All Things Asian Event Post: 04.05.2012 – Philippines and Her Folk Dances

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez

All Things Asian Event: April 2-16



The blogs: That Hapa Chick; Live, Laugh, I Love Books; and My Words Ate Me are hosting the All Things Asian Event featuring guest posts about anything and everything about the Asian culture!

My guest post blogging interview will be featured on one of the host blogs on April 13.

But, until then, each and every day, a guest post will be featured until April 16, 2012, so be sure to drop by and visit the hosting blogs! Just click on the All Things Asian button above that links to the host blog.


As for me, I couldn’t pass up the chance to post a few articles as part of the All Things Asian Event on my own blog, alongside this important event because quite simply put: I’m Asian! And I’m especially honoured and driven to share the beauty of Asia with my readers to foster awareness, community, and inclusivity—all things that are especially important to me.


I don’t know about you, but I love singing and dancing. For as long as I remember there’s been music in my house.

My father plays the acoustic guitar, the bass guitar, and was part of a local band as a teenage. He also sings.

My mother loves to sing and dance ballroom. My uncle and cousin are professional ballroom instructors.

Ballroom Dancing by John LaGatta

My aunt plays the violin.

And almost all of the children in the family have taken formal piano lessons through the Royal Conservatory of Music.

And almost everyone in my family will fight their way to the microphone at parties when someone turns on the karaoke machine.

Almost EVERY Filipino owns a karaoke machine.

And my cousin, Darcy Garcia-Lopez is part of a professional rock band in the Philippines called,

Coffee Break!


And like most Filipinos, our family and friends give us funny nicknames. My nickname of which I’m called only by family and my closest friends is


Dancing the Cha-cha can even make a difference. Dancing With The Stars Champion Cheryl Burke dances the Cha-cha with Mark Ballas to raise funds for Typhoon Relief in the Philippines.


Music is integral, not only to my family, but also to the Filipino culture. Here are three of the most popular and well-known traditional folk dances in the Philippines:


The tinikling dance is a traditional Philippine dance that involves two people tappingand sliding bamboo poles on the ground and against each other with one or more dancers who step over and in between the poles. The name is a reference to the local tikling birds.

The dance originated in Leyte among the Visayan islands in the central Philippines as an imitation of the tikling bird as they walk between grass stems or avoid bamboo traps set by rice farmers.


Pandanggo sa Ilaw

Pandanggo sa Ilaw is a Filipino folk dance that originated from Mindoro, the seventh-largest island in the Philippines. This dance of lights simulates fireflies at dusk. Pandanggo is from the Spanish fandango, a dance in 3/4 time. The phrase sa ilaw is Tagalog for “in light” and refers to the three oil lamps that a dancer balances on the head and one on the back each hand. The oil lamp is called a tinghoy. Candles in glasses are sometimes used in place of oil lamps.

The music commonly danced to the pandanggo sa ilaw was composed by Col. Antonio R. Buenaventura in the 1930’s, a native of Bulacan, and National Artist for Music.



The Singkíl originated from the Maranao people who inhabit the shores of Lake Lanao. The name of the dance itself means “to entangle the feet with disturbing objects such as vines or anything in your path.” Originally only royal women danced the Singkíl, which serves as advertisement to potential suitors.

While often erroneously referred to as a “Muslim dance,” the Singkíl is in fact secular in nature, performed by the Ummah communities of the Maranao and Maguindanao.


There are more traditional Filipino folk dances, but these are the most integral and most showcased throughout the world.

Hope you enjoyed today’s feature about the Philippines and return tomorrow in celebration of All Things Asian.

For previously posted features by The Bibliotaphe’s Closet for the All Things Asian Event, visit the Event Page here.

Zara Alexis

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