Philippine has a very colorful culture. Having been colonized by a number of countries, each leaving a mark on the daily lives of the Filipinos. Philippines is a mixture of indigenous, other Asian, European, Latin American, and American influences. Even though some of the ancient aspects of our culture are already forgotten due to the rapid changes and development of pop culture everywhere in the world, extensive efforts are done in reviving the then prosperous arts and culture in the country. Say for instance, Arts is integrated in the present education system in the Philippines. In addition to that, several cultural centers and establishments are still at hype in the country.
Let us take a time travel back to the golden era of classical Filipino art.
THE CLASSICAL MELODIES
“O, ilaw, sa gabing madilim”
Have you heard of a classical Filipino music?
Music is a big part of the Filipino Culture, Filipinos in fact is known to the world as people who would always want to sing on special occasions even on a daily basis.
Philippine Music is patterned to the folk music that is called gong music. Listening to the traditional Filipino folk songs literally gives me the native feeling that seem to be so foreign to a lot of Filipino youth nowadays. Filipino Folk songs commonly has a subject of patriotism, love, hope, and even the little things about the Filipino’s daily lives like a fruit or a missing ring.
Notable folk song composers include the National Artist for Music Lucio San Pedro, who composed the famous “Sa Ugoy ng Duyan” that recalls about the loving touch of mother to her child. Another great composer who’s known as patriotic composer is Alfredo Buenaventura.
How about the Harana?
Harana (Serenade) is a traditional courtship songs used by the Filipinos for their loved ones. The Tagalog folk song that is used as a traditional song for serenading is entitled Aking Bituin (My Star) but it is more popularly known by its first line: O, Ilaw (Oh, Light). Harana is also modernized by the Filipino by using modern love songs in replace of the traditional ones for the past years.
Here is a playlist of a few popular folk songs in the Philippines :
MOVE TO THE TRADITIONAL GROOVE
“Dancing keeps us away from negative things, when you move, everything is positive, there’s no right or wrong, you release all your emotions and it will end up with a beautiful smile.”
Dancing is something that is really perfect to release numerous emotions. It gives us fun or even sadness that we can relate to our own feelings. That is why, it is really important to the Filipinos. Dancing plays an important role in Filipino culture, telling the history and preserving traditions through folk dances.
Do you know a traditional Filipino folk dance? Do you know its origin?
If not, let me elaborate a few to you.
Tinikling means “bamboo dance” in English. It is the most popular and best known of the Philippine dances and honored as the Philippine National Dance. This dance originated in the islands of Leyte in the Visayan Islands. People of Leyte describe the tikling bird as one of the most unique in its movements – walking around and between the tree branches and some grass stems. This bird was named “tikling” from which the Tinikling dance got its name. Because of the creativeness of the people, they have imitated this bird by using bamboo poles.
Let’s talk about Pangalay which is also one of the most popular dances in the Philippines. Pangalay is a traditional Tausug dance. It focuses in the body postures and gestures and graceful arm and hand movement. Pangalay is also known as fingernail dance. Interesting, right?
It is really fun to learn and understand the Folk Dances. Wait, there’s more! Banga dance! Banga dance portrays the Igorot women on their way to the river to fetch the daily water supply for their family. Banga shows the skill and strength of the women as they would carry heavy laiden clay pots (Banga) full of water. Their grace and agility while balancing the heavy pots, sometimes stacks 5 high, is a testiment of the Filipino and how hardships become an art form and talent.
Tinikling, Pangalay, and Banga are just some of the dances performed in the Philippine Islands. There are lots of Folk Dances in the Philippines that evolved and there are some changes. But, the root of every Folk Dance and its message will never be changed.
Check out this playlist of Philippine Folk Dances:
May these golden pillars of our culture won’t ever be forgotten. After all, everything that we have now is based from what has been established in the past. Let us not forget to appreciate and remember them every once in a while.
A big part of the Filipino identity is their language spoken. Amidst the diversity, the Filipino language seem to bond every Filipinos coming from the different parts of the archipelago.
READ MORE: WE ARE MANY BUT ONE!