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Nilambay

Dance Nilambay
Meaning Like crabs
Dance Culture Coastal Chirstians
Place of Origin Tubigon , Bohol
Ethnolinguistic Group Boholano
Classification Mimetic , Entertainment
Background / Content

The Philippines has over 7,100 Islands, a shoreline twice the length of that of the United States, and an industry solely dependent on the sea.

Typical of many coastal towns, Tubigon is situated in the picturesque island of Bohol in the Visayas. Most of Tubigon’s activities center on the catch and sale of the blue crab known to the islanders as lambay (Sn. Neptunus pelagicus), earning the title “crab center of Bohol”.

In the morning of a typical Tubigon day, the crabmen mill around with buyers, vendors, traders, simple housewives and kibitzers. At the packed market place buyers haggle and shout, merchandise examined, containers shifted, and shuffled as money change hands. As the morning wears off, containers and baskets of lambay find their way to other towns or nearby islands.

Afternoons are for short siestas and the repair of nets and boats. Others take a short trip to town for supplies and foodstuff for the next trip.
Evenings are for relaxation and socializing. As soon as the sun sets, men gather informally around tables of their favorite tuba (coconut wine), talking about the day’s activities,enjoying small gossip and a laugh or two. Someone brings out a guitar, village songs sang, voices join in, and a party is in the making.

A typical evening like this provided the right ingredients for a dance session. Like many other community activities, it takes just one to start it all. A man who must have had one too many, who insets good music must never go to waste, pulls up a hesitant lady partner to
center stage and performs a jig. Starting with standard folk steps, the couple proceeds to try more adventurous and daring steps. Why not do movements of lambay, they thought and so they went on to experiment further.
They hit it big!

The crowd liked what they saw and shouted their approval. Soon the entire beach was fighting, pinching, clawing and biting at each other very much like a bunch of hyper crabs. During the party there were no synchronized steps nor studied formations or figure by figure sequence. It was just plain fun with man and crab came into terms in a happy partnership. The night gave birth to the nilambay dance. After November 1988 celebration of the Sandugo (Blood Compact) festival, dancers of the Tagbilaran national High School dance troupe under Oscar Real, demonstrated this
version to Ramon Obusan and his research staff. It featured three male lambays Interrupting
a couple’s sweet rhapsody in blue

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