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TA'U SUG

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).

Sitti Obeso, Ta’u Sug Culture Bearer

Sitti Airia Sangkula Askalani-Obeso or Aunty Lingling, a Ta'u Sug, Cultural Bearer and former member of the pioneering Ta'u Sug performing arts, founded in the 1970's, the Dayang-Dayang Dance Troupe. Aunty lingling lives in Davao city and has been Parangal's culture bearer since 2011 with first work, Pangaddatan sin Ta'u Sug, world premiere in 2014 at #sfedf. She has taught us songs, prayers, legends, and also helped with #janggay we use today. She actively performs and teaches the Ta'u Sug children and community in Davao. Aunty also helped build our #Pangalay vocabulary in various hand gestures #bungalima and footwork.

World Premiere of latest work, Kissa sin Kasi Lasa, as part of Parangal’s 10th Anniversary show, Padayon in 2018. New dances added to repertoire are Palikkat, Manglulurup, and Kaldang Pattong.

Pangaddatan sin Ta’u Sug

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: 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.

Kissa sin kasi Lasa

The second work with Sitti Obeso, Kissa sin kasi Lasa (Song of Love), world premiered on October 2018 celebrating Parangal’s 10th anniversary.

A story about a couple, Fatima and Mohammad, in love who who have lost hope when Mohammad was thought to have been lost or drowned from fishing. As time went on, their song, Kissa sin kisa lassa, brought them back together. The world premiere dances narrates this love story

Lupah Sug - song describing the place and people of Ta’u Sug

Pangalay Kabkab - Pangalay incorporating use of kabkab (fans) and martial arts

Kaldang Pattong - Fishing on stilts

Palikkat won Pangalay - Showcases the various of wearing the palikkat or tubular cloth

Pangalay ha Baluy - Pangalay on mats called baluy. The mats symbolize the life cycle because it is used from birth, through marriage and livelihood.

Manglulurup - Dance depicting sea hunters

Naglawag - Depicts the community searching (naglawag) for a lost loved one

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.

Photo: Rapt Productions | This is it Photography

Resource: Sitti Obeso & Mark Tolentino