List of Philippine Folk Dances

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For some people dancing is a big part of their life. Through dancing people can express their feelings and by dancing, people can say and show what is on their mind. 


Filipinos love to dance and with dance they express their passion and their feelings. No one can determine how long dance exist in the culture of the Filipinos because dancing exists way back at the time of their ancestors. The Philippines ancestors use dances in many ways. They use it to welcome guests, to worship their gods and to give respect to their elders and tribe leaders. Dances became a big part of the Filipinos’ lives, history and culture. Each dance represents a culture, their dance steps shows the way of life of one ethnic group in the Philippines.


It is a well-known fact that the Philippines composed of 7,107 islands and each island has a number of ethnic groups. Each group has its own culture and beliefs which result to different kinds of traditional dances.

Though many years have passed since the day folk dances emerged, there are still people who keep on patronizing folk dances and still showcasing it to many people.

The three major regions of the Philippines have its own folk dances each and in some occasions they use those dances to entertain their guests and to show the colorful Filipino tradition.



Cariñosa is a dance of flirtations where a boy and girl have to dance with each other. A hard to get romance is what the story of the dance is all about. The dancers are in Maria Clara costume and Barong Tagalog with a fan or handkerchief. It is the Philippines’ national dance.

La Jota Manileña

A Philippine Folk Dance named after the capital of the Philippines, the Manila. The dancers use castanets and click them together to make a sound. The dancers are composed of girls and boys and their costumes are Spanish inspired.


Is a Luzon Folk Dance that originated from Biñan, Laguna. It is inspired by Christian-Muslim war over coconut meat during the colonization of the Spaniards. The dancers are composed of male dancers only. They only wear trousers and coconut shells that is placed on different parts of their body. The male dancers who wore red trousers represent the Muslims while the male dancers who wore blue trousers represent the Christians. The dancers have to tap the coconut shells on their body using the coconut shells on their hands.



Sinulog is well known around the world as a Feast of Sto Niño but Sinulog is a kind of Visayan folk dance. Same with the feast it is a dance worshipping Sto. Niño using candles and a prayer is recited before the dance started.


Kuradang also known as Curacha is a wedding dance from Bohol. The dance starts with a slow waltz then transition to a faster beat where the male dancer is chasing the female dancer.

Padanggo sa Ilaw

This dance is consisting of dancers who placed an oil lamp on their hands and on their head. They have to balance the oil lamp on their head while maneuvering the oil lamps on their hands. The music of Padanggo sa Ilaw has similarity with the waltz music.



Singkil is a famous Mindanao Folk Dance, it is also known as the Maranao dance. The female dancer who acts as the Princess has to dance by skipping a cross bamboo poles while maneuvering the fan in her hands. She has to skip with the rhythm created by the bamboo poles.  Before the only accompanied sounds in Singkil is the sounds of the Bamboo poles, today it is accompanied by the music created by the kotiyapi, insi and tintikan.


Maglangka is a Mindanao Folk Dance that is used to mold young ladies to have a good breeding and to act like a lady. The young ladies have to dance gracefully, the Maglangka steps imitates the act of a birds in fight, swimming fish and branches swaying, the dancers have to dance while maintaining their poise.


itik itik is a Mindanao dance that imitates the actions of an Itik. Itik is a native duck of the Philippines. The dancers imitate the duck by copying the flaps of their wings.

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