Azotea De Amor
Four centuries of Spanish colonization have greatly impacted the social and economic lives of the Filipinos. To facilitate the conversion of the native people, European dance styles such as the Minuet, Fandango, Polka, Mazurka, and Waltz among others were taught to the indigenous population. Eventually these dances experienced regional transformation, became localized, and acquired regional characteristics. Dance items such as bamboo castanets, scented handkerchiefs and fans were adapted, and unique dance techniques of hand gestures like the kumintang were further developed.
People of the Cordillera
Cordillera, a Spanish term meaning “knotted rope” refers to the mountain ranges extending through the northern part of Luzon. Long before the Spaniards or other foreigners stepped foot on the Philippines, pagan people lived along these mountainous terrain. The Bontoc, Ifugao, Benguet, Apayao and Kalinga tribes live simple lives to appease their gods. Their rituals celebrate a good harvest, health, peace, war and other symbols of their daily lives.
Splendor of Mindanao
Almost one million Pilipinos are Muslims who reside primarily in the southern island of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago. By the end of the 12th century, traders and settlers from the Malay Peninsula and Borneo introduced Islamic faith to the islands. The Muslims in the Philippines, also known as Moros, were able to resist Spanish conquest. Thus, they preserved the Islamic lifestyle that markedly differs from the majority of the Philippine population. The ethno-linguistic groups who are primarily considered Muslim are the Maranao, Maguindanao, Samal, and Tausug. The dances are characterized by vivid colors and rhythmic movements which reflect the influence of Arabian and Indo-Malaysian cultures.
Sayaw Sa Nayon
Perhaps the Filipino character, their hearts and souls, are best reflected in the dances from rural Philippines, the Christian lowlands. These dances, which are perhaps the best known and closest to the hearts of the Filipinos, illustrate the Filipino spirit and their love of life and celebration. This suite of dances demonstrate their joy in work, their love for music and pleasure in the simplicities of life utilizing everyday utensils or items such as glasses, hats, tapis and bamboos.
In the hinterlands of Mindanao, the Philippine’s southernmost island, live several tribes such as the T’boli, Bilaan, Manobo, and Bagobos with their distinct cultures that have remained unchanged despite the strong influences from other lands in Mindanao.. Their religious beliefs stem from nature and they honor pagan gods for the fruits and trials of daily life.