, Indonesia, and the Middle East. Although Mindanao
carries a strong flavor from other lands, there are people who have lived there before it
became a breeding ground of foreign trade. Tribes such as the T'boli, Bilaan, Manobo,
Bagobo, and other groups inhabit the vast regions of Mindanao.

Like their Northern Luzon counterparts, these groups honor pagan gods for the fruits and
trials of daily life. What distinguishes them from other tribes in the Philippines is their intricate
craftsmanship in metal, clothing, and jewelry. These tribes pride themselves in their concept of
beauty and are known for creating colorful sets of jewelry and clothing out of dyed pineapple
and banana fibers with are showcased in their traditional dances.


(a) Malakas at Maganda (National Folklore)

(b) Binaylan (Agusan)
4. Rural Folks

Laughter and gaeity commonly used to describe the Filipino people takes root in the
Philippine country-side. Life in the Barrio is simple, but Filipinos always manage to find time to
celebrate life's gifts.
The annual fiestas to celebrate the patron saints of the barrios symbolize the mixture of pagan
and Catholic belief. Fiestas not only honor the patron saint, but give homage to the barrio's
namesake for a good harvest, health, and perserverance. These fiestas are marked with
celebrations of holy mass, music, dance and song.


(a) Tinikling (Leyte)

(b) Maglalatik (Laguna)
(c) Binasuan (Pangasinan)
(d) Itik-Itik (Surigao del Norte)

5. Spanish Influence Dances

Nearly 400 years of Spanish rule left an unremovable mark on the Philippines. Spain brought
with them all aspects of their culture to the Islands. This includes the Catholic faith, clothing,
and dance. The barong tagalog and the terno are Philippine interpretations of Spanish dress
made to fit the humid climate of the Philippines. Aside from creating their own versions of
European fashion, Philippine aristocrats created Filipino adaptations of European dance as
well. These include jotas, fandanggos, mazurkas and waltzes that were danced by young
socialites to the stringed music of the rondalla.


(a) Paseo de Iloilo

(b) Jota Paragua
(c) Habanera Jovencita
(d) Jota Cagayana
(e) Danza
(f) Abaruray
(e) Pandanggo sa Ilaw (Mindoro)


General Classification
A. Geographical extent of origin
1. National dances-found throughout the islands with little or no modification.
Examples: Rigodon, Carinosa, Jota, Balitaw, Pandanggo.
2. Local dances-found in a certain locality.
Examples: Tinikling-Leyte, Maglalatik-Binyang, Esperanza-Nabua, Subli-Batangas,

B. Nature
1. Occupational-depicting action of certain occupation, industry, or human labor.
Examples: Planting, Harvesting, Pounding, Winnowing, Pabirik, Mananguete, etc.

2. Religious or Ceremonial – performed in connection with religious vows and ceremonies.

Examples: Dugsu, Sua – sua, Putong, Sta. Clarang Pinong-pino, etc.
3. Comic dances – depicting funny movements for entertainment.
Examples: Kimbo – kimbo Makonggo, Kinoton

4. Game dances – with play elements (dance mixers)

Examples: Lubi – lubi, Pavo

5. Wedding dances – performed during wedding feast.

Example: Panasahan, etc.

6. Courtship dances – depicting love making.

Examples: Hele – hele, Bago Quiere, Maramion, Tadek, Daling – daling

7. Festival dances – suitable for special occasion or any social gathering.

Examples: Pandanggo, Habanera, Jota, Surtido.

8. War dances: showing imaginary combat or duel.

Examples: Sagayan, Palu-palo, etc.

C. Movements
1. Active – with fast energetic movements.
Examples: Tinikling, Maglalatik, Sakuting, Polkabal, etc.
2. Moderate - Examples: Cariñosa, Tagala, Habanera, Purpuri, etc.
3. Slow - Examples: Pasakat, Amorosa, Tiliday, Kundiman, etc.
4. Slow and Fast – Examples: Putritos, Ba-Ingles, Habanera Botoleña, Alcamfor, etc.


1. Arms in lateral position – Both arms are at one side either right or left, at shoulder, chest
or waist level.
2. Brush – Weight on one foot, hit the floor with the ball or heel of the other foot and lift
that foot from the floor to any direction.
3. Crossed Arms – Partners facing each other or standing side by side join their left hands
together and the right hands together; either right over left or left over right hands.
4. Cut – To displace quickly one foot with the other.
5. Do-si-do – Partners advance forward, pass each other’s right ( left ) side, step across to
the right move backwards without turning around, pass each other left side to proper
6. Hayon-hayon – To place one forearm in front and the other at he back of the waist.
7. Hop – A spring from one foot landing on the same foot in place or in any direction.
8. Jaleo – Partners turn around clockwise ( with right elbows almost touching ) or
counterclockwise ( with left elbows almost touching ) using walking or any kind of dance
9. Jump – A spring on one foot or both feet landing on both feet in any direction.
10. Kumintang – moving the hand from the wrist either in a clockwise or counterclockwise
11. Leap – A spring from one foot landing on the other foot in any direction.
12. Pivot – To turn with the ball, heel or whole foot on a fixed place or point.
13. Point – Touch the floor lightly with the toes of one foot, weight of the body on the other
14. Masiwak – To turn the hand from the wrist half-way clockwise then raise and lower wrist
once or twice. This is an Ibanag term.
15. Panadyak – To stamp in front or at the side with the right foot and tap with same foot
close to the left foot. This is a Tagalog term.
16. Salok – T o swing the arm downward-upward passing in front of the body as if scooping,
the trunk is bent following the movement of the arm doing the salok. This is a Tagalog
17. Saludo – Partners bow to each other, to the audience, opposite dancers, or to the
neighbors with feet together. This is of Spanish origin and is used in almost all Philippine
18. Sarok – Cross the R foot in front of the L , bend the body slightly forward and cross the
hands down in front of the R hand over the L. This is a Visayan term.
19. Slide – To glide foot smoothly along the floor. The movement may be finished with or
without transfer of weight.

There are five fundamental or basic positions in dance that are commonly termed as
1st position, 2nd position, 3rd position, 4th position, and 5th position of the feet and arms.

1st position
 Feet: Heels close together, toes apart with an angle of about 45 degrees.
 Arms: Both arms raised in a circle in front of chest with the finger tips about an inch apart.

2nd position
 Feet: Feet apart sideward of about a pace distance.
 Arms: Both raised sideward with a graceful curve at shoulder level.

3rd position
 Feet: Heel of one foot close to in-step of other foot.
 Arms: One arm raised in front as in 2nd position; other arm raised upward.

4th position
 Feet: One foot in front of other foot of a pace distance.
 Arms: One arm raised in front as in 1st position; other arm raised overhead.

5th position
 Feet: Heel of front foot close to big toe of rear foot.
 Arms: Both arms raised overhead.


2/4 time dance steps
Dance Steps Step Pattern Counting
1. Bleking step heel-place, close 1,2
2. Touch step point, close 1,2
3. Close step step, close 1,2
4. Hop step step, hop 1,2
5. Cross step step, cross or cross, step 1,2
6. Change step step, close, step 1 and 2
7. Changing step jump ( one ft. in front and
The other in rear) there are two
Changing steps in a measure 1,2
8. Contraganza step leap, cross-step, step 1 and 2
9. Habanera step step, close, step 1, 2 and
10. Heel and toe
Change step heel-place, toe-point, step, close, step 1, 2/ 1 and 2
11. Shuffling step with both feet flat on floor, take tiny
Slide steps 1 and 2 and

3/4 time dance steps

1. Native waltz step, close, step 1, 2, 3
2. Cross waltz cross-step, close, step 1, 2, 3
3. Waltz balance step, close-heels raise, heels down 1, 2, 3
4. Mazurka step slide, cut, hop 1, 2, 3
5. Redoba step slide, cut, cut 1, 2, 3
6. Sway balance w/
A point step, cross-step, step point 12, 3/ 1, 23
7. Sway balance w/
A hop step, cross-step, step, hop 12, 3/ 1, 23
8. Sway balance w/
A waltz step, cross-step, step, close, step 12, 3/ 1, 2, 3
9. Engano w/ a waltz step, cross-step, step, close, step 12, 3/ 1, 2, 3