My First Music: “Padanggo Sa Ilaw”, Another Tricky Filipino Dance

Cantara Christopher
2 min readAug 18, 2019

I’m not going to talk about the Tinikling here as it brings back unpleasant memories of having my ankles banged with bamboo poles, but I will mention the (from the Spanish word “fandango”). This is very elegant dance where dancers wear not the formal Maria Clara, which is hard to get around in, but the patadyong, which is a simple cotton dress with butterfly sleeves. My aunt Wilhelmina looked very nice doing this dance, with the candles on the backs of her hands and the candle on her head. You try balancing that. I almost started a fire.

Above: “Pandanggo Sa Ilaw” by Visayan resident Marty McCorkle (2016). And here’s the title dance to this posting, performed by Juan Silos Jr and his orchestra.

Pandanggo traditionally is danced to rondalla music, which is a sort of serenade played by an ensemble of guitars and mandolins and other stringed instruments. It originated in Spain during the Middle Ages. You can also hear the rondalla sound in Mexican and Central and South American music, which should show that Filipinos are more cultural kin to the Hispanic world than the mainland Asian. But we claim both.

© Cantara Christopher 2019

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Cantara Christopher

Actress-writer leading visitors down the rabbit hole of the arts, sex, magick, Filipiniana, and America’s hidden history [cantarachristopher.blog]