Our Theatrical Roots
There was no proof that the ancient
Filipinos has stage presentation during the pre-hispanic times. The ancient Filipinos have performances such as ritual rites and ceromonies which were tagged theatrical. The roots of the Philippine theater may be traced to early religious and social rituals of the natives. To this day, some of these traditional rites and ceremonies are still practiced by the ethnic tribes.
Religious Rites and Ceremonials
The early Filipinos had different rituals to mark important events in a man's life. birth
reaching manhood or womanhood
courtship and marriage
planting and harvest
victory over enemies
the assumption of office of a new chieftain
These events were mostly marked by some mimetic action.
an immitation of real action.
The essential ingredient in many of the
In these rituals, the petitioner offered sacrifice symbolic of himself to seek the favor of the hidden powers- the supreme being (bathala), the anitos and other spiritual forces such as the sun, the moon, tala (morning star), or bahaghari (rainbow)-even powerful beasts such as the crocodile, and certain trees, rocks and birds. The high priest or priestess called babaylan, baylan, catalonan, mungcolnon or walian, was at times mediator and intercessor, and at times the figures of power, and therefore the representative of the spirit whose favor was being sought.
Pagdiwata – held by the Tagbanuas to thank the spirits for a good harvest or please for a cure of the sick.
Runsay – another Tagbanua ritual.
an old propitiatory ritual meant to ask the spirits to keep sickness away.
a common feature of social gatherings.
Usually part of rituals.
often had mimetic elements of their own.
Performed to dramatize...
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