Galleries | Repertoire | Mindanao
Aside from the colorful contributions of its regional tribes, Mindanao
is home to the largest cultural minority in the Philippines - the Muslims.
Brought by Javanese and Middle Eastern traders, Islam is the religion
of approximately 20 percent of the Philippine population.
They are known for their mysticism, royalty, and beauty which are evident
in their music and dances. Accompanied by the agong and kulintang, Filipino
Muslim dance is marked by intricate hand and arm movement along with shimmering
Origin: Lanao del Sur
A solo slave dance performed by the umbrella-bearing attendant to win
the favor of her sultan master. The girl wears long metal fingernails
and dances and poses in doll-like motions. Asik usually precedes a performance
A form of self defense. The dance like movements show a fight between
a hawk and a cat.
The Yakan are a Muslim ethnic group in the highlands of Mindanao. They
wear elaborately woven costumes tightly on their bodies. Their dances
involve complicated hand and foot movements. In this dance, a man unties
a wrap from his wife-to-be's waist to wrap around her body and dance with.
Both of their faces are dotted with white paint, to hide their identity
from evil spirits.
Origin: Zamboanga del Sur
A pangalay native to the Badjao, sometimes known as the "Sea Gypsies."
Pangalay is a dance that emphasizes the agility of the upper body. The
rhythmic bounce of the shoulder with simultaneous alternating waving of
arms are the basic movement of this dance. The pangalay is commonly performed
at weddings and other social gatherings.
Pangalay ha Pattong
A royal couple balance perilously on top of bamboo poles imitating the
movements of the picturesque southern boat (the vinta) with colorful sails
gliding across the Sulu Sea.
Pangalay sa Agong
Origin: Tausug - Sulu
A variation of the Tausug's traditional dance, Pangalay, two warriors
vie for the attention of a lad both using agongs to show their prowess
Origin: Lanao del Sur
Pagaper depicts a royal manner of "walking" among the Maranao people who
live mainly around Lake Lanao. Ladies of the royal court perform this
stately dance in preparation for an important event. The ladies gracefully
manipulate the Aper (apir) or fan, while emphasizing their small steps,
or "kini-kini", which is a sign of good upbringing.
Performed by very fierce warriors carrying a shield elaborately painted
with curlicues, rounds, twirls and mirrors which are attached with shell
noisemakers. In their other hand, they carry a double-bladed sword (kampilan)
of metal or wood. Sagayan dancers are dressed in three tiered skirts,
brightly colored topper and headgear embellished with all the imaginable
colors of twine trimmings formed into flowers, balls, sunbursts etc. Long,
yellow playful tassels almost hiding the face surround the headgear.
The dance involves leaping, turning, jumping, kicking and the rolling
movements of a warrior ready to defend his master in battle. Kamanyang
fumes inhaled by the sagayan moves him to perform in a magic-like trance.
On most occasions, this dance is performed before any celebration or
gathering to drive away evil spirits (tunong) and to welcome good fortunes
Origin: Lanao, Mindanao
LIKHA's signature dance takes its name from the bells worn on the ankles
of the Muslim princess. Perhaps one of the oldest of truly Filipino dances,
the Singkil recounts the epic legend of the "Darangan" of the Maranao
people of Mindanao. This epic, written sometime in the 14th century, tells
the fateful story of Princess Gandingan, who was caught in the middle
of a forest during an earthquake caused by the diwatas, or fairies or
nymph of the forest.
The rhythmic clapping of criss-crossed bamboo poles represent the
trees that were falling, which she gracefully avoids. Her slave loyally
accompanies her throughout her ordeal. Finally, she is saved by the
prince. Dancers wearing solemn faces and maintaining a dignified pose
being dancing at a slow pace which soon progresses to a faster tempo
skillfully manipulate apir, or fans which represent the winds that prove
to be auspicious. The dancers weave expertly through criss-crossed bamboos.
When performed by ladies of the royalty of Lanao, the dancer is usually
accompanied by a waiting lady, who holds a beautifully decorated umbrella
over the Princess' head wherever she goes. Royal princesses to this
day in the Sulu Archipelago are required to learn this most difficult
and noble dance.
Yakan dance for a bountiful fish catch where they imitate their movements