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Ragragsakan – Learn More

MeaningTo celebrate; merry-making
Dance CultureHighland Cordillera
Place of OriginLubuagan, Kalinga
Ethnolinguistic GroupKalinga
Background / Content

The Kalinga borrowed the beautiful word ragragsakan from the Ilocano, which means merriment. The biggest occasions for a ragragsakan in a Kalinga village are two, the homecomings of successful headtakers and the culmination of a peace-pact between warring tribes Both these celebrations and other smaller ones are moments for all the village to come out in a display of oneness.

Food and wine mix with victory cries, songs, music and dance, no one hardly ignores ganza music and the Kalinga perform what they are best known to do – dance. Bodies are tattooed, expensive beads, headtaker’s feather crowns, festve costumes and emblem blankets are brought out on display. Since it is the men who are mostly involved in the machismic activities of kayaw (headhunt) or budong (peace-pact), the women confine themselves to food preparation and other chores related to servicing the men at council. If not busy cooking they are moving kitchen items, utensils, water to wherever they are needed. A carry-all basket called labba serves as container for anything to be transferred

Taking inspiration from the sight of Kalinga maidens balancing labba baskets on their heads
snaking through the dikes of terraces and skipping through breaks in the path, the ragragsakan
dance came to be. Tribal blankets came as additions to the dance as well as short saldumay songs


1. Intako Mansasado – Let us fetch water – Banga Dance
2. Ya Yana Ya – Bontoc Song



Intaku Mansasakdu
Intaku Mansasakdu
Dong-dong ay sidong-ilay

Intaku Manguumos
Intaku Manguumos
Dong-dong ay sidong-ilay

Intaku Manru-rug-rug
Intaku Manru-rug-rug
Dong-dong ay sidong-ilay


Yang angnas cha ang anen
Chae-e maros nang taweng
A-di-kay waloy weng-weng
Somikas waloy taweng
Somikas waloy taweng

Ya ya ya yan-na
Ya ya ya yan-na
ya-a ya-a ya ay-ay
ya-a ya-a ya ay-ay


Let’s fetch water

Let’s take a bath

Let’s wash our dishes

Let’s celebrate this occasion after 8 years of absence



(From Ramon Obusan Folkloric Dances – Mico Records)

First Appearance – Kayaw 1974

(Headhunt). 1974. Folk dance choreography in two acts.

Choreography – Ramon Obusan

Music – Kalinga Performers

Set design – Dennis Tan

Costume design – Ramon Obusan

and the ICM Sisters headed by Aurora Zembrano ICM

Lighting design – Teodoro Hilado

Premiered by Larawan Dancing Group on 16

Feb 1974 at Cultural Center of the Philippines. Kayaw is a two-act staging of the dances of the Cordilleras, set against a giant stairway to simulate the rice terraces.

Act I revolves around the headhunting of the Kalinga, and a courtship-into-wedding scene. Called the Peacocks of the Mountains, the Kalinga men are decked out in plumed headdresses. Everyone listens for the sound and flight of the ominous idaw bird-telling of victory or defeat in a kayaw. The ma- ngayaw enacts the swift attack to decapitate the enemies and to gain honor in one’s own tribe, especially for those who aspire for leadership and the title pangat. In the clash of spears and shields, two of their own are left dead, one headless. Lamentation of the women and children pierce the silence, as though to bestir the dead to avenge themselves. A mandadawak (priestess) does the same with a ceremonial china bowl into which she seems to catch hair from the air, believed to be of their ancestors. Hair is planted on the heads of grieving relatives. Donning red (the color for mourn- ing), the women light a fire, as though to burn away the spirits of the dead so they will not bother the living. To the victorious warriors called minger, the maidens give the dangas (headbaskets) while singing the balugay. The warriors themselves are absolved of their bloody act by eating binurbur (rice), and are annointed by the man- dadawak with the blood of a black rooster. In the ulawi, the mingers do the victory dance called takiling where they are crowned with lawi (feathered head- dresses) reserved only for successful headhunters. A warrior chooses a girl, bestowing her a gift as he dances the la-ay. Ngilin is the wedding proper where the bride accepts firewood as proof of matrimonial agreement. Tupaya sounds the gongs for the wed- ding, to which the groom dances like a rooster in a love-play with his bride who balances pots of oil on her head, symbol of a smooth married life. In the tuktuk- yod, they enact a contest on who is to bathe after the wedding. The rest of the maidens balance pots on their heads as they skip and sing on their way to a waterfall, dancing the banga.

Act II enacts the budong where the tribes forge a peace pact; otherwise a kayaw could be renewed. To the solitary tune of a nose flute, later joined by mouth flutes, gongs, guitars, violins and voices, a pangat leads a conference among various tribal chieftains. Pakupak is invocation for the meeting of elders. Palpa- liwat boasts of the triumphant exploits of warriors. Tariktik imitates the woodpecker in a dance whose participants are armed with a gong and a blanket. Bendean is an Ibaloy victory dance with the hands and feet directed downwards to the earth. An Isneg duet depicts the character of the most bashful of the north


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