Menu Close

Dance Literature – Pastores Bool


Dance Pastores Bool
Source Pastores Performers of Bool, Bohol
Place and Date Recorded Tagbilaran, Bohol , July 21, 1989
Researcher Ramon A. Obusan
Presenter and Dance Notator Cherry Ylanan-Villanueva
Meaning Pastores of Bool Town
Dance Culture Lowland Christians
Place of Origin Bool , Bohol
Ethnolinguistic Group Boholano
Classification Entertainment , Religious , Seasonal

Background / Context:

Churches are nowhere as grandiose and imposing as those in towns of Bohol. Storie or coral churches stand today as a silent witness to the glory that was Old Bohol. Early Christian missionaries foresaw a religion that was to stay forever in the islands, therefore establishing religious centers and building churches as permanent monuments to this great vision. And from within the walls of churches flowed doctrines and religious tenets that guided the natives into becoming the good Christians expected of them by the religious leaders.

In these hundreds of years devastating calamities like earthquake, typhoons, fires and war have spared these magnificent architectural wanders and together with it the traditions that are based on church’s precepts. Yearly church activities honouring saint’s days, Lent and especially Christmas are high points in the Christian calendar.

At Christmas time Bool town like other neighboring towns, expect the arrival of the pastores, a group of singer-dancer composed of men and ladies who move from house to house singing praises in Visayan-Cebuano to the child Jesus. A part of the song enjoins everyone to visit the belen. For its irresistible fascination and for the awesome feeling it leaves, the pastores is now part of Bool’s Christmas celebration. Children who ardently follow the group, dream to be a pastora one day, while the old folks wish that the tradition hold little longer before it finally gives way to the tinsels and lights of today’s Christmas.

(Historical Background written by the late National Artist for Dance Ramon A. Obusan)

Dance Properties
Top (baro): Cana Maso (ideally) Short Blouse with medium with stifficornstarched Balintawak sleeves, fine embroidery on the edges of any color.
Scarf (Panuelo) Square material of the same top material cut. Folded into a triangle Embroidered on the edges thrown over shoulders with two ends pinned over chest.
Chemise (Copino): Cheap white cotton daintly embroidered on neckline.
Skirt (saya): Floor length pinukpok(finely pounded abaca) with moderate or long tail that are meant to be tacked on waist for convenience.
Tapis(Sobre Palda): Plain, checkered or stripe wrapped around the waist and gathered on the left side reaching below the knee to cover the thinness of the abaca.
Slip (Inagua): Ankle length, white cotton underskirt.
Accessories: Traditional gold imitation jewelry including combs, earrings and simple necklace.
Footwear: Beaded slippers (cocho) or white sapatilya
Dance Implement: Panama hat or narrow brimmed hat (buri) or of similar type.
MALE 1910 Barong Tagalog
Top: Half-opened in front, standing Chinese collar with U-shaped design or embroidery on the bodice. Pina, Jusi, fine abaca and lately organza material.
Pants: Standard cut checkered in dark or earth colors.
Footwear Cocho black or brown.
Dance Implement: Panama hat (narrow brimmed, black ribboned)
NOTE: Costume description taken from the works of the late National Artist for Dance Ramon A. Obusan

2/4 and 3/4 Composed of eight parts: A, B, C, D, E, F, G & H.

Musical Accompaniment: Rondalla, Banjo or Guitar


One, two or One, and two to a measure in 2/4 time signature.

One, two, three to a measure in 3/4 time signature.


Partners are about six feet apart. One to any number of pairs maytake part in this dance.

Movements particular to the Dance:
1. Folkish and simple dance movement
2. Simultaneous dancing and singing
3. Hand gestures that interpret the search for the manger
4. Exaggerated chin up , bent trunk and arms
Music A (instrumental — moderate tempo)
Preparatory Position Partners stand side by side with hat worn on top of head, Girl on the right side of the Boy, R shoulders towards the audience; enter from the right side of the stage.
(a) Starting with the R foot, take one hop-step forward with L. knee bent and raised in front (cts. 1,2) with a close fist knuckles down; R forearm bent in front of the body at waist level and L forearm bent sideward waist level; flip both wrists upward (knuckles up) on the second count of the measure 1M
(b) Repeat (a) starting with the L foot and reverse the positions of the arms and the movements 1M
(c) Repeat (a) and (b) three more times moving forward to reach “up-center stage.” 6M
(d) Quarter turn right on the first measure to face audience, boy behind the girl repeat (a) and (b) four times moving forward to “center stage” 4M
(e) Repeat (a) and (b) four tires making a quarter turn right in place on every first count of the measure. Finish facing front 4M
(f) Step R fool forward and raise L heel, cross wrists Lover R, palms facing chest (ct. 1), step L foot in place and heel R foot in front (lock knee); bow with slightly bent body forward: looks down and extend arms diagonally forward at shoulder level palms up (ct. 2) 1M
Music B(with singing part – moderate tempo)
Partner face audience; Boy stands behind the Girl slightly to the left.
(a)Starting with the R foot, take one close-step moving forward (cts. 1,2), with forearms bent at waist level: palms up elbows close to waist; sway forearms to sideward right; L forearm in front of the waist (ct.1), and sideward left; R forearm in front of the waist (ct.2). Giri slightly bend body and head to sideward right and left alternately1M
(b)Repeat (a) starting with R foot forward (ct.1), sway forearms to sideward right as in count 1 of (a), this time in one measure to sideward right1M
(c)Repeat (a) and (b) starting with the L foot moving forward and reverse the positions of the arms and movements2M
(d)Repeat (a -c) moving forward4M
(e)Repeat (a -c) twice travelling backward. Finish at the center of the stage; Boy behind the Girl8M
(f)Repeat (a – e) once16M
Music A(instrumental – moderate tempo)
Girl: Holds hat on the brim with R hand near the temple.
Boy: Holds hat at the side of the brim with both hands; hallow part facing the chest
(a)Partners repeat Figure I (a) footwork. Girl makes a quarter turn right moving forward, hand gesture as in preparatory position throughout the measure; while Boy makes a quarter turn left travelling forward (opposite direction of Girl). Boy slightly move hat to clockwise (ct. 1), and counterclockwise (ct.2) (as if turning a wheel) finish with Rhand of Boy on top1M
(b)Partners repeat. Figure ! (b) footwork. Girl continues moving forward, hand gesture as in (a) while Boy continues moving forward and move hat to clockwise (in one measure) finish with L hand on top1M
(c)Repeat (a) and (b) moving on the same direction2M
(d)Partners turn right about immediately (face inside). Repeat (a) moving forward. Partners finish in one line; L to L shoulders (Girl’s R shoulder towards audience; Boy’s R shoulder away from audience)4M
(e)Repeat (a-d)8M
(f)Face front and step R forward (ct.1), close L to R (ct.2). Arms as in preparatory position.16M
Music(instrumental – moderate tempo
Girl takes several steps towards (no specific count) the audience in preparation for the verso (speaking lines). Deliver the verso addressing the audience and partner. Boy stays in place, kneel on Li place hands on top of the R thigh and look at the Girl

Verso : girl

Mga higala! Ngano mang magmalipayon kita karon pa sang una?(My friend! Why are we so jubilant from the very beginning?)

Note: Boy immediately stand as he deliver the verse


Verso : Boy

Magmalipayon kita kay nagpakatawo ang batang Diosnon sa sulod belen!

(We are extrernely jubilant the day we found out that Holy Child was born in the manger!)


Verso : Girl

Ang labing maayo duawon ta ang belen!

(The best thing to do is to pay homage to the manger!)

Music C(with singing part-moderate tempo)
At the center of the stage, partners stand side by side; Girl on the right of the
Boy. Partners perform the figure with simultaneous movements.
(a)Step R foot forward, slightly bend body to the right (cts. 1,2) R forearm
obliquely forward right; waist level palm up: fingers together; (ct.1); bend R
elbow and raise palm closer to R cheek (as if calling every one) L hand down
at side (ct.2)
 (b)Repeat (a) starting with L foot; reverse the arm positions and movements1M
(c)Repeat (a) and (b) moving forward2M
(d)Repeat (a) and (b) footwork. Boy travels half way counter clockwise direction
while Girl in half way travel clockwise direction and place R hand (palm down)
on the forehead: elbows out (as if searching for the manger from a far)
(e)Repeat (a) and (b) footwork of partner continues the direction of the travel in
(d) place right hand on top of the other; palms up waist level; elbows out (as if
cradling a baby)
(f)Repeat (a) and (b) footwork four times; finish facing each other; R arm in
reverse T-position; paim facing temple; L arm down at side
(g)Repeat (a) and (b) footwork. Raise arms in V-position (as if venerating) on the
first measure and lower hands and close palms in front of chest; fingers
pointing upward (as if praying) finish facing front at “center stage”
(h)Repeat (a – g) finish standing side by side at” downstage center”16M
Music E(with singing part – moderate tempo)
Partners face audience.
Partners perform the figure with simultaneous movements.
(a)Place R heel in front (cts. 1,2), and slightly bend body to right, arms in reverse T-position (slightly inward); and close fingertips together; close R foot to L(Cr.3) and stand straight while close end of fingers together (fingers pointing
the temple)
(b)Repeat (a) starting with L foot and reverse the position of the body. Arms positions and movements as in (a)1M
(d)Repeat (a) and (b) three more times while moving backward. Finish facing each other on the last measure (Gir’s R shoulder towards audience; Boy’s L shoulder towards audience)6M
(e)Repeat (a -c) in place facing each other8M
Music F (with singing part — moderate tempo) Partner face each other and perform figure simultaneously.
(a) Take one sway balance with a waitz to sideward right arms in 4th position right arm high (Girl gently bend head and body to sideward left.) 2M
(b) Repeat (a) starting with L foot and reverse the positions of arms and movements 2M
(c) Take one waltz forward; raise R arm diagonally upward (knuckles leading palm down) look at the R hand; L hand of Boy at back of waist; Gir’s L hand holds skirt 1M
(d) Dance one waltz backward; bring down R hand (palm up) in front, R leg and looks at R hand. Partner’s L hands as in (c) 1M
(e) Repeat (c) but exchange position with the partner passing by R to R 1M
(f) Repeat (d) both turn right about gently. Finish facing each other at “center stage” 1M
(g) Repeat all (a-f) 8M
Music G(with singing part – moderate tempo)
Partner face audience. Boy holds hat on top. Girt behind the Boy.
(a)Take tour waltz steps moving forward; Girl’s arms as in Figure IV (e) cradling a baby while boy places hat in front of the chest4M
(b)Repeat (a) moving forward but this time execute waltz with exaggerated
bending of trunk forward and accent on the 1st count of every measure. Arms
as in (a)

Girl: Take eight walking steps (on 14 count of every measure) in place and bend body gently to sideward right and left alternately and hold hat on the brim with both hands; hollow part facing chest.

Boy: Kneels on left; hold hat on top with R hand and place hat in front of chest; L hand at the back of waist

 Boy remains kneeling on L; Girl walks closer to audience. Deliver verso addressing the audience and partner Couple may use the hat to express the verse. Finish with hat worn on top of the head. 

Verso (girl)

Mga higala! Karon ta kay kumanta kita sa paghalad kay Jose, Maria ug saBatang Musmus. Kay mauli na kita sa atong pagsaka sa panimalay

(My friend! After we have finished adoring and praising Joseph, Mary and theHoly Child. At last we are going home in great exaltation!


Verso (boy) :

Karon dayun mauli na kita

(Yes! Indeed we are ready to go home)

Note: Boy stands as he delivers the verse

Music A(Instrumental – moderate tempo) 
(a)Partner stand side by side facing the audience. Girl on the right side of boy. 
(b)Starting with R foot take three walking steps in place (cts. 1,2,1), finish facing sideward right. Raise bent L knee bent in front and bend trunk sideward right chin up (ct.2). Hands in closed fist, slowly raise L arm in front of chest, elbows out. R arm down at side2M
(c)Repeat (a) starting with the L foot and reverse the arm positions and movements2M
(d)Repeat (a) and (b) six times more12M
(e)Step R foot in place (ct.1), close L to R (ct.2). Step R foot in place (ct. 1) and pause (ct.2). Finish facing front; arms down at the side2M
Music D(with singing part — Moderate Tempo)
Stand side by side with partner facing the audience. Girl on the right
side of boy
(a)Starting with the R foot take four waltz steps in place and repeat arm
movements in Figure V (a) in every measure
(b)Repeat five waltz steps starting with R foot moving counter clockwise (Boy
leading) and raise R arm to wave (as if saying good bye). Wave R hand in
time with the music (fast alternately right and left)
(c)Repeat (a) and (b) for seven measures continuously travelling counter
clockwise to complete one circle. Finish facing the audience at “upstage
center”. Girl on the right of boy
(d)Starting with R foot; take three-step turn right in place, arms down at the side
for Girl Boy hold hat with R hand placed on chest.
(e)Partners kneel on L; Girl places hands on the R lap while Boy holds hat
with R hand close to chest and L hand on waist
Music H(With singing part – moderate tempo)
Partner kneel on L; facing the audience.
(a)Stand (ct.and) and step R foot backward (ct. 1), Boy immediately place hat on
top of head; L hand down at side while Girl’s L arm bent in front of chest: R
arm down coliquely backward; close fists. Dancers slightly bend trunk
backward and chin up. Step L in place (ct.2)
(b)Dance one change step (R,L,R)1M
(c)Place L heel forward (locked knee). R knee bent and lean forward (ct.1)
Partners reverse the position of the arms as in (a) of the Girl. Step R in place
(d)Repeat (*. -d) three times more12M
(e)Wave to audience and walk to exit stage R8M


Maayung Paskua kaninyo nga tananMerry Christmas everyone
Mga bisita ug tumatambongWith all the visitors triumphant
Kabus-ug datu panay tigulangOur companions are old and wise
Tan-awa ninyo ining among kalingawanCome and witness our jubilations
Tana Tana nga TananCome every one join us
Pangitaun ta ang belenSearch for the Holy manger
Pangitaa sa vervo ni Sta Mariang BirhenSeek in the arms of The Virgen Mary
(Sing Twice) 
Gloria Gloria in excels deoGlory Glory in excels deo
Himaya sa langit sa kahitaasanGlory to heaven in the highest
Nagpakatawo si Jesus and dios nga manunubosJesus came into being God the Savior
Jose nga patriarkaO Joseph the father
O Birhen Santa MariaO Mary the holy most virgen
Nagpakatawo si JesusJesus chose to be human
Ang dios nga manunubosThe savior the revered God
Lingawon lingawon taLet us look at
Ining bata nga santaThe holy child
Sa pasungan sya naghigdaHe lies in the trough
Walay saput walay habol (sing twice)Without clothing without blanket
Tapos na ining among kalingawanOur jubilation has come to an end
Adios na kaninyo mga bisitaGood bye beloved visitors
(sing twice) 
Kami karon pauli naWe are going home
Kami karon pasaylua (sing four times)We are sincerely regretful
Sa among mga kasaypananTo all our companions