World Arts West
SF Ethnic Dance Festival


Parangal Dance Company

DANCE ORIGIN: Philippines
First appearance in SF EDF: 2009

Parangal Dance Company is a Philippine dance company that aspires to inspire. It creates awareness and advocates for Philippine indigenous people’s culture, traditions, and stories through attire, music, and dance. Founded in 2008, the company aims to serve as a bridge, inspiring and connecting Filipino Americans to their roots to give them a sense of pride and identity, while educating diverse communities to foster awareness and appreciation of Philippine culture. Eric Solano is Artistic Director and Choreographer, and Major Julian is Music Director.


DANCE ORIGIN: Philippines
GENRE: Folkloric (Meranao)
TITLE: Kiyaprawa a ko Arkat Lawanen (The Abduction of Princess Lawanen)
DANCERS: Don Aguillo, Helen Serafino Agar, Amado Rey Arcilla, June Arellano, Brian Anthony Batugo, Jeremy Buhain, Noelle Campos, Karl Catalon, Alyssa Cortez, Marissa Cruz, Phol Degalicia, Jerico DeGuzman, Eric Dong, Matthew Dumanig, Karina Fantillo, Christine Joy Amagan Ferrer, Darren Garza, Ritchel Gazo, Emelita Hernandez-Bravo, Kristian Ilustre, Gilbert Laylay, Michael Macayan, Jonathan Mercado, Mia Merced, Lydia Neff, Devina Ojascastro, Katherine Pantangco, Rachel Perey, Nathan Perucho, Joseph Racca, Kimberly Requesto, Ophelia Nombrado Sampang, Janna San Felipe, Paul Silverio, Jet Tagle, Renalyn Tan, Dio-Ann Valmores, Denise Wong, Vincent Zabala
MUSICIANS: Amado Rey Arcilla (dabakan), Marlon Dumlao (agung) , Major Julian (kulintang), Lydia Neff (kulintang), Paul Silverio (agung), Eric Solano (dabakan)(odaiko), Carlo Chung (fue), Rie Daijo (kane), Bill Warner (odaiko)


This world premiere choreography—Kiyaprawa a ko Arkat Lawanen (The Abduction of Princess Lawanen)—tells an ancient legend from the Meranao people of Mindanao, Philippines.

Princess Lawanen of Bamberan, beauty without compare, is engaged to brave and true Prince Mabaning Ndaw Rogong, of Gandongan. Emperor Dimasangkay of Kadaraan yearns for Lawanen, so when she is exploring along the shore, he abducts her. Chaos ensues. Prince Mabaning and his warriors sail off: they will fight to retrieve her. When Bae a labi—the Queen—demands peace, Princess Lawanen returns, and her kingdom celebrates.

Four dramatic scenes are:

Welcoming at the Palace. While women dance in malong tubular skirts, the Onor plays welcoming melodies on kulintang; she chants in the classical language, pananaroon.

Abduction and Prince Mabaning’s Journey. The men dance katubaw in tubaw kerchiefs, preparing for war. The Prince arrives in his boat. A kapangentonong ritual asks for strength, courage, and forgiveness for taking lives.

Battle, Unity, and Peace. The Meranao war dance is called Sagayan. The queen sings:
Bayok: Pamomolan sa ranao so dikang giginawai:
Stop the battle, you are brothers.

Celebration—Lawanen returns
. Women dance kapagapir with fans and elegant kini-kini steps; and singkil with bamboo poles.

The Meranao—People of the Lake—live on Bukidnon-Lanao plateau, 2,200 feet high, on Mindanao, the Philippines’ southernmost island. Their farming communities circle the large, deep Lake Lanao farming rice and other crops. They are also known for elaborate symbolic wood carvings; architecture; ornate awang dugout boats; and patterned textiles.

The Abduction of Princess Lawanen is from the Merenao’s epic poem, Darangen, an oral history of 72,000 lines. Now part of UNESCO’s Intangible World Heritage, this major epic originated in ancient Sanskrit traditions with Islamic influences from the 14th century. It celebrates ancestry, mythical heroes, codes of life, death, courtship, politics, behavior, and beauty—with elegant language, symbol, irony, and satire. It has long been a treatise on what it means to be Meranao.

This performance was created with the help of Meranao Culture Bearers Salika Samad and Abdul Jabar D. Dimalna. The finale is inspired by traditional Singkil and Philippine National Artist Lucrecia Reyes-Urtula.


DANCE ORIGIN: Philippines
GENRE: Traditional—Paracelis, Mountain Province, and Lubuagan, Kalinga, Northern Luzon
TITLE: Kopyan Chi Biyeg
DANCERS: Eden Alcomendas, Amado Rey Arcilla, June Arellano, Brian Batugo, Vanessa Gomez-Brake, Alexander Cedillo, Marissa Cruz, Marielle Cuison, Mark Diao, Jason Walse-Dominguez, Christine Joy Amagan Ferrer, Veronica Forbes, Ritchel Gazo, Victoria Hafalia, Ronald Inocencio, Gilbert Laylay, Maryjo Malabuyo, Michael Macayan, Jonathan Mercado, Stephanie Montemayor, Divina Ojascastro, Nathan Perucho, Joseph Racca, Maria Lauron-Ramos, Kim Requesto, Ophelia Nombrado Sampang, Jet Tagle, Ieda Torio, Dio-Ann Valmores, Jacoby Young, Jenny Bawer Young, Denise Wong
MUSICIANS: Vanessa Gomez-Brake (solibao), Eric Dong (gansa), Ervin Lopes (gansa), Herna Cruz-Louie (gansa) Zach Raha (gansa, tongatong), Eric Solano (gansa), Denise Wong (tongatong), Bawer Young (tongatong, pateteg)

In this performance. Parangal Dance Company presented indigenous cultural dance from the rugged Cordillera Mountain Range in Northern Luzon. For the Ga’dang and Kalinga people, these dances and rituals pay homage to the gods, connect with the spirit world, and honor traditions on Earth.

The first section, Mayag si Kararwa, or Calling of the Soul, is an ancient healing tradition unique to Ga’dang communities of the Paracelis municipality. It is rarely practiced in today’s mostly Christian villages, and Parangal learned it from Ga’dang elders. In this ritual, a medium—makammang—enters a trance to channel the spirit world, calling back a human soul that has wandered off in sickness or after death. He stands at the foot of stairs in an inflicted person’s house, rolling down a sacred cloth to invite the soul’s return. The parent puts a sipat bead on the medium’s hand as payment; the assistant places a bowl of rice to catch the footprints of the returning soul. After the rite, the community celebrates with an eagle-like Tontak dance.

The second part, Manlinawa Biyeg—Home and Harmony—shows dances from Kalinga villages high in the Lubuagan mountains, a remote indigenous region that did not fall under Spanish-Christian influence. Here, Parangal presented Bay Area resident Jenny Bawer Young, a Kalinga culture-bearer from Lubuagan. These dances are from the prosperous and culturally-rich Kalinga community:

Gayang-gayang, depicting flying birds;
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;
Lilay, a finale dance for unity and peace among the Kalinga and Ga’dang.

The percussive Kalinga music is played by Parangal Dance Company and American Center of Philippine Arts on gangsa gongs in the tuppaya rhythm. The traditional clothing is created by families and communities of the Philippine culture bearers of this presentation.

Eric Solano created the pieces in 2015, drawing on 2014 field research, learning steps and music from cultural bearers and master artists: Jenny Bawer Young and Cirilo Sapi Bawer for Kalinga; Amparo Mabanag and Margareth Balansi for Ga’dang. This was Parangal’s first Cordillera presentation at our



DANCE ORIGIN: Sulu, Mindanao, Philippines
TITLE: Pangaddatan sin Ta’u Sug
GENRE: Traditional
Don Aguillo, June Arellano, Amado Rey G. Arcilla, Ray Basilio, Brian Batugo, Hazel Benigno, Vanessa Brake, Noelle Campos, Marissa Cruz, Phol Degalicia, Mark Diao, Victoria Hafalia, Ronald Inocencio, Michael Macayan, Aikenne Mauricio, Ron Mendoza, Jonathan Mercado, Mark Anthony Molina, Jordan Peralta, Rachel Perey, Kim Requesto, Josephine Rubio, Rafael Salazar, Ophelia Nombrado Sampang, Jet Tagle, Ritchel Tan Gazo, Renalyn Tan Salazar, Dio-Ann Valmores, Denise Wong
MUSICIANS: Marlon Dumlao (agung), Major Julian (kulintang), Paul Silverio (drum), Eric Solano (lubakan)

This world premiere of Pangaddatan sin Ta’u Sug 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.

This piece was created for the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival stage. The first five sections are new works by Eric Solano. The wedding finale is by Eric Solano, Alexis Javier, and Bryan Batu Ellorimo, made in Davao, Philippines, 2012. Chants by: Airia Sitti Obeso; Visual arts: Mark Tolentino; Attire: Bryan Ellorimo and Mark Tolentino.


DANCE ORIGIN: Maguindanao, Mindanao, Philippines
GENRE: Folkloric - Maguindanaoan
TITLE: Sayap
RESOURCES: Chant: Hadiya Bantugan Costume Design, Props; Music & Dance: Bryan Batu Ellorimo, Faisal Monal
DANCERS: Don Aguillo, Rey Amado Arcilla, June Arellano, Hazel Benigno, Vanessa Brake, Alex Jayson Catiggay, Julius Claros, Marissa Cruz, Jo Ann Daguman, Deanna De Castro, Phol Degalicia, Hazel Belga Dela Cruz, Mark De Leon, Marlon Dumlao, Armando Gazo, Armando Gazo, Ritchel Gazo, James Hafalia, Victoria Hafalia, Ron Inocencio, Major Julian, Gilbert Laylay, Ingrid Liggayu, Maricris Macabeo, Michael Macayan, Aikenne Mauricio, Melisa Mayeda, Mariflor Medrano, Ron Mendoza, Rachel Perey, Patricia Ong, Kimberly Requesto, Rafael Salazar, Ophelia Nombrado Sampang, Eric Solano, Jet Tagle, Renalyn Tan, Steven Tomas, Luigi Topacio, Che Che Trask, Dio-Ann Valmores
GUEST ARTISTS: Eskabo Daan Filipino Martial Arts: Aemilius Bautista, Joseph Bautista (Master)
MUSICIANS: Kawayan Folk Arts:James Bartolomé, Leeann Mangoba, Robert Guillermo, Victor Trinidad

Sayap is from Maguindanao, in Mindanao’s Pulangi River basin.The region is Islamic—Maguindanao has three Sultanates—and its rich heritage is seen in this performance of the legend of a Maguindanaoan princess:

Once, the Sultan’s favorite daughter ran away to escape an arranged marriage. She fell in love with a man beneath her social class, and disguised herself in a sayap hat to meet with him. Some people say she turned to stone for disobedience, but others say she returned home, and her father forgave her. A royal banquet was held in her honor and there, among her suitors, she saw her true love was not a common man, but a prince after all! The prince still had to prove himself through brave dancing feats. But eventually the prince and princess rode happily away in a decorated boat on the Pulangi River.

Eric Solano created this U.S. premiere presentation. His choreography follows the arc of this traditional story:

The piece begins with Bayok, a sequence of storytelling chant. Then Kabpangengedung brings us inside the royal house, as the groom’s kin whisper their intentions to arrange a marriage. Next, Silong sa Ganding showcases the continuous flickering of wrists to a rhythm called silong. The rest of the dances are: Malong, the wearing of tubular cloth in preparation of the princess wedding; Sayap, the princess meeting her lover disguised in a sayap hat; Kuntaw Minaguindanao, the fight between the groom and his rival, featuring ancient martial arts brought to the Philippines by Indonesian, Malaysian,and Chinese immigrants; Mussah, with handkerchiefs of Maguindanao’s royal colors, and flowers to show the princess’s feelings; Pagana, the royal banquet held when the princess returns; Sagayan, a dance recalling the epic of prince Bantugan; Singkil, the well-known Philippine dance with bamboo poles, showing the love triangle; Kawing, the wedding; and Guinakit, where the boat with royal flags sails away.

The company learned the legend and dances for Sayap from Faisal Monal, appointed as cultural bearer and master artist by Maguindanao Sultanates; also from Bryan Batu Ellorimo from the Philippines. The performance includes special guests from Eskabo Daan (Filipino Martial Arts) and the music is by Kawayan Folk Arts on a palabuniyan ensemble of dabakan drum and several sets of gongs.


ParangalTITLE: Subanen
DANCE ORIGIN: Lapuyan, Zamboanga, and Mindanao
CHOREOGRAPHERS: Noel Asiatico, Ramon Obusan, Eric Espartinez Solano
Noel Asiatico, Alleluia Panis of Kularts, Gauden Sireg of Subanen Cultural Master and NCCA Cludter Head of Subanen, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group
Carlo Ebeo and Anabel Ramos-Lopez
Marlon Dumlao, Armando Gazo, Romeo and Cristina Gonzalez, Major Julian, Gilbert Laylay, Ritchel Gazo, Gauden Sireg
June Arellano, Hazel Benigno, Vanessa Brake, Kimberly Buhay, Marissa Cruz, Wilford Vince Cruz, Hazel Belga Dela Cruz, Mark Diao, Marlon Dumlao, Karina Fantillo-Cruz, Ritchel Gazo, Emelita Hernandez-Bravo, Ali Ignacio, Major Julian, Gilbert Laylay, Michael Macayan, Dominika Maglasang, Jeff Mancilla, Rachel Perey, Kimberly Requesto, Ophelia Nombrado Sampang, Paul Silverio, Jet Tagle, Renalyn Tan, Andrew Tiña, Dio-Ann Valmores
James Bartolomé (babandil and karatong), Josefina Buencamino-Malabuyo (durugan), Armando Gazo (agung), Dominika Maglasang (durugan), RJ Payomo (agung), Paul Silverio (babandil and durugan), Eric Espartinez Solano (tambul)

The island of Mindanao in the Philippines is home to over fifty indigenous or non-Islamic groups collectively called Lumad. The largest of these groups is the Subanen (People of the River) from Lapuyan, Zamboanga Del Sur. Parangal presents dances from the Subanen, in this order:

Ritual—Daga-salangsang: The community gathers and places nipa leaves in a circle to ward off bad spirits. An offering of boiled egg, betel nut chew, and cooked rice are placed on a tapi. Chicken blood is placed in an antique bowl and the Balian taps on it to summon beneficial spirits. The sipping of pangasi, rice wine, ends the ceremony.

Sohten: A dance of male strength and stoicism, calling the deities with the sounds from dlasag (shields) adorned with balasi (small shells) and saliringan leaves. Gongs and drums sound. Women play syncopation on besalen or bowls representing Subanen’s trade with China.

Dumadel: A dance of bountiful harvest.

Thalek: A celebration after a ritual or bountiful harvest, danced to establishgood will in the community and to invite and receive blessings: performed with saliringan leaves and taming scythes, clashing bamboo, and rhythmic agung.

Shelayan & Khinlesung: The elderly Balian teaches the Shelayan rite to the younger generation: healing the sick under moonlight. The swinging sinalimba represents a mythic vessel used for journey; a dancer needs considerable skill to board it.

The traditional music includes the agung—a single brass gong, the durugan—a hollowed log drum; and a tambul or drum.

Subanen was created in 2010. Eric Solano choreographed the ritual dance, Thalek, and the finale, Shelayan & Khinlesung. Sohten is by Philippine National Artist Ramon Obusan. Dumadel is by Noel Asiatico.


Title: Pag-Alintabo ni Manama
Eric Espartinez Solano
Karina Fantillo-Cruz, Emelita Hernandez-Bravo, Renalyn Tan Salazar
Dance Resources:
Alleluia Panis of Kularts, Basilidas Pilapil Jr., Bai Liza Saway (Talaandig); Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group (Bagobo); Gloria "Dulit" Emag, John Christian Jardin, Narino Matias Maniapao, Ama Ruperto Emag (Tagbanua)
June Arellano (lead), Hazel Benigno (lead), Vanessa Brake, Kimberly Buhay, Julius Claros (master), Aethel Cruz, Angela Cruz, Marissa Cruz, Gretchen Cube Lactao, Mark Diao, Marlon Dumlao (master), Alan Evangelista, Karina Fantillo-Cruz, Karl Gavero, Emelita Hernandez-Bravo, Gilbert Laylay, Ali Lazaga Ignacio, Maricris Macabeo, Mary Jo Malabuyo, Melisa Mayeda, Mark Ophelia, Chad Ortega, Rachel Perey, Chielo Playda, Klyden Roca, Ritchel Tan Gazo (master), Renalyn Tan Salazar, Nombrado Sampang, Andrew C. Siy, Jet Tagle, Andrew Tiña, Christyn Tiu, Shelly Tomas Camisa
Josefina Buencamino-Malabuyo (babandil/kulintang/agung), Armando Gazo (agung), Major Julian (kulintang/kubing), RJ Payomo (kulintang/parintak), Paul Silverio (agung/babandil), Eric Espartinez Solano (dabakan/gimbal)

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:

Panendan Ta Wahig
is performed in the late afternoon beside a river. The Talaandig reconnect and reconcile with river spirits, in gratitude for blessings they've received.

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 coins; zigzag dresses remind women they are children of the colorful pagpayok bird; and singgil bells are music to the spirits' ears.

Sugod Uno
is a Bagobo prayer for choosing fertile fields. The field is selected, the men dig holes with talapak poles, women place grains of rice, and then the dancers celebrate. The music is played on agung drum, and on unique Bagobo tangunggo gongs hung on bamboo frames.

("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.

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

is the final thanksgiving for the harvest.


TITLE: Madal
Genre: Lumad—Bagobo, T’boli, B’laan, and Mandaya
Choreographers: June Arellano (Makatod), Julius Claros (Madal), Ritchel Gazo (Madal), Eric Solano
Original Choreography:
Bayanihan Philippine Dance Company (Madal Blelah, Blit-B'laan, Makatod), Ramon Obusan (Madal Taho, Lawin-Lawin), Parangal Dance Company (Madal Intro, Finale)
Dance Masters:
Julius Claros, Marlon Dumlao, Ritchel Gazo, Gilbert Laylay, Jet Tagle
Dance Consultant:
Karina Fantillo
Millet Alcanices, Rey Amado Arcilla, June Arellano, Hazel Benigno, Julius Claros, Marissa Cruz, Mark Diao, Marlon Dumlao, Karl Gavero, Ritchel Gazo, AliIgnacio, Hebert Jamir, Gilbert Laylay, Maricris Macabeo-Ong, Melisa Mayeda, Ron Mendoza, Klyden Roca, Jet Tagle, Renalyn Tan-Salazar, Andrew Tiña, Shelly Tomas-Camisa
Armando Gazo (agung), Major Julian (kulintang, gabang), Jojo B. Malabuyo (agung), Eric Solano (dabakan) 

From Mindanao Island in the Philippines, Parangal Dance Company presents narrative bird dances, as they are performed in Lumad festivities. Lumad means "indigenous"—it is the collective name used by eighteen non-Islamic ethno-linguistic groups. The Lumad are about a fifth of the country's population: some live a modern Filipino lifestyle, and others live in remote forests, lowlands, and coastal areas. Their dances remain deeply rooted in place; agricultural rites, marriage ceremonies, and tribal gatherings are celebrated with dance, and the choreography shows a close attention to nature.  

Madal is in six parts:

Madal Prelude is a world premiere, inspired by Lumad dances.

Lawin-Lawin is a Bagobo rite-of-passage dance performed by sons of the datu, or chieftan. The dance shows the maturation of an eagle (lawin) from egg to adulthood. As the eagle battles with strong mountain winds, he eventually finds his strength.

Madal Taho/Madal Blelah is a T'boli dance portraying a mythical bird whose feathers contain the colors of all known birds. Note the beauty and careful dress of T'boli women—embroidered tops, tubular lewek skirts, hilot girdles, and hair in well-kept locks.

Blit-B'laan is a courtship dance of the B'laan, imitating birds during mating season. The females scurry away, burying their heads under their wings, and the males enjoy the chase. The B'laan women wear elaborate blouses, necklaces, anklets, tiny bells, aromatic roots, and flowers. The men wear equally ornate jackets over tight-fitting trousers.

In Makatod, a rite of passage from the Davao Mandayan, a young prince is born high by courtiers. The Mandaya dress uses distinctive block designs, line patterns, rickrack, and scrolls.

Madal Final, also a world premiere, is an original piece that affirms the community’s unity and distinct identities.

Traditional Lumad instruments pace the dancers: the agung, bamboo, gabang, and dabakan pace the first five pieces. In the last piece, the kulintang (eight graduated, small gongs) provides the melody and rhythm.

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