The Ta’u Sug are the coastal “people of the current”, known for their colorfully-painted vinta boats and their mastery of crafts. They’re also known for pangalay, a traditional form that predates Christianity and Islam in the Philippines Sulu Archipelago. The style is performed with elongated brass fingernails (janggay), arm movements that look like waves (taut taut), and various bunga lima (hand gestures).
This world premiere of Pangaddatan sin Ta’u Sug, in 2014 at the 36th Annual San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, showcases the customs and traditions of the Ta’u Sug of Mindanao—a love story from the Sulu Archipelago. The Ta’u Sug are the coastal “people of the current”, known for their colorfully-painted vinta boats and their mastery of crafts. They’re also known for this dance — pangalay, a traditional form that predates Christianity and Islam in the Philippines. The style is performed with elongated brass janggay fingernails, arm movements that look like waves, and bunga lima hand gestures. In this rare and exciting presentation, Parangal combines traditional and contemporary pangalay dance in full regalia.
The six sections open with a prayer:
Hinang-hinang: Fishermen on vinta boats prepare to catch fish or dive for pearls on the open sea.
Pangalay ha Agung: Men show their prowess in agung gong-playing, vying for the affection of dancing maidens.
Langka Budjang: The maidens dance obliviously—as men fight for their love. The winner claims his bride.
Paglami-lami: The community celebrates, carrying food in elaborate tutup dulang and dancing pangalay at the wedding feast.
Ba’at Pangantin: A wedding serenade and a ritual called littuk-littukan. The couple’s faces are painted with a design to express purity and ward off evil spirits.
Pangalay ha Baluy: The couple dances the pangalay on mats called baluy. The mats symbolize the life cycle because it is used from birth, through marriage and livelihood.
The dancers wear traditional clothing, including the men’s badju lapi tops, sawal pants, and headpieces; and the women’s embroidered tubes are called habul tiyahian. The wall décor is the Tree of Life and the three-tailed banner stands for the three sultanates of Mindanao. Musicians play the kulintang, a series of graded brass gongs; the lubakan drum; and the large gong called agung. The music is umaral music, the music of pangalay.
Photo: Rapt Productions | This is it Photography
Resource: Sitti Obeso & Mark Tolentino