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The Yakan are the indigenous inhabitants of the island province of Basilan in Sulu Archipelago, southern Philippines. The Yakan women are known to be the finest weavers in the Philippines and entire Southeast Asia. Aside from weaving, the Yakans are agriculturists growing upland rice. The traditional cycle of rice production is depicted in the hand gestures and footwork stances of their dances.

Culture Bearers

Brainy & Saripa Ilul

Natives of Basilan and resident of Zamboanga City. They are coop members of Yakan Weaving Center. Kuya Brainy is the Yakan groom featured in the Sina Unang Habi book by Marian Pastor Roces. Ate Saripa is weaver and proud wife of Brainy Ilul. ensures this tradition continues to thrive and passed down to the next generation. They both have been Parangal’s culture bearer since 2011. Purchase your Yakan attires and instruments needs here

Nanak Ahaddas

A resident of Lamitan City in Basilan. She was born in 1972 in Bohebessey and grew up in Badja, Tipo-tipo. She started to dance Yakan pamansak at the age of five and has passed on this knowledge and tradition to generations of today and to her children. In addition to Pamansak, she is also knowledgeable in playing various instruments of Parageyan Kwintangan.

Yakan Attire

Yakan Pis Men’s headpiece/scarf weaved for daily use or special occasions (left to right)

Pis Pangantin - groom


Pis Ilalik - with design


Pis Abahi - elders


Pis Kasubulan - teens, young adults


PC Sina Unang Habi, Matt Harris, RJ Muna

The Yakan bride or Pangantin dende is identified or recognized in the pagkawin (wedding) in several ways - other than the face paint or design called bulak bulakan is by the headpiece

Left to Right
Tempeng Pangantin (left) with moon shaped headpiece - hibulan (Center)

or the most commonly used

the Simbong Pangantin (right) headpiece wrapped on the brides bun in style called simbongan with dublun (coins) and sugley (comb) decorated with mussa (various colored gems)


The bulakan refers to the designs on the pangantin’s (bride and groom) faces with the use of tengkoleyang batakan (sticks with various designs). It signifies beauty, purity, and also to hide couple’s identities from evil spirits. Tanyak tanyak means to design.

Images by (left to right) Jet Tagle, Maricris Macabeo, Phol Degalicia, and Mark Tolentino

Inspired Dances

Pamansak is general Yakan term meaning to dance. It is traditional dance form that predates Islam and Christianity consisting of languid arm movements.  Yakan have shared heritage with neighboring indigenous communities in Sulu archipelago - Pangalay (Ta’u Sug) and Igal (Sama). Pamansak can be performed with or without the kukko or janggay 

  • Pamansak (couple dance)

  • Pamansak Lella (male) or Pamansak Dende (female) if performed individually

  • Pamansak meh Karendehan (dance of the maidens)


Tumahik is considered real dance of the Yakan. As part of tradition, It is performed by the groom prior to the wedding to show his courage in protecting the bride and their family.

Parageyan Kamatettoahan


Parageyan (Works) Kamatettoahan (Ancestors)

  1. Fatiha*

  2. Tuntungan/Megtanem Paley*

  3. Tennun*

  4. Mag eddo dawen Pandan *

  5. Megtud Pangantin* 

  6. Tumahik*

  7. Pagkawin* 

  8. Pamansak Pangantin**

  9. Pamansak meh Karendehan*

  10. Ngeddek**

Pansak Si Laley
Pansak si Bangku

Yakan Culture Bearers: Brainy Ilul, Nanak Ahaddas, Uwang Ahaddas, and Ahaddas Family

Pamansak meh Karendehan inspired from Nanak Ahaddas

Ngeddek Resource: Nanak Ahaddas, Earl F Pasilan

*New **Restaged

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