Muslim Suite

Homage to the Sultan

Although largely Christianized like the rest of the country, the sprawling island of Mindanao to the south still possesses various ethnic groups professing different faiths, among which the Muslim culture dominates. This suite shows exotic dances performed as homage to the sultan with very strong Indo-Malayan and Arabic influences.

Singkil - World Culture Folk Dance Competition 2009
Paunjalay - Azalea International Folk Fair 2011
Mindanao Tapestry - Sampaguita Ball 2010

Asik (Mag-Asik)

A Maguindanao slave girl performs for the Sultan a dance showing doll-like movements.

Burong Talo

Soldiers of the Sultan perform a self-defense dance accompanied by a drum and gongs. Movements show imitations of a fight between a cat and hawk.

Tahing Baila

A dance for three, in imitation of the undulations of fish in the water.


The graceful walk of the Maranao women, as they show off their beautifully beaded umbrellas on the way to a wedding, contrasted by the snobbish stance of the Maranao men.

Kapa Malong-Malong

The “malong” is a tubular skirt consisting of an ample piece of cloth wrapped around the body. Here, a group of Maranao women go through the motions of showing the various ways of wearing the malong.


This dance is a courtship dance from the Tausog tribe. It is believed that the women of the Tausog tribe can only wear the “janggay,” or brass fingernails, after they have visited Mecca. Thus, their hands can never be used for any household work.


Sailing vessels used as the sole means of transportation by the early Malays. Here, dancers from the sea dwellers of Mindanao, known as the Badjaos, balance on top of bamboo poles carried my men, displaying skill and the beauty of the vinta sail.


The most celebrated dance sequence, a courtship dance from the province of Lanao, now a classic in the company’s repertoire. This is the most exotic among Muslim dances that transforms into a fairy tale. The bride becomes a princess and the groom a prince. An entire entourage enter criss-crossed bamboo poles that are clapped at syncopated rhythm. An Arabic chant of conversion precedes the dance. The princess wears a “singkil,” an anklet with bells attached.