World Arts West
SF Ethnic Dance Festival


Hiyas Philippine Folk Dance Company

First Appearance in SF EDF: 2005

Hiyas Philippine Folk Dance Company was formed in 2003 by dance enthusiasts who enjoy the beauty of Filipino folk dance. Following the statement of Philippine national artist and folk dance research pioneer Francisca Reyes-Aquino, “Let folk dances be as they are - of the folk. We cannot sacrifice heritage for progress,” Hiyas presents Filipino folk dance in its most traditional form in an era where authentic steps and movements are modernized or forgotten. “Hiyas” (pronounced hee-yahs) means “jewel” or “gem,” and its members truly treasure Philippine folk arts and culture. Hiyas is proudly a part of the nonprofit Filipino Youth Coalition, promoting cultural awareness.


GENRE: Folkloric
Himig Sa Nayon
Justin Mambaje
Justin Arce, Jeff Bado, Kyla Bado, Reyna Berania, Michelle Cruz, Romeo Culla, Allison Fernandez, Jacob Gagarin, Jayvee Mamuyac, Ian Mangulabnan, Reneé Maningding, Andrea Perez, Brandon Rabanal, Jessa Rabanal, Robert Ragazza, Janin Reyes, Jefferson Rosete, Kristynne Rulloda, Eric San Juan, Chelsea Sioxson, Jon Sioxson, Kirsten Collene Sioxson, Carla Ucol, Jocelle Valera, Jeff Vez, Joshua Vez
JT Gagarin, Justin Mambaje, Ernest Maningding, Joseph Pham

Himig Sa Nayon,
or Music of the Countryside, presents the celebrated dances of rural Philippine farmers. This collection comes from Christian communities living in the lowland regions, and the staging is a typical festive setting in the Philippine countryside, a landscape of endless beauty. After a hard day’s work, barrios host impromptu dance parties, their dances reflecting their lives: dances of animals and plants, and of the joys and dangers of rural life.

The dances are, in this order:

Tupaan—meaning “to strike against.” After a hard day’s work making bucayo coconut candy, the community amuses themselves by dancing with split coconut shells, striking the rims in syncopated rhythms.

Ti Silaw & Gaod combines two dances from Cabangan. Ti silaw means light, and this dance shows women warning fisherman of an approaching storm, and guiding them to shore with their lights. Gaod is a paddle dance, invented by fun-loving fisherman.

Saway ed Tapew Na Bangko is literally the dance on top of a bench, a piece that clearly requires skill and balance.

Pasikat Na Baso, to show off with a drinking glass, also displays the dancers’ balance, grace, and skill, especially when the glasses are full.

The final dance, Tinikling, is the well-known Filipino bamboo dance. It imitates the movements of the tikling bird, a long-legged, long-necked creature that skillfully navigates grass stems and runs over tree branches. The dancers must step in perfect rhythm between moving bamboo poles, or they risk being caught.

The music for these dances is played by a rondalla music ensemble. Musicians play guitar, upright bass, and the bandurria and octavina, acoustic instruments with fourteen strings, Philippine renditions of the 12-string Spanish mandolin. The costumes are typical work clothes of rural lowland people.




TITLE: Tabi Ng Dagat
Justin Mambaje
Mane Alipio, Justin Arce, Annie Bado, Cheyne Bado, Darren Bado, Jeff Bado, Kyla Bado, Reyna Berania, Romeo Culla, Jeffrey Flores, AJ Gomez, Camille Mamaril, Jayvee Mamuyac, Renee Maningding, Kristynne Rulloda, Chelsea Sioxson, Jon Sioxson, KC Sioxson, Bryan Subijano, Janice Tembrina, Jarleen Vallejo, Jeff Vez, Kristine Woldegiorgis
Jasper Barros (octavina), Jordan Gabriel (guitarra),Justin Mambaje (bandurria), Ernest Maningding (bass)

Along an island shore, Filipino dancers wrap lighted oil lamps in their fishnets, and dance in gratitude and celebration. They swing the lamps up to the stars in great arcs, dancing like Earth-bound constellations, lights reflecting in the sea—

It's hard to say exactly when Philippine dance became formalized. In the Philipine Archipelago, hundreds of tiny islands dot the Philippine and South China Seas—and thousands of villages traditionally depended upon the bounty of the sea. When fishing boats returned full, villagers celebrated with impromptu dance and song. Chinese, Spanish, and Indonesian invaders brought their own cultural influences, and impromptu dances became stylized, developing a distinctive musical and dance tradition.

Tabi Ng Dagat is a suite of traditional rural dances, with music or steps influenced by the Spanish. Choreographer and Artistic Director, Justin Mambaje presents the most authentic forms of these dances—with steps learned from manuscripts of Philippine national artist and folk dance research pioneer Francesca Reyes-Aquino. The dancers wear typical rural attire, staying cool and protected under the tropical sun.

Inalimanggo is a name for the mud crab in Pan-ay, Capiz. The dancers intertwine arms and legs, mimicking frenzied crabs. For the Pangasinense, oasioas means swinging. This skillful dance features the balancing and swinging of oil lamps. It roots are in a celebration of the fishing harvest, danced by the people of Lingayen. Sinubihan, which means back and forth, originated in a ballgame played with a fish basket. Players formalized the steps and sequence, and rondalla musicians transformed it into a dance. Tinikling is the Philippine's favorite dance, and a favorite in Leyte, Visayan Islands. The dance mimics the tikling bird as it dodges bamboo traps, lifting long legs to run between grass stems and branches.

The music is traditional, and the rondalla is the Filipino version of the mariachi band, as its three instruments—the bandurria, octavina, and guittara—are all Spanish-influenced.



Jeff Bado
Justin Mambaje
Jennelyn Alipio, Ma Alipio, Mykenn Alipio, Leandra Almario, Justin Arce, Annie Bado, Cheyne Bado, Jeff Bado, Kyla Bado, Reyna Berania, Genieline Cristobal, Romeo Culla, Jeffrey Flores, Tim Heraldo, Krista Imus, Joses Magno, Ernest Maningding, Renee Maningding, Grace Pasibe, Kristynne Rulloda, Bryan Subijano, Janice Tembrina, Mica Vista, Roel Vista, Ryan Vista, Kristine Woldegiorgis
Anthony Cacao (laud), Justin Mambaje (bandurria), Teddy Veracruz (guitar)

The Philippines is an archipelago—a scattering of many tiny islands between the Philippine and South China Seas in Southeast Asia. These islands have been inhabited by distinct indigenous groups for centuries. As well, Chinese, Indonesian and Spanish invaders journeying to these "little lands" have left behind imprints of their customs, art and language.

The Barrio Fiesta Suite is part of a larger work called Himig Sa Nayon, meaning, "country folk song" in Tagalog. It celebrates the endless beauty of the Philippine countryside and depicts the rural farmers gathering together in their barrios after a hard days work to amuse themselves and relax through impromptu dances. Over time, certain dances became town favorites and eventually became more structured.

Hiyas' Barrio Fiesta Suite recreates a barrio scene of lively, daring and entertaining dances with onlookers cheering on. Although the dances presented in this suite come from different parts of the country, they share some common features. Pandanggo Sa Ilaw, meaning "dance with lights" comes from the west central island, Mindoro, first visited by the Spaniards in 1570. It is a Filipino adaptation of the Spanish Fandango where female dancers skillfully balance oil lamps on their heads and the back of their hands.

The suite continues with the Karatong, coming from the southwest island of Cuyo in the Palawan province. Often done at the annual parade of San Agustine, this dance celebrates the blossoming mango trees. Processing from church patio to town plaza, groups of ladies sway their bunga manga, representing mango flowers, while men strike their karatong, a bamboo percussion instrument.

Honored as the Philippine's national dance, Tinikling is a favorite in the east central island of Leyte. The dance imitates the movement of the long-legged tikling bird as it walks between grass stems, runs over tree branches, or dodges bamboo traps set by rice farmers. Skill is demonstrated in the dancing between fast-moving bamboo poles.

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