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Sohten

Dance Sohten
Meaning  
Dance Culture  
Place of Origin Zamboanga del sur
Ethnolinguistic Group Subanon
Classification  
Background / Content

The people of the Philippines re- main obviously Malay and Indonesian in origin, possessing characteristics of the same type as may be seen physically in their features or observed through their ways of life. In the Southern part of the islands remain many culture traits, as is easily noticed in the dances that are traceable to very early periods in the country’s history. Long before any Westerner arrived, the Subanon of Zamboanga del Sur were already deep in trade with the Arabs, Persians, Hindu and Chinese sea going merchants as well as those from Siam and Cambodia and the rest of Indonesia. Today the Subanons make up one of the biggest cultural communities living in the Lapuyan district. History claims that this study people once lived and dominated both Zamboangas, Norte and Sur holding Sway on economics, society, politics and trades. The mad onslaught of modernism has harshly driven the Subanons to the hinterlands where they are found today. An anthropologist’s consolation is that they have selfishly brought with them their traditions which today constitutes the very essence of their being Subanons These traditions have flowered into a very important part of Philippine legacy, they are very oriental, exotic, and maybe described, especially their dances as mystic and finely stylized. SOTEN, an all-male dance dramatize the strength and stoic character of the Subanon male. Holding a shield on his left, and shaking dried palm leaves on his right, merits him the attention of his gods. In a manner of supplication he calls the attention of the diwatas (deities) with the sound of the leaves, the most beautiful sound to their ears. Making sure that the divinities are present the Subanon warrior continues to dance by shaking his shield, manipulating it as though he was at odds with unseen adversaries. Similarly unique is the music that come from several blue and white Ming dynasty bowls played in syncopation by village maidens, Bowls, gongs, drums, costume, bespeak of influences that cut through the social and cultural lives of the Subanons.

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