Menu Close

Pastores Taft – Learn more

DancePastores Taft
Dance ResearcherPastores of Taft town
Dance CultureLowland Christians
Place of OriginTaft, Eastern Samar
Ethnolinguistic GroupWaray / Visayan
ClassificationEntertainment , Religious
Background / Context

After crossing the Philippines’ longest bridge, the San Juanico Bridge and driving four hours, we finally got to Taft town in Eastern Samar. Four women in their late 50’s and a three-member band were on hand to welcome my team and I. From their looks, they were excited to sing and dance. After all, the last time they danced the pastores was that Christmas before the Second World War in 1941. And since then all was forgotten. There was never a move to revive the town’s best-loved tradition, the pastores.


                The youth of Taft regard Hollywood’s commercial imposition on priorities and manner of handling delicate traditions such as pastores and other Christmas practices as the call of the time – a time to change from those repetitive drab dance steps, and “funny”-sounding songs with pop rock music, Santa Claus, bright lights colorful Christmas trees and fabulous high-tech toys. Realizing that culture changes and moves in progression, the tag between the pastores and commercialism is on.


                Help is needed if only to keep the pastores going for a few more years with just a handful clinging to hope that assistance and recognition may come long way very soon. These pastores followers are the inspiration behind the move to uphold the usefulness in giving meaning to the Christmas season. It was these Christmas practices, pastores included, that bind the neighbors together and the community as well.


                Pastores Taft narrates the shepherd’s adoration to the newborn Child, the gifts they brought and their invitation for the world to also come and adore the King. Inspired by a Spanish villoncinco (carol) that specified gifts of chestnuts, oranges, candies, milk and farm products and also musical instruments played a violin, drum, flute, and guitar. And to lend local flavor, corn, palay (rice grains) and poinsettia flowers were added.




Kay kami an mga pastures
Mag lipayon god nga waray sanglit
Mag sayaw kita, ngan mag awit
Han bata hadi sa langit

Sayaw hin waray pahuway
An mga pastures nag lilipay
Kay basi mali awan budlay
Han mga tag balay

Ako boot magdara
Castañas ug kahel
Yadi in akon hayupan
Nga maupay nga tubo
Akon ang gatas ug dulse
Pati osa nga rabil

Pagkaskas, pag togtog
Panderitas, plawtas
Gimbal og sista
Tana sa belen

Cordere, cordere tukare
Tang pusa an mga pastures
Buligan, buligan mo kami




We are the shepherds
in endless jubilation
Let us dance, let us sing
to the Child, the King of Heaven

Dance without tire
We, shepherds rejoice and pray
to ease the weariness
of this household.

I humbly bring
chestnuts and oranges
Here are my gifts
from the farms and fields
Mine is milk, candies
and one violin

Go and strum, go and play
tambourine, flute
drums and guitar
Let’s go to the manger!

Go and play
And the shepherds will dance
Help us, help us
to pray endlessly 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.