NATIONAL/ETHNIC IDENTITY: Philippines ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: Rudi Soriano First appearance in SF EDF: 1994 Website:likha.org
Founded in 1992 as a performing group by Rudi Soriano, LIKHA-Pilipino Folk Ensemble believes in the power of dance and music to share the beauty of Philippine culture. LIKHA has grown into an arts organization with a diverse breadth of programs and performances, representing the Philippines in 11 international festivals. LIKHA continually expands its repertoire and maintains authentic costuming, props, and instruments—by researching, developing, and nurturing relationships with diverse communities throughout the Philippines.
DANCE ORIGIN: Philippines GENRE: Folkloric (Mandayan and Tboli) TITLE:Birds in Flight: Sayaw ng Lawin; Kadal Blelah ARTISTIC DIRECTOR/CHOREOGRAPHER: Rudi Soriano MUSIC DIRECTOR: OJ Pahati COSTUME DIRECTOR: Warren Manuntag PROPERTIES DIRECTOR: Manuel De Vera, Jr. DANCERS: Eric Abad, Ashley Acosta, Janine Baluyot, Abraham Cabangbang, Cristin Carandang, Lolita Castillo, Raymond Centeno, Irene Coyco, Tina Cruz, Isabella Cuenco, Chris Dugay, Maurice Fortner, Janice Hutalla, Vincent Hutalla, Scarlet McClure, Chris Munoz, Kristin Nepacena, Cynthia Obusan, Oliver Obusan, Marie Oliveros, Michael Palad, Paulino Tamayo MUSICIANS: Beverly Cruz (kalatong), Edward Cruz (hegolung, kulintang), RP Cuenco (gimbal), Manuel De Vera, Jr. (kumbing), Angelo Macaraeg (agung), Omar Pahati (agung)
In Mindanao, the Philippines’ largest and most southern island, the giant Lawin eagle soars above the rainforest. Below, a Tahaw bird glides low over the flooded rice paddies, and dips its beak for a drink. And smaller birds forage among mosses, orchids, and tree ferns...the forest so rich with life.
Birds in Flight is a choreography inspired by birds, two dances by indigenous groups of southern Mindanao, expressing a deep respect for the natural web of life. These communities are supported by long-held animist belief, a ritual religion practiced by only 2% of Filipinos. The dances honor the soul and spirit in all aspects of the world—humans, animals, plants, rocks, mountains, rivers, thunder, wind, shadows, and words.
The first dance, Sayaw ng Lawin, Dance of the Eagle, is from the Mandaya community. It mimics the Lawin as it hatches; then as it matures and lifts upward, and finally, as it glides through the air. The Lawin, with its brown and white plumage, has the widest wingspan in the world of birds. It’s the Philippine national bird, rare as the rain forests, and highly protected. The Mandaya live in small communities scattered throughout north and east Davao.
In the second dance, Kadal Blelah, from the Tboli community in South Cotabato, dancers mimic the short hops and flock formations of smaller birds that flit about in rice paddies and forest brush. Dressed in bright sablay wraps, the dancers’ wrists and arms become small wings—perhaps of a whiskered flowerpecker, hooded sunbird, or sandpiper. The Tboli, originally from the highland regions, are primarily farmers, living with a deep connection to their natural environment.
Tboli and Mandaya musicians play small lizard or goat skin drums, the two-string lute, a bamboo mouth harp, and sets of rhythm gongs—called agung in Mandaya and blowun in Tboli. The Tboli musicians also play melodies on a set of graduated kettle gongs called kulintang.
LIKHA members have taken several research-immersion trips to the Philippines: Artistic Director Rudi Soriano choreographed these pieces using movements learned in Mandayan from Michu Mordeno, Mandaya culture bearer; and from Tboli culture bearer Lyn Lambao Buti.
DANCE ORIGIN: Sulu Archipelago, Philippines GENRE: Folkloric (Tausug and Maranao) TITLE:Hariraya: Kasanduayan; Pangalay; Kuntaw Kabkab ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: Rudi Soriano CHOREOGRAPHERS: Michael Palad, Rudi Soriano MUSIC DIRECTOR: OJ Pahati DANCERS: Ashley Acosta, Liza Allen, Emmanuel Benisano, Abraham Cabangbang, Christine Carandang, Lolita Castillo, Cat Diaz-Centeno, Raymond Centeno, Irene Coyco, Aiden Cruz, Beverly Cruz, Dylan Cruz, Gary Cruz, Malaya Cruz, Tina Cruz, Isabella Cuenco, Manuel De Vera, Maurice Fortner, Cienna Kahrobaie, Patrice Katigbak, Elsa Manlangit, Warren Manuntag, Scarlet McClure, Chris Muñoz, Mae Oliveros, Michael Palad, Ida Parcon, Ephraim Piñeda, Leia Piñeda, Rudi Soriano, Paulino Tamayo, Chariss Wong MUSICIANS: Andrew Capule (agung), Ed Cruz (kulintang), Isaac Cruz (babandil), RP Cuenco (debakan), Angelo Macaraeg (gabbang), Moses McClure (babandil), Melody Valdez (agung)
Photo by Mark Muntean
LIKHA-Pilipino Folk Ensemble presented Hariraya, regional dance forms from Muslim Tausug and Maranao communities in Mindanao, southwestern Philippines. The first dance, Kasanduayan, is from the Maranao ethnic community living near the volcanic Lake Lanao —a festival dance, traditionally performed during a royal procession for entertainment. The Maranao are known for their mysticism, royalty, and beauty, evident in their music and dances, and known for nobility and grace even while walking. The women carry beaded and multi-colored umbrellas for shade, and they dance with fine kini-kini footsteps.
The second dance, Pangalay, is a form developed before the introduction of Christianity and Islam to the Philippines, an ancient form related to classical dances from Thailand, Burma, and Cambodia, based on a Buddhist concept of male and female celestial angels. The dance comes from the Tausug, the People of the Current, who live in coastal villages raised above the shore on stilts. Tausug dancers’ graceful hand gestures show a rare dexterity and flexibility of the shoulders, elbows, and wrists—and the movements are amplified by elongated brass janggay fingernails.
The final dance, Kuntaw Kabkab, is the popular dance form of the indigenous Tausug martial art form called markuntao, and also known as silat, a form also seen in Tausug communities in Malaysia and Indonesia. The fans are called kabkab, and they represent weapons in the dance.
This performance included a Philippine kulintang gong ensemble playing melodies for the Tausug and Maranao dances. Large gongs, called agungs, create interlocking rhythms, while gandinggan—talking gongs—create short melodies. A dabakan drum keeps tempo, and the tausug music also includes a wonderful gabbang bamboo xylophone.
Kasanduayan was originally choreographed by Ramon Obusan and re-choreographed for LIKHA by Artistic Director Rudi Soriano. Kuntaw Kabkab is a premiere presentation for the group—a version learned by Rudi Soriano from Estevez Jonell Nava, with choreography set by Michael Palad. Soriano learned the pangalay form as a child and later from Tausug princess Aida Amilbangsa, and this choreography is also by Michael Palad. Ed Cruz and OJ Pahati learned the music for Kuntaw Kabkab and Pangalay from ethnomusicologist Dr. Bernard Ellorin.
GENRE: Folkloric TITLE:Kanyaw CHOREOGRAPHER: Rudi C. Soriano COSTUME
DIRECTOR: Warren T. Manuntag DANCERS: Eric Abad, Ashley Acosta, Kevin Alicbusan, Liza Allen,
Nikko Beltran, Emmanuel Benisano, Abraham Cabangbang, Christin Carandang,
Lolita Castillo, Raymond Centeno, Beverly Cruz, Janice Cruz, Tina Cruz,
Isabella Cuenco, Manuel deVera Jr., Maurice Fortner, Vincent Hutalla, Chariss
Ilarina, Patrice Katigbak, Cynthia Lucero-Obusan, Elsa Manlangit, Scarlet
McClure, Christopher Munoz, Oliver Obusan, Marie Oliveros, Kristin Pahati,
Michael Palad, Ida Parcon, Paulino Tamayo MUSICIANS: Ernesto Andrade, Andrew Capule, Edward Cruz, RP Cuenco,
Angelo Macaraeg, Omar Pahati
Among the emerald valleys of the
Philippines’ Cordillera mountains, diverse groups of people live and work. Tribes of various
languages are famous for their expert terracing of the mountainsides, as well
as their fierce warfare. Their ceremonies show a keen observation of the land
and animals around them.
Cordillerans view land as the source
of life, of sustenance, a sacred and integral part of their cultural identity.
For Cordillerans, the loss of their land, or their alienation from it, is
considered equivalent to taking their lives. This is why Cordillerans have
willingly shed blood to defend their lands from colonizers, and have fought for
the right to remain on their ancestral lands.
LIKHA’s Kanyaw is a staged celebration for peace and unity, featuring
dances from three Cordillera ethnic groups, showing a peaceful side to life
among the rice farmers. Kanyaw is the name of the community gathering of the
Kalinga people who dance together, play gongs, enjoy festival foods, and present
offerings to benevolent spirits. The ceremony opens with a peace offering. From
valley to valley, musical gongs signal a call to gather.
In the first dance, Chalichog, from Lubuagan, Kalinga women
dance a peace pact. They stomp with their feet, reinforcing a pathway between
tribes, a road to peace.
Next, in Manmanok, a Bago dance dramatizes two male roosters courting a hen.
In feathers, blankets, and wings, male dancers claw the ground with
The third dance, Banawol, named for the chicken-eating banawol
hawk, is a rousing Ifugao dance, honoring guests with crowns of bright plumage.
The finale brings tribal groups
together to acknowledge their shared traditions and history. In trust, male and females from
different tribal groups can now dance together.
The cotton costume fabric for this
performance was woven in the Philippines on hand looms, with colors of red,
orange, white, black, and yellow to represent roosters and other birds. The
musical group plays Cordillera instruments: a bamboo xylophone called a
tongatong and a solibao drum made from the hide of a goat. They also play
handheld gangsa gongs. Each gong is tuned to one note, and a tribe’s melodies
depend on the number of gongs in their set and how they are tuned.
LIKHA brings authentic Filipino
dances and costumes to us through onsite research in remote villages. LIKHA’s
Director Rudi Soriano learned Cordillera dances from Cirilo “Manong Sapi”
Bawer, a Kalinga elder in Lubuagan, Kalinga Province, in the Philippines.
DANCE ORIGIN: Philippines GENRE: Contemporary Folkloric (Turmandok/ Suludnon tribe) TITLE: Binanog – Banog ARTISTIC DIRECTOR/CHOREOGRAPHER: Rudi Soriano DANCERS: Eric Abad,
Liza Allen, Noel Asiatico, Liza Atendido, Raisa
Baula, Erin Bolick, Ron Cabarloc, Lolita Castillo, Catherine Centeno, Raymond
Centeno, Beverly Cruz, Janice Cruz, Tina Cruz, Manuel De Vera Jr.,
Cassie Dominguez, Maurice Fortner, Vincent Hutalla, Chariss Ilarina, Laurie
Laxa, Cynthia Lucero, Elsa Manlangit, Marie Oliveros, Kristin Pahati, Michael
Palad, Pehnee Poblete, Maria Rios, Paulino Tamayo, Jenny Young, Martina
Zabala, Sunshine Zabala MUSICIANS: Kevin Alicbusan (agong), Ed Cruz
(kulintang), RP Cuenco (durugan), Arledge David (agong), Omar Pahati (tambol), Richard
Rios (agong), Angelo Salu
world premiere, Binanog-Banog, is based on three folk dances
from the Tumandok/Suludnon tribe of the Philippines. The
story opens with a peaceful village scene and ritual sacrifice.
Then a banog arrives, a powerful and sacred eagle, and
in the first dance—Binanugan—dancers imitate its flight. The
next dance, Inagong
Sayaw-Sayaw, is a celebration, until the
eagle unexpectedly becomes a threat to the village. The third
dance, Dinagmay, uses movements from a traditional courtship
dance to portray a fierce battle. Warriors implement combat
movements, defending the terrorized ardilya squirrel, and
the piece ends in the heroic killing of the fearsome bird.
Rudi Soriano created this presentation to share
these rarely-seen forms of Philippine dance and translate them
for a wider audience. The Tumandok/Suludnon, also known
as Panayanon Sulud, are an indigenous Visayan group of
people living in the Capiz-Lambunao mountainous area of Panay,
Visayan Islands, Philippines. The group is small and is called
a lost tribe: they kept their traditional culture hidden and unaffected
by Spanish colonization. The group is known for its binanog
dance, a dance showing a close relationship with the animal
world. The banog is the Philippine Eagle, the rare and powerful
Philippine National Bird. Now endangered due to
deforestation, it is one of the largest eagles in the world, up
to 3-1/2 feet long and weighing up to 18 pounds. A different banog dance is
also known in Mindanao.
Director Rudi Soriano learned Binanog-Banog from Mitchu Mordeno on a
research trip to the Philippines in 2005. He
choreographed this performance in 2013, adding contemporary Philippine folk
movements and theatrical elements for the stage. Traditional movements include
the small, repetitive side-steps with hands to the side, and the swooping and
flying movements that imitate the flight of the bird. In the Philippines, the
eagle dancer wears a simple costume of silky cloth with long draping sleeves:
today’s costume was made in the
Philippines of rooster feathers. The music is also traditional to the
Tumandok/Suludnon tribe, with instrumentalists setting the dynamics and the
beat, improvising on four gongs and two goat skin drums, sticks, and wood.
TITLE: Semba DANCERS: Eric Abad, Kevin Alicbusan, Noel Asiatico, Liza Atendido,
Ceska Baula, Raisa Baula, Raymond Centeno, Beverly Cruz, Tina Cruz, Cassie
Dominguez, Kyla Gerbacio, Vincent Hutalla, Chariss ilarina, Laurie
Laxa, Kristin Pahati, Michael Palad, Pehnee Poblete, Maria Rios, Marie
Oliveros-Reyes, Paulino Tamayo, Mike Versoza MUSICIANS: Ed Cruz (kulintang), RP
Cuenco (gong), Ledge David (gong), John Laxa (kulintang kayo), Omar
Pahati (drum), Jayden Poblete (babandil), Richard Rios (gong), Angelo
Artistic director Rudi Soriano travels every other year
with a research team to the Philippines to study indigenous dance, ritual, and
tradition—to give his American-born dancers firsthand experience with their
heritage and culture. For the 2012 Festival, LIKHA presents dances learned in May 2007 from
Batak natives on the island of Palawan in the southeast Philippines.
This presentation is titled Semba, and it was created and choreographed by Rudi
Soriano and Jay Loyola. Semba is a stately invocation, reflecting a profound
reverence and connection with the natural world. The Batak are one of the
Philippine’s ancient tribes, and for thousands of years, they have lived deep
in the Philippine forest as nomadic hunters, fishermen, and farmers. They keep
their distance from the modern world, and although their forest home has
decreased alarmingly in recent years, they continue to live a nomadic way of
life. As Batak nomadic groups move from place to place, they dance for the local spirits. They dance to ask permission or
approval to inhabit a location, and for guidance before fishing, hunting, or
planting. If the spirits don’t answer with a sign—a wind, an animal cry—the
dance is repeated.
When the Batak perform this ceremony, they dance in specific and diverse
locations in nature. In this choreography, several dances are incorporated into one. Here, three priestesses
act as mediators between the community and the spirits. Some
dancers listen and some look up to the sky, searching for signs
that their dance has been acknowledged. In the Philippines today,
Batak natives wear western clothing, but men of previous
generations wore a loincloth “g-string” made of the bark of a tree.
They also wore a belt with a bamboo basket or pouch to carry
their beetle nut. Women were topless, and they wore skirts with a colored wrap, and adorned themselves with shell and wooden necklaces.
When this piece was performed in 2008, at the 30th annual San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, the village chief of
the Batak tribe traveled across the Pacific to perform Semba
on stage with LIKHA. When he returned to his community, he
wrote a song about his extraordinary experience of flying
halfway around the world to share his traditions, and astounded
the Batak children with a video of the performance,
encouraging them to maintain their heritage and pride in their
TITLE:Gampang DANCERS:Eric Abad, Liza Allen, Noel Asiatico, Liza Atendido, Raisa Baula, Erin Bolick, Ron Cabarloc, Lolita Castillo, Catherine Centeno, Raymond Centeno, Beverly Cruz, Janice Cruz, Tina Cruz, Manuel De Vera Jr., Cassie Dominguez, Maurice Fortner, Vincent Hutalla, Chariss Ilarina, Laurie Laxa, Cynthia Lucero, Elsa Manlangit, Marie Oliveros, Kristin Pahati, Michael Palad, Pehnee Poblete, Maria Rios, Paulino Tamayo, Jenny Young, Martina Zabala, Sunshine Zabala MUSICIANS:
Kevin Alicbusan (agong), Ed Cruz (kulintang) RP Cuenco (durugan), Arledge David (agong), Omar Pahati (tambol), Richard Rios (agong), Angelo Salumbides (durugan & sigitan)
This performance, called Gampang, depicts a community ritual for good health, harmonious living, and bountiful harvest. LIKHA brings this dance from the indigenous Subanen communities of Mandih, Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte, Mindanao Island, Philippines. Subanen ceremonies bridge the gap between two realms, mortal and supernatural. The Subanen are also animists who believe in spirits in nature. The name Subanen comes from suba (river). The Subanen settle inland, near rivers and mountain streams, where they farm on terraced hillsides. Gampang is performed by the riverside. Three wooden posts of differing heights hold offerings to the spirits of uncooked rice, chicken or pork, and an egg. The tallest post is for higher spirits, the shorter ones for the lower. A timuway (leader) dances with folded palm leaves, and then dips the leaves in the stream: this is a protective blessing before the community sets out to work in the fields. Assistants follow the timuway, burning incense and sounding porcelain bowls with sticks of fragrant wood. Female dancers whisk dried palm leaves (siosay). The men strike bamboo poles in rhythmic cadence as the women nimbly thread their steps between them. Each dance, offering, sound, and smell is designed to please the spirits, to attract their spiritual presence into the rite. Five musicians join the performance with Subanen musical instruments: a big brass gong (agong); a set of eight small brass gongs of graduated size (kulintang); a hollow log or bamboo tube (durugan); a hollow bamboo with few slits and plucked strings (sigitan); and the native drum (tambol).
In May of 2009, choreographer Rudi C. Soriano went to the village of Mandih, Sindangan Zamboanga del Norte Philippines to research Subanen dance and ritual. Rudi learned the dance and ritual from Cristina Andus, Audie Soledad, Anthony & Malina Gallemit, Arturo Lamdag, and Ian Dalman.
Titles: Banga, Salip GENRE: Kalinga Dancers: Liza Atendido, Raisa Baula, Lolita Castillo, Beverly Cruz, Jennifer Cruz, Tina Cruz, Vicent Hutalla, Chariss Ilarina, Laurie Laxa, Cynthia Lucero, Kristin Pahati, Mae Reyes, Maria Rios, Tina Zabala Musicians: Kevin Alicbusan, Edward Cruz, Manuel De Vera, Jr., John Laxa, Omar Pahati, Michale Palad, Richard Rios, Angelo Salumbides, Paulino Tamayo
LIKHA presents two dances from the Kalinga tribe of Northern Luzon, Philippines.
Banga (meaning "pot") shows the dexterity of the Kalinga women as they balance earthenware pots on their heads. They walk along mountain paths to fetch water for a wedding feast, and they meet other women carrying firewood and baskets of fruits, fish, and meat.
In Salip, a Kalinga bride-to-be balances a stack of pots in a courtship dance. With movements reminiscent of a rooster and hen, the couple gestures to each other in love, and the woman surrenders her skirt (a kain or tapis) to the man. These dances are often seen during the Canao Festival, a celebration of good harvest, birth, and wedding.
The women's skirt is hand woven in the distinctive reddish orange of the Kalinga, and hand-beaded with shells or buttons to make a distinct sound when walking. The women also adorn themselves with glass and amber beads. Before western influence, women were topless.
The Kalinga live in the Luzon Cordillera of the northern Philippines. They are known as the "Peacocks of the North" because of their elaborate and beautiful clothing. Historically, they marry only within their social groups and value group security over individual need. They also participate in peace pact trade alliances with other communities. They farm a variety of crops, raise livestock, and create beautiful basketry and pottery, along with wood and metal craftwork.
The musicians play the gansa, a handheld gong with a narrow rim, tuned to a specific note. (The number of gansa in a set is different for each Cordillera ethnic group.) The bamboo xylophone, called pattangok, rovides melody, chords, and a beat for the dance.
In 2007, Artistic Director Rudi C. Soriano traveled with a LIKHA research team to Lubuagan, Kalinga, Philippines to learn traditional dances from Cirilo Bawer, a Kalinga elder and educator. This piece was re-choreographed by Rudi Soriano for the ensemble.
TITLE: Semba GENRE: Batak ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: Rudi C. Soriano DANCERS: Kevin Alicbusan, Liza Atendido, Raisa Baula, Beverly Cruz, Cristina Cruz, Cassie Dominguez, Christian Dominguez, Emmanuel Grueso Jr., Maria Honrada,Vincent Hutalla, Chariss Ilarina, Henry LaoShanna Mendiola, Kristin Nepacena, Michael Palad, Bryan Pangilinan, Alisa Quezon, Marie Reyes, Maria Rios, Camille Sibucao, Paulino Tamayo MUSICIANS: Ernesto Andrade, Edward Cruz, Gabriel Encarnacion, Adelbert Espino, Randy Miranda, Omar Pahati, Almar Reyes, Richard Rios, Veronica Williams INTERNATIONAL GUEST ARTISTS: Palawan Center for the Arts Foundation- Gilbert Belostrino, Vida Lledo, Narino Maniapao, Aimee Sombilon
For this performance, LIKHApresented dances learned from Batak natives on the island of Palawan in the southeast Philippines. This presentation, Semba, was a world premiere created and choreographed by Rudi Soriano and Dance Director Jay Loyola. Semba is a stately invocation, reflecting a profound reverence and connection with the natural world. The Batak are one of the Philippine's ancient tribes, and for thousands of years, they have lived deep in the Philippine forest as nomadic hunters, fishermen, and farmers. They keep their distance from the modern world, and although their forest home has decreased alarmingly in recent years, they continue to live a nomadic way of life. As Batak nomadic groups move from place to place, they dance for the local spirits. They dance to ask permission or approval to inhabit a location, and for guidance before fishing, hunting, or planting. If the spirits don't answer with a sign—a wind, an animal cry—the dance is repeated.
When the Batak perform this ceremony, they dance in specific and diverse locations in nature. In this choreography, several dances are incorporated into one. Here, three priestesses act as mediators between the community and the spirits. Some dancers listen and some look up to the sky, searching for signs that their dance has been acknowledged. In the Philippines today, Batak natives wear western clothing, but men of previous generations wore a loincloth made of the bark of a tree. They also wore a belt with a bamboo basket or pouch to carry their betel nut. Women were topless, and they wore skirts with a colored wrap, and adorned themselves with shell and wooden necklaces.
LIKHA is honored to include international guest artists from Palawan in today's performance—Narino Maniapao opens the piece with an invocation chant, and Aimee Sombilon, Vida Lledo, and Gilbert Belostrino join the LIKHA dancers and musicians. The artists are from the Palawan Dance Theater, part of the non-profit Palawan Center for the Arts Foundation in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, Philippines. This group is the premiere dance company in the province of Palawan, and it works to preserve traditional culture through music and dance. The dancers are from Palawan’s most widely distributed tribal group—Tagbanua.
TITLE:Kadayawan GENRE: Indigenous ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: Rudi C. Soriano CHOREOGRAPHERS: Jay Loyola and Rudi C. Soriano DANCERS: Liza Atendido, Valerie Baula, Victoria Baula, Ron Cabarloc, Lolita Castillo, Beverly Cruz, Christina Cruz, Jennifer Cruz, Manuel De Vera Jr., Cassandra Dominguez, Emmanuel Grueso Jr., Maria Honrada, Vincent Hutalla, Henry Lao, Laurie Laxa, Shanna Mendiola, Kristin Nepacena, Bryan Pangilinan, Jennifer Poblete, Maria Rios, Camille Sibucao, Paulino Tamayo MUSICIANS: Kevin Alicbusan (tangungo), Ed Cruz (tangungo), Herna Cruz (agong), Gabriel Encarnacion (babandil), Harrison Hapin (babandil), Randy Miranda (agong), Omar Pahati (dabakan), Angelo Salumbides (agong)
Davao, a region in Southeastern Mindanao, the southern most Philippine
island, is rich in agriculture and minerals and is known for its
cultural diversity. With a strong network of kinship, many of these
communities live in long houses scattered between the ocean towns of
Davao del Sur up to the foot of the towering mountain, Mount Apo. These
important indigenous tribes are known for their distinctive costumes and
ornamentation. In particular, the Bagobo, considered the most colorful
people of the Philippines, wear fabric woven of abaca
fiber, a kind of hemp grown abundantly in the Philippines, adorned with
embroidery, beads, and tiny brass bells that can be heard jingling. The
Mandaya and Mansaka are reputed for their vibrant tie-dyed textiles and
sophisticated embroidery techniques of symbols and motifs.
harvest time the ethnic groups around Mount Apo gather together to
celebrate a bountiful harvest through singing, dancing, offerings, and
merriment. Today the festival is celebrated with floats of fresh flowers
and fruit as the people parade through the streets dressed in tribal
costumes and jewelry. The musical instruments consist of the tangungo, a set of eight metal gongs hung on bamboo frames, and the dabakan, a single-headed drum.
Through a staged representation of indigenous dances of Davao, LIKHA Pilipino Folk Ensemble commemorates the diverse folklore traditions of these glorious tribes. The richly textured dance reflects their multi-faceted nature, while simultaneously calling to the Bagobo, Mandaya, Manobo, B’laan, and Mansaka tribes to celebrate their unity with thanksgiving festivities. The piece titled Kadayawan, is a native expression in the Dabawnon language meaning “anything of excellence that brings good fortune.”
TITLE OF PIECE: Idudu, Gangsa Pattung GENRE: Cordillera Mountain Dances CHOREOGRAPHERS: Ramon Obusan (Idudu) Rudi
Puttung) DANCERS: Charlene Abalos, Liza
Atendido, Raisa Baula,
Lizzette Billostas, Lolita Castillo, Beverly Cruz, Gary Cruz,
Herna Cruz, Tina
Cruz, Gary Cruz, Manuel De Vera Jr., Cassie Dominquez, Genee
Emmanuel Grueso Jr., Henry Lao, Laurie Laxa, Kristin Nepacena, Jaynee
Camille Sibucao, Paulino Tamayo MUSICIANS: Gangsa: Kevin
Alicbusan, Ed Cruz,
Christian Domintuez, Vincent Hutalla, Randy Miranda, Omar Pahati,
Pangilinan, Angelo Salumbides
Luzon, in the north, is the largest
island grouping in the Philippines and contains the biggest mountain range in the country, the
Cordilleras, home to many tribal groups. Common to all is the gong. Made of metal, brass, iron or
bronze, these circular flat instruments are ever-present during village rituals and festivals,
celebrating the harvest and other life cycle passages.
The rugged Abra region in the northwest
is home to the Tingguian tribe, who are mostly rice farmers and bamboo craft makers. The Kalinga tribe,
from the north central Kalinga region, thrives as a proud, strong people protective of their inherited
social traditions. Although contemporary dress is the norm, the traditional dress of loincloths for men
and long wrapped skirts for women are still used.
Likha Pilipino Folk Ensemble
celebrates the rich folkloric traditions of the tribes of the Philippines. The first
piece, entitled Idudu, is taken from a native
lullaby and portrays the interchanging roles of mothers and fathers in a Tingguian
family. A father is depicted plowing in a field as a mother nurtures the children, then
the mother takes over the remaining planting and sowing chores while the father cares
for the children. The second piece, Gangsa
Pattung is a thanksgiving dance from the Kalinga featuring a group of male gong
players interweaving in circular formations with female dancers.
TITLE OF PIECE: TODAK GENRE: Bogabos CHOREOGRAPHY: Ramon
Obusan DANCERS: Emmanuel Benisano, Beverly
Buhain, Ron Cabarloc,
Kirsi Cabatbat, Gary Cruz, Manny De Vera, Cassie
Dominguez, Genee Dominguez, Chariss Ilarina, Laurie
Laxa, Randy Miranda,
Kristin Nepacena, Bryan Pangilinan, Pebbles Remulla,
and Paulino Tamayo MUSICIANS: Ernie Andrade
(tangungo), Ed Cruz (tangungo),
Herna Cruz (gong), OJ Pahati (drum),
Fredeswinda Santos (gong), and
Emmanuel Grueso Jr. (babandil)
For the 2004 Festival, Likha presents dance and music derived from
aboriginal Bagobos people of the region Davao in the southeastern
the Philippines near Mindanao. These people live between the
ocean towns of
Davao del Sur up to the foot of the towering Mt. Apo.
This staged version
of a Bagogo harvest dance depicts in mime and symbolic
movement the time
cycle of rice growing, from planting to harvesting.
Todak refers to the bamboo poles topped by clappers
by the male dancers. Here the men clean the field in preparation
planting, while others jab the todak into the earth to make
holes for seed planting. Young
women throw the grain into the holes
and later return to cut the rice
stalks to place in their baskets.
Finally they thresh and pound the grain
for consumption. The set concludes
with men and woman dancing together in
celebration of a hard days work
represent the type of clothing made by the Bagobos people.
The fabric is
woven of abaca fiber, a kind of hemp grown
in the Philippines, and is adorned with embroidery and designs
with shell disks and beads. The musical instruments consist of the
a set of eight metal
gongs hung on bamboo frames, the kubing,
or jew's harp and drums.