top of page
Parangal at Merrie Monarch 2017

Merrie Monarch Ho'ike

Hilo, Big Island | April 19, 2017

"Parangal Dance Company, a San Francisco-area dance troupe under the artistic direction of Eric Solano and music direction of Major Julian, performed dances from indigenous peoples in Luzon to the north, Visayas in the center of the island chain and Mindanao in the south of the Philippines. One dance in particular, a tribute to the Ata Manobo of northeastern Mindanao, chronicles the plight of the tribe at the hands of corporate and paramilitary interests. Julian noted “a parallel” in the plight of the Ata Manobo to struggles faced by Native Hawaiians and Native Americans, and the group proved to be a crowd favorite."

- John Burnett | Hawaii Tribune Herald

View the original article at Hawaii Tribune Herald

Pangalay (Ta’u Sug)

Origin: Sulu Archipelago, Southern Philippines | Culture Bearer: Sitti Obeso
Photo by Hawaii Herald Tribune

Photo by Hawaii Herald Tribune

Showcases the customs and traditions of the Ta'u Sug in a love story portrayed through chants, music, and dances. Ta'u Sug are known for their colorful vinta boats and mastery in weaving, embroidery, pottery, and goldsmithing. Ta'u Sug's are well known for dance - Pangalay, rooted in tradition that predates the arrivals of both Christianity and Islam in the Philippines--performed with elongated brass janggay fingernails, taut-taut wave-like arm movements, and bunga lima or hand gestures. Parangal combines traditional and contemporary Pangalay dance in a rare presentation in full regalia.

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. 

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.

​Lami-Lamihan (Yakan)

Origin: Lamitan, Basilan, Mindanao Southern Philippines | Culture Bearer: Earl Pasilan

Photo by Hawaii News Now

Lami-lamihan is the grandest feast of the Yakan people from Basilan, Mindanao. It is celebrated after a bountiful harvest, and a wedding is one of the highlights of the event. The piece opens with Pansak Pagkawin (tribute to Philippine National Artist, Ramon Arevalo Obusan of Ramon Obusan Folkloric group) showcasing the traditional way Yakans prepare for a wedding, Tumahik the only real Yakan dance, Pagtobbok or face paint on the bride and groom to hide their identity from evil spirits; Pansak si Karendehan, meaning Yakan maiden’s dance, exhibiting languid arm and hand gestures remiscent of Yakan Princess, Lily Cuevas. 

Ngeddek, meaning to plant, which depicts movements related to the traditional cycle of rice production.  Pansak si Laley, laley, meaning plates; Seven plates for 7 days of the week and footstools of the 7 mythical maidens called biradalli or daughters of the rainbow. Pansak si Bangku, dancing on top of a small bench, depicts the milling and threshing of palay or rice done by striking the balls and heels of the feet.

​Sayap (Maguindanao)

Origin: Maguindanao, Mindanao, Southern Philippines | Culture Bearer:  Faisal Monal

Sayap is the legend of Bai Manisan, a princess from Maguindanao, in Mindanao's Pulangi River basin. This elaborate presentation features a full stage of traditional dancers, traditional attire, symbolic flags, golden umbrellas, a royal banquet, a Maguindanaoan boat, and the mesmerizing music of gongs and drums. 

The piece begins with Bayok, a sequence of storytelling chant. 

Sagayan, a dance recalling the epic of prince Bantugan

Silong sa Ganding showcases the continuous flickering of wrists to a rhythm called silong. 

Kuntaw the fight between the groom and his rival, featuring ancient martial arts brought to the Philippines by Indonesian, Malaysian, and Chinese immigrants

Malong, the wearing of tubular cloth in preparation of the princess wedding

Pagkawin, the Maguindanao’s royal wedding leading to highlight of celebration, Singkil

Guinakit, where the boat with royal couple sails away.

Kopyan Chi Biyeg (Ga’dang & Kalinga)

Kopyan Chi Biyeg showcases the important aspects of Ga'dang and Kalinga culture from the Cordillera (Mountain) Region of the Philippines - the homage to their gods, connection with spirit world, and keeping traditions here on earth.
Kopyan chi biyeg is a phrase in the Kalingadialect meaning rituals and traditions of life. 


Ga’dang Origin:  Paracelis Mountain, Province, Northern Luzon | Culture Bearer: Amparo Mabanag, Margareth Balansi

The Ga'dang are the main inhabitants of the Paracelis municipality in the Mountain Province region in Northern Philippines. The community gathers and celebrates with an eagle-like Tontak dance.

Inhabiting the rugged and sloping terrain of Kalinga province, the Kalinga people are one of the indigenous groups of the Cordillera mountain range of northern Luzon. This mountainous terrain provided protection for the Kalingaagainst attempts by the Spaniards to occupy them, and as a result, they were able to maintain their customs and traditions


Kalinga Origin Lubuagan, Kalinga, Northern Luzon:  Culture Bearer:  Jenny Bawer Young


Kalinga Origin Lubuagan, Kalinga, Northern Luzon:  Culture Bearer:  Jenny Bawer Young

Origin: Lubuagan, Kalinga

Manbuka, showing villagers working and singing, “Let’s build rice terraces. It is a source of life;”

Kalasag, a warrior dance;

Bodong, showing a peace pact between elders known as pangat;

Salip, demonstrating courtship dances from three Kalinga areas: slow-motion pieces from Balbalan; and Tinglayan/Lubuagan dances resembling eagles

Pag-alintabo ni Manama

Origin:  Aborlan, Palawan | Culture Bearer: Naring Maniapao

The Philippine islands of Palawan and Mindanao contain over fifty indigenous non-Islamic communities, collectively called Lumad. The connection between the Lumad and the spirit world is a kind of perpetual parabola, with gifts given and returned. A babaylan or shaman, usually female, acts as healer, protector, seer, and the bridge between worlds.

Pag-alintabo ni Manama means "the blazing radiance of the gods." The ritual dance, chant, and trance elements of this performance bring wisdom and spiritual transcendence to the Philippine indigenous people in six people:

Pagdidiwata ("imploring the aid of the supernatural") is a Tagbuana dance to mend warring factions. The babaylan becomes possessed and whisks coconut leaves to drive away harmful spirits.

Tarek, the babaylan hears the closing drum and babandil gong. As the community celebrates, she performs a ritual to prevent illness.

Dugso (Talaandig) 

Origin:  Sungco, Lantapan, Bukidnon, Mindanao | Culture Bearer: Bai Liza Saway

In Dugso, a Talaandig babaylan helps women entertain deities. She keeps the fire burning, as smoke carries prayers to the gods. Headdresses are made of feathers, twigs, beads, yarn, and coin5s; zigzag dresses remind women they are children of the colorful pagpayok bird; and singgil bells are music to the spirits' ears.

Nadura dang kinaadman (Panay Bukidnon & Ata Manobo) World Premiere

(Nadura – lost; dang – the; kinaadman - inherent (culture, possession, land, talent)

The objective of the presentation is to highlight the rich traditions of Panay Bukidnon and Ata Manobo while creating awareness on the impact of modernization & technology for Panay Bukidnon and plight of indigenous people in Mindanao - displacement/evacuation due to harassment, ancestral domain claims, and attacks/killings of indigenous people leaders/elders to due to resistance of environmental plunder

Ata Manobo

(Paquibato District, Davao City, Mindanao, Southern Philippines)

Culture Bearers: Datu Edwin Omo, Biyo Alma Omo, Erlinda Casiaman, Conchita Maclaan, Datu Tiboy Antay

  • Tanu won Guinawa (land is life)

    • In courtship, couple opens piece with ulahing (chanting or singing) as they go back to the community, men are showcased cutting trees for many uses: raft, firewood for cooking, to play their traditional instrument bangkakaw. Women help pick up the smaller branches carried in their baskets. On their way home, paramilitary, is introduced as they are known to hang around the village, disrupting daily lives, schools, etc

  • Kasuluhan (community)

    • The village is happy and celebrating in music and dance. The main instrument is the bangkakaw or tree log, suspended between tripods played usually by 3 women (using ando or long staff ) and 2 men (using sticks to balance the sound produced by three women)

  • Ugsulungon (intrusion)

    • Paramilitary takes over - hurting the village, harassing women, bullying, causing chaos

  • Bakwit (evacuation)

    • Many indigenous groups today especially in Mindanao experience the intrusion in their village, they are forced to leave the land they have cultivated to survive. Some are able to return to the village. Thousands today are still at refugee camps awaiting and continuing to fight. The scene ends with community escaping, evacuating, using the rivers and mountains to find new land or camps. Manobo’s live close to the river, the raft, sail, and song signify hope

Panay Bukidnon (Barangay Garangan, Calinog, Iloilo)

Culture Bearers: Leopoldo Caballero, Romulo Caballero, Federico Caballero, Rolando Caballero, Lucia Caballero, Regina C Villanueva, Teresita Caballero Castor, Regina C Villanueva


Panay Bukidnon (Barangay Garangan, Calinog, Iloilo)

Culture Bearers: Leopoldo Caballero, Romulo Caballero, Federico Caballero, Rolando Caballero, Lucia Caballero, Regina C Villanueva, Teresita Caballero Castor, Regina C Villanueva


Pahampangon - ancestors or elders that have passed cause sickness to one of the community members, spitting blood. This is their means to be able to return.  It begins with community in halay hanging embroidered red cloths to serve as pathway from the heavens.  The babaylan (shaman), possessed by spirits, is assisted by tagasangawad (assistant) perform the ritual to heal the sick.

Binukot (well kept maiden/princess) is no longer carried out as a tradition or largely waning due to education and modernization. Binukot is the master of several traditions – suguidanon (epic), panubok (embroidery), music, and the only time she ever touches the salog (bamboo floor) at home is when she dances the binanog - dance imitating the movements of the banog or eagle.

Binanog dance thrives and is being passed on to next generation. Traditionally it is performed by the following:

  • Tigbabayi - female only

  • Tiglalaki - female and male (courtship)

  • Lupit - two females, one malen (courtship)

Pahampuro is the finale of the piece showcasing the community’s knowledge and aspiration to keep the Panay Bukidnon’s symbolic dance, binanog, alive including traditional attire, hair, and adornments. The ensemble encourages each other to do dance more, be more lively and aggressive by doing the Ta-taa form of singing “ha lay tey” or “ha la ka tey” while the others play rhythmic sounds on the floor. At the end portrays batibot when female is ready to capture the male using panyo or handkerchief

Thank you Aunty Luana for inviting us and opportunity to present Philippine Arts and Inspired Traditions of Indigenous People through Attire, Music, and Dance


Parangal Pamilya for your time, talent, generosity and sharing passion of Philippine dance - making Merrie Monarch journey possible. Thank you!


Thank you Kuya Iris, Paul, Sean, and to all hosts and sponsors for warm welcome and all the help during our stay.


Media:  Hawaii Herald Tribune, The Fil-Am Courier, Kapa Radio | Photos: Alex Vergara, Angie Santiago

bottom of page