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Kinabayo

DanceKinabayo
MeaningHorsemen
Dance CultureLowland Christians
Place of OriginDapitan , Zamboanga del Norte
Ethnolinguistic GroupChavacano
ClassificationFestival / mock war dance
Background / Content

September each year brings out into the streets of Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte hundreds of “horsemen” dressed in resplendent costumes riding almost life size papier-mache horses who roam the plaza and grounds for two days. This is the KINABAYO festival (kabayo is horse to the Visayans and Tagalogs), a unique Moro- moro or comedia version commemorating the search for the Holy Cross by Christian crusaders and their numerous fights with Moros.

The KINABAYO, starts with a grand parade around town participated in by large groups of “Moorish horsemen” and “Christian crusaders” in distinct costumes, each cloth put together by matching textile and drapes pulled out from mother’s baol or aparador. Medieval times, and adventures and romances are relieved. Pretty princesses, charming princes, staunt Moorish sultants and brave horsemen come alive while martial music and dances cast their spell on everyone. Unlike better known versions of the comedia or Moro-moro which is usually staged on a raised platform, the Kinabayo is better performed and appreciated where horses gallop freely during joists, tournaments and fights. The school ground best suit this need Though showing great skill in battle, the predictable end of this Kinabayo Moro-moro is the defeat of the Moorish horsemen led by the prince who shaply acts out his role. Like his horsemen the Moro principe is dressed resplendently in stunningly bright brocades and silk. Swords, shields and standards complete their get-up. Their horses are equally drapped with rich materials. On the other hand the Christian crusaders also led by a charming principe, carrying the colors of the Christian church, which they gallantly defend to the end, dispaly the discipline of an army. Men and horses are equally simple costumed, distinguishing them from their Moro protagonists. The Kinabayo formally ends when the contested cross transfer hands from the Moros to the Christians.

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