Philippine Folk Dance Examples and History

Philippine Folk Dance is rich in various aspects including music, food, clothing and even dances. These folk dances show the diverse culture of the Philippines. They are the living proof of Philippine history.


Philippine folk dance is a true reflection of daily life in past centuries while enchanting modern audiences at the same time. There is no recorded “start” to Philippine folk dance – as long as there have been people on the islands they have been dancing. These festivals still feature ancient folk dances performed in costume of the tribal period. Many traditional dances were designed to thank the gods for rain and harvests.

Modern folk dance festivals still feature ancient dances performed in costume of the tribal period of the Philippines. Philippine folk dance mirrors the culture and tradition of the Filipinos. It has also been a source of culture identify of the people according to

Philippine Folk Dance Examples

In this topic, we will learn about the list of some of the famous Philippine folk dances. Here are the following dances:

Philippine Folk Dances from Luzon

    1. Banga

        The Banga or pot dance is a contemporary performance of Kalinga of the Mountain Province in the Philippines. This dance demonstrates the languid grace of a tribe otherwise known as fierce warriors.

    2. Maglalatik

        Maglalatik was originally performed in Biñan, Laguna as a mock-war dance. It illustrates a fight between the Moros and the Christians over the prized latik or coconut meat during the Spanish rule. This dance is also shown to pay tribute to the town’s patron saint, San Isidro Labrador.

    3. Pandanggo sa Ilaw

        The word pandanggo comes from the Spanish dance “fandango” accompanied with lively steps and clapping while following a varying ¾ beat. Pandanggo requires excellent balancing skill to maintain the stability of three tinggoy, or oil lamps, placed on head and at the back of each hand. This famous dance of grace and balance originated from Lubang Island, Mindoro.

Other dances in Luzon:

    4. Balse

        It was a famous dance in Marikina, Rizal during the Spanish times. Balse (valse in Spanish) means waltz. This dance was performed after the lutrina (a religious procession). The music that accompanied the dancers was played by the musikong bungbong (musicians using instruments made of bamboo).

    5. Jotabal

        It is derived from the words Jota and valse. The Spaniards introduced the dance in the Philippines. Valse means waltz, a step or a dance in 3/4 time. This lively festival dance originated in Camohaguin, Gumaca, Quezon (formerly Tayabas).

    6. Makonggo

        It is a comic dance from Santa Maria, Bulacan. Makonggo is came from the Tagalog word chonggo or unggo which means monkey. In this dance, the dancer imitates a monkey – its characteristic movements, gestures, grimaces, etc. When it is in a happy, playful or angry mood, while it is playing, eating, or resting, for instance. Only one man performs this dance. Most of his movements are his own improvisations.

Philippine Folk Dances from Visayas

Here are the list of Philippine Folk dances from Visayas.

  1. Tinikling

    Tinikling means “bamboo dance” in English. The dance imitates the movement of the tikling birds as they walk between grass stems, run over tree branches, or dodge bamboo traps set by rice farmers. Dancers imitate the tikling bird’s legendary grace and speed by skilfully moving between large bamboo poles.

  2. Kuratsa

    The Kuratsa is a popular dance in the Waray people of the Eastern Visayan region in the Philippines. Strictly speaking, The Kuratsa must be done the amenudo. Only one couple dances it at a time. the Kuratsa is however, very different in the manner of execution to the Mexican counterpart.

  3. Mazurka Boholana

    Mazurka Boholana is a Spanish-inspired ballroom dance from the Bohol province of the Philippines. Although the mazurka is the Polish national dance, it was wildly famous throughout Europe in the 19th century and even in colonized lands overseas.

  4. Escotis

    Popularly known in Capiz. Escotis is the tribal dance of the people inhabiting the mountains of Capiz. The barrios of Tinpas and Panitan and also in the town of Panay this dance highly famous.

Philippine Folk Dances from Mindanao

    1. Itik-Itik

        It was a dance from Surigao del Norte, in which the movements of a duck are imitated. An itik is a species of duck.

    2. Singkil

        The Maranao dance called Singkil is in the repertory of all Filipino dance troupes. In 1958 the Bayanihan Dance troupe began with a simple version. It has since developed it into a theatrical, and stylized spectacle to the point of it becoming the troupe’s signature piece.

    3. Kandingan

        Performed at Tausog weddings in Jolo, the Kandingan consisted of figures and steps based on classical and traditional Indian dance forms. Dancers perform with slightly bent knees turned outward, and fingers held stiffly together with the thumb outward and apart. 


There are also great diversity of dances with different forms and dynamics. It grow out of various times, situation and experiences. As a result, it is impossible to know when exactly dancing became a part of life in the Philippines. They is to thank the gods for natural and agricultural events.

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