The Philippine countryside is a land bestowed with endless beauty and many think of it as the true Philippines. This may be 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 perform many impromptu and lively dances as a form of relaxation. These dances personify their joys in their work, in their surroundings, and in living among the simple country people. 

Northern Philippines

PANDANGGO-OASIOAS

Pandanggo-Oasioas is a combination of two dances. Pandanggo refers to a dance of lights from Lubang Island, Mindoro, where dancers balance three lighted tinghoy, or oil lamps. Oasioas comes from Lingayen, Pangansinan and means “swinging.” After a good catch, the fishermen of Lingayen would celebrate by drinking wine and dancing, swinging and circling a lit-up lamp.

BINASUAN

Binasuan means to dance with the use of a drinking glass in Pangansinan. Dancers display good balance and graceful movements while balancing the baso or glass: one on the head and one on the palm of each hand, while executing fast turns, sitting, and rolling on the floor, without spilling a single drop.

SUBLI SINALA

Subli, supposedly a combination of “subsub” and “bali,” meaning “stooped” and “broken,” by the Sinala, meaning “selected” or “chosen one,” is performed as an act of devotion directed towards a miraculous cross referred to as the “Poon.” It is performed in a gesture of supplication for good harvest, healing, improvement of finances, or the general well-being of the barrio. It is also performed by devotees to fulfill spiritual vows. 

Central Philippines

GAWAY-GAWAY

Originating from Jaro, a small town in Leyte, children celebrate a bountiful harvest of the gaway root crop. They imitate the pulling of the stalks, hitting their elbows in a movement called siko-siko.

KURATSA

The Kuratsa is highly favored in the Visayas region, especially by the Waray people, and was very popular throughout the country during the Spanish era. Different regions have their own versions of the dance, and the movements vary with the individual dancers in each locality, but the traditional elements are retained.

TINOLABONG

This is a favorite dance of the mountain people in the barrios of Panitan and Loctugan, Capiz. The dance imitates the movement of the tolabong bird, a long-necked and long-winged heron that rides atop a carabao while picking insects off its back.

TINIKLING

Though not the national dance, Tinikling is the most popular dance in the Philippines. The dance imitates the movements of the tikling birds as they walk between grass and stems, run over tree branches, or dodge bamboo traps set by farmers. Tikling birds are known to have legendary grace and speed.