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The Folk Dances of Luzon

Jadrien Javier

The offering is usually made by a young lady. She goes around with
a glass and a bottle of native wine offering a drink to the visitors.
This wine offering is a signal for the beginning of folk dancing and
singing. The musicians play the introduction of "Abaruray" music.
The girl who is offering the wine picks out a young man from
among the guests and offers him a drink. This is her way of hinting
at her desire to dance with him. The young has to accept it or he
commits a breach of etiquette and the girl is offended.
His acceptance of the drink will signify that he will dance with the
girl. He then stands and they begin dancing, with the girl leading
him on. The girl dances with the glass of wine on her head from
which the young man drinks. Her dancing skill is shown in her
ability to keep the glass on her head and in not spilling a drop of
the wine. The audience sing and clap their hands in time with the

Cariñosa (IPA: [ˌkariˈɲosa]) is a flirtatious Philippine group

dance in the Maria Clara suite of Philippine folk dances
where the fan or handkerchief plays an instrumental roll as
it places the couple in a hard-to-get romance scenario.
Despite popular belief, Cariñosa has always been the
national dance of the Philippines, whereas the Tinikling is
just a worldwide favorite.

The dance Kalapati originated from from Cabugao, Ilocos

Sur province. It symbolizes peace and is represented by
imitating the movements of a graceful dove. It portrays the
typical traits of the Ilokanos: simplicity, naturalness, and
La Jota Manileña

This is a dance named after Manila, the old capital of the

Philippines. The dance is an adaptation of the Castilian
Jota where dancers where dancers use bamboo castanets
and clack them to provide music. The costumes are
inspired by Spanish culture.

This a mock war dance between the Muslims and the Christians
that originated from Binan, Laguna, Philippines. The dance is
about a fight for the latik or coconut meat during the Spanish era.
Today, this dance is performed in honor of the town's patron saint,
San Isidro Labrador. All dancers are male and are naked to the
waist except for the coconut shells attached to their chests, backs
and hips. The Muslim dancers wear red trousers while the
Christian dancers wear blue. There are also coconut shells on their
thighs and knees. As they dance, they touch these shells with their
coconut shells on their hands.
Palu-Palo Dance

Palu-palo, is a war dance that shows how the community joins

forces as one to defend themselves. It is a dance showing how the
Ivatans defended themselves against the Christian intruders and
how they learned to accept Christianity and live a virtuous life. The
dance was a simple one performed by men who wore simple flesh-
colored garments. The tapping of wooden sticks as background
music to the dance produced an echoing sound as the Ivatans
reenacted their battle with the Christian invaders.
Chotis Folk Dance

Chotis (or “Shotis”) was one of the ballroom dances

introduced by early European settlers. This dance, from
Camarines Sur, has been adapted by the Bicolano people
and is characterized by a brush-step-hop movement.

A dance whose words are sung in “Chabacano-ermitense,”

a hybrid of Spanish that was only spoken in the Ermita
district before the turn of the century and today is extinct.
The dance itself is a flirtatious one that involves graceful
use of the pañuelo, or shawl, and tambourines. Aray means
“ouch” in Tagalog.

The Ibaloy who inhabit the southernmost mountain regions in

Northern Luzon perform victory dances to extol the bravery of the
warriors of yesterday. In this version from the barrio of Kabayan,
hand movements are downward, suggesting the people’s affinity
with the earth. The basic step consists of a stamp by the left foot
and a light, forward movement by the right. Instrumentalists lead
the line, followed by male dancers, while the female dancers bring
in the rear.
Sayaw sa Bangko

This dance is native to the barrio of Pangasinn, Lingayen,

Pangasinan, and demands skill from its performers who
must dance on top of a bench roughly six inches wide.