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SAYAW SA ALON: The People and the Dance Tradition of Sulu Archipelago (Film and Dance Workshop)

January 30, 2014

Inihahandog ng UP Departmento ng Antropolohiya, sa pakikipagtulungan ng CSSP Folklore Studies Program at ng AlunAlun Dance Circle, ang SAYAW SA ALON: The People and the Dance Tradition of Sulu Archipelago (film and dance workshop). Gaganapin po ito sa mga sumusunod na petsa, lugar at oras:

Libre po ang admission – kailangan lamang po mag-register upang mabilang ang mga magsisipagdalo. Maaari lamang pong tumawag sa teleponong 4261454 o 9818500 loc 2446 (c/o Belle). Ang unang 100 na magpaparehistro ay siyang mabibigyan ng prayoridad. Maraming salamat po.

Sayaw sa Alon

Writer and Director: Nannette Matilac


A thousand years ago, the Bajau (Badjaw, Badjao) built magnificent sea vessels. Fifty years ago, they still navigated the seas with beautiful houseboats. Now, there are no more trees to make their houseboats. They are forced to live on land. Sayaw sa Alon (Dancing on Waves) combines the traditional dances and music of the Sulu Archipelago to dramatize the rapid transformation of the Bajau from sea dwellers to land-based nomads. The dance documentary follows the Bajau migration from the Sulu Archipelago to the slums along railroad tracks of Laguna.

Sayaw sa Alon (Dancing on Waves)is a journey into the life and culture of an endangered people whose cultural demise will be a great loss to humanity itself.

Running time: 60 min

About Rosalie S. Matilac

a.k.a. Nannette Matilac

She has over 20 years of experience as writer/director and producer for various media, including mainstream television. She has produced award-winning independent documentaries, feature and docudramas for leading broadcast networks, NGOs, educational institutions and government agencies. She has written magazine features published in national publications. She is the Managing Director of AlunAlun Dance Circle, Inc. dedicated in preserving and conserving dances of the Sulu Archipelago


Writer and Director: Nannette Matilac


The art of the Sulu Archipelago (Samal, Bajau, Tausug, Jama Mapun), particularly the performing arts and the visual arts, are the Philippine’s living links to the culture of the rest of Asia. At present, collective memory of the music, dances and visual arts is being lost at an alarming rate due to western acculturation, globalization, disinterest in tradition, armed conflict, and many other factors that the documentary will tackle.

Fortunately, such vanishing arts and culture of the Sulu Archipelago have been documented by Ligaya Fernando-Amilbangsa, a Christian who fell in love with a Muslim closely related to the Sultanate of Sulu. In 1964, against her mother’s wishes, Ligaya married Datu Punjungan Amilbangsa, the younger brother of Sultan Mohammad Amirul Ombra Amilbangsa—the last reigning sultan of Sulu.

As fate would have it, the marriage became the fulfillment of Ligaya Amilbangsa’s life mission. By living in Sulu Archipelago for over three decades, she was able to record the performing arts, visual arts, and other traditions that are now endangered intangible cultural heritage.

“Ang Pagbabalik sa Tawitawi” documents Ligaya Amilbangsa’s return to the Sulu Archipelago after more than 30 years, to re-connect and to share with the people the arts she helped preserve. Alas, contemporary Sulu society have forgotten most of these art forms.

Running time: 1:10 minutes

About Ligaya F. Amilbangsa

Ligaya Fernando-Amilbangsa, one of the artists declared as “Bayani ng Sayaw” by the NCCA in 1998, is also a leading cultural researcher who pioneered in the documentation and codification of traditional dances in the Sulu Archipelago, notably the pangalay dance style (along with langka and lunsay dance styles). She can also be credited for the comprehensive documentation of vanishing visual arts and material culture of the Sulu Archipelago which can be seen in her books “Pangalay: Traditional Dances and Related Folk Artistic Expressions” and “Ukkil: Visual Arts of the Sulu Archipelago”.

She has received numerous awards: Far Eastern University (FEU), presented her with the Green and Gold Artist Award for dance in 1994. In the same year, during the 423rd anniversary of the City of Manila, she was named Special Awardee for Dance Research. The Francisca Reyes Aquino Memorial Foundation Award gave her the Recognition for Dance Research on the 100th Birth Anniversary of the National Artist on 9 March 1999. At its Golden Jubilee, the Philippine Folk Dance Society awarded her the Parangal Sayaw Bulawan on 22 May 1999. The Ateneo de Manila University gave her its most important award for cultural preservation, the Tanglaw ng Lahi Award, in July 2005. She was given the Special Aliw Award in 2007.

But perhaps the most meaningful award is the 2011 Award for [First] Most Outstanding Artist of Tawitawi. The latter is a testimony that she is accepted by the people whose culture she embraced and promoted for almost fifty years since 1964.

About the AlunAlun Dance Circle, Inc.(ADC)

The AlunAlun Dance Circle, Inc.(ADC) was established in 1999 by a group of professionals inspired by the beauty and versatility of the pangalay. The ADC was registered under the Securities and Exchange Commission as a non-profit organization in 2000.

The group derived its name from the graceful strength of waves or alun that shaped the coastlines, as well as the diverse cultures of the Philippines. Under the tutelage of pangalay dance teacher and choreographer, Ligaya Fernando-Amilbangsa, the AlunAlun Dance Circle aspires to revive, stimulate and sustain interest in ancient Filipino art forms, notably the pangalay dance style, through comprehensive dance instruction, research, and performances.