Philippine Games

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Tinikling; The Philippines’s Signature Dance

Folk dancing is an entertaining form of art. It is enjoyed by people, both young and old, whether participants or spectators, Filipinos and even people from all over the globe. For centuries, dancing accompanied with folk songs had been the principal pastime of the Filipino people. At social gatherings, the ancient Filipinos danced in wedding celebrations, in feasts, and in religious ceremonies. One of these native folk dances that uplift the pride of Filipinos is the Tinikling. Tinikling is a mimetic dance or “a kind of dance wherein dancers step into roles other than themselves, and mimic animals, inanimate objects, or other people” (Alejandro, 1978, p.75, para.1). There are many other mimetic dances which showcase the rich culture of the Philippines; the Makonggo which mimics the behavior and the facial expression of a monkey, the Kalapati which is based on a dove, using its cooing gentleness as a way of courtship, and the Itik-itik which caricatures the waddling of the ducks. But, the most famous of these mimetic Filipino dances is the Tinikling. Tinikling is the most famous and best known of the Philippine dances. It is a dance which attests the Filipinos’ close association with the biodiversity of the environment. It shows that the early Filipinos appreciate every little thing in nature and merged the aspects and the creatures in the environment with their daily lives and formed a rich and magnificent culture. It is once the national dance of the Philippines portraying the attempts of the farmers to catch the worst enemy of the rice field, the tikling or “Slaty-breasted Rail (Gallirallus straicus)” (Gilliard, 1958, p.251, para.3).” It reflects the movements of both the farmers and tikling birds, as the farmers set bamboo traps for the bird and as the bird hops and dodge to avoid the bamboo traps” (, 2001, para.3). Considered as one of the oldest dances from the Philippines, Tinikling originated in...