The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCAA) has completed a grant project that documented the dance of the province’s indigenous Pala’wan tribes from Quezon town.
The project was spearheaded by a team of volunteers led by Froilan Jick Ergen, who was commissioned by the NCCA to conduct the research.
Their group particularly conducted a study on “Kender,” a dance performance of Pala’wan community in Barangay Isugod with data gathering also held in other barangays.
The group did the research for more than three months from May to August under the guidance of NCCA with the assistance of the Local Government Unit of Quezon.
Ergen said the purpose of their research was to document different original dances of the Indigenous Peoples and showcase and preserve the culture, tradition, and beliefs of the different IP groups in the province.
“Ang study ay all about ‘kender’ at sila ay very cooperative to perform their dances. Excited silang maipakita ito sa lahat,” Ergen said.
Kender, pronounced as Kandar, as the letter “e” is pronounced as “a” in their dialect with certain stress, is a traditional native dance of the Pala’wan indigenous peoples, a tribe that lives primarily in the southern part of Palawan, performed during meetings and celebrations.
The dance is basically performed by a male member dancing in the middle while being surrounded by female members clapping to the beat of musical instruments, is performed with different types of steps depending on the occasion such as birthday celebration, wedding ceremonies, healing, and other special occasions.
Ergen said the IP group performed several types of Kender steps during their research which included the “Dagsa-dagsa” a fast-paced dance step that imitates bird movements; “Tugda-tugda” which simulates the planting of rice; “Sayon-sayon” with no specific movements and is generally slow to moderate in terms of speed; “Maryaw” considered as a “dance for all” because this dance encourages and engages everyone willing to participate; “Pagdidiwata” a dance ritual performed during celebrations or for healing of a sick person; and the “Lentigue” which is technically not a dance but is considered to be an integral part of the Kender collective. It is like a courtship dialogue between a male and female speaking alternately.
Instruments played for kender include agong, babandil, suling and gimbal.
“We did this to show that indigenous Pala’wan is rich in amazing culture and tradition, something that we in the province of Palawan can be proud of,” Ergen said.