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Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Philippine Mythological Creatures Introduction

I will be introducing some of the mythological creatures in the Philippine folklore and more information about them as the Philippines is rich in folk tales and folk tales which was webbed through centuries of tradition and culture. They include witches, monsters, beasts, fairies, ghouls, spirits, folkloric beings etc. so we will have some insights into some of the creatures that continue to amaze and astound us through all time. 

Friday, October 7, 2022

Unknown Filipino Hero: Panday Pira

Panday Pira 
Blacksmith and First Filipino Cannon Maker
(1488 - 1576)

Panday Pira is the first Filipino cannon-maker whose cannon foundry was established in Santa Ana during the 1500s. Unfortunately, his foundry disappeared after the Spaniards settled in Manila, and its exact location is unknown today. His name literally translates as Blacksmith Pira, panday being a Tagalog word for "blacksmith".

According to Filipino historian Jaime de Veyra, "Panday Pira's cannons are as good as those produced in Spain and became the official cannon-maker for the Spanish army in the Philippines. His works contributed much to the defense of the Philippine islands against pirates and marauders.

Panday Pira's Early Years

Panday Pira was born in 1488. No one can be sure of the exact date of his birth except the place of his origin, in one of the windy islands in Sulu and born to the wife of a Muslim warrior. 

The young Pira grew up in the shade of colorful stilt houses on the shallow banks of a small lake. The quiet life in the village disturbed him. He often spends hours alone and throws stones into the ocean. He is a good aimer, and he can often hit with stones the fishes and eels that struggle to get away. He thought, if the stones were light, the farther the distance it can reach. 

Work and Efforts as a Blacksmith

Panday Pira is acknowledged as the first Filipino metallurgist. Old tradition maintains that Panday Pira went as far as Ilocos and Isabela in the north and Batangas in the south of Luzon in training the early villagers in the metal smith industry.

He devised his cannons using a mold of clay and wax which Muslim leader Rajah Sulayman used to protect Manila against the invading Spanish troops. This legendary metalsmith was later recruited to equip the walled city of Intramuros.

In 1508 at the age of 20, Pira and his relatives went to Maynilad where he established a foundry on the north bank of the Pasig River now known as the District of San Nicolas. 

Rajah Sulayman commissioned Panday Pira to make several pieces of cannons to be mounted on the palisades surrounding his kingdom and on the seaside portion of his wooden fort to serve as defense of Maynilad. These pieces were as large as the largest Malaga cannons that the Spaniards used.

Maynilad was not taken easily when the Spanish forces led by Captain Martin de Goiti and Juan de Salcedo attempted to explore Maynilad in May 1570 anchoring at the mouth of Pasig River, they were surprised when they were greeted by salvos from the cannons made by Panday Pira. These artillery pieces were hidden behind a network of wooden rattan and bamboo mattings supported by logs and timber of the native's wooden fort. 

The superior artillery guns of the Spanish flotilla bombarded incessantly the Kuta and its palisades. The defeat of Rajah Sulayman was due to the inferior kind of gunpowder they used which they learn from the Chinese. 

Goiti won the first Battle of Manila on May 24, 1570, with the help of its superior artillery and well-armed disciplined men. After the brief battle, Goiti took Panday Pira's cannon as a war booty and presented them to Adelantado Miguel Lopez de Legazpi in Panay Island (most probably Iloilo near Capiz) on which Legazpi subjected these captured artilleries to rigorous test for examination, comparison and later adopted to use. These native cannons made by Pira were proven strong and reliable. They did not crack or burst after continuous firing and in spite of a much greater quantity of powder used. In conclusion, Panday Pira's cannons were found way superior to the Spanish cannons mounted on Legazpi's ships

On May 19, 1571, Legazpi eventually took Maynilad and established a permanent Spanish settlement. Due to lack of artillery pieces, which were not only necessary for the city's defense but also for conquering independent barangays of the land, he sought Panday Pira for his valuable technical knowledge. However, Panday Pira is nowhere to be found because after the Battle of Manila he fled to Bulacan in the middle of 1570 then to Apalit, Pampanga where he eventually settled.

Settling in Pampanga and Other Works

After the Battle of Bangkusay Channel off the coast of Tondo, Panday Pira's family and ten of his relatives lived in Pampanga. He established a foundry shop of farm tools producing the first native plowshare and mold board. Before long, he was manufacturing other farm and household implements such as bolos and knives. Here he taught his sons as well as young Kapampangans to make tools and weapons made of iron or metal. Their creations are known for their quality and durability, so they are known throughout Luzon.  

He used for mould the Apalit clay then abundant in the barrio now called Kapalagan in manufacturing native farm implements. One valuable thing he left was his method of casting and tempering iron to make it harder, more durable and flexible.

Working for Legazpi and Death 

His popularity and skillful craftmanship soon reach Manila. Legazpi summoned Pira to build cannons for the Spanish army. In exchange for his services, he and his family were exempted from tribute and forced labor and also the freedom of living and mingling with Spaniards and freedom from other obligations to the church. Panday Pira, often called by the Spaniards as Pandapira, established his foundry in Lamayan now Santa Ana, Manila with the help from his sons. 

Panday Pira is the inventor of the lantaka, a small cannon that can be rotated or maneuvered at any desired angle and direction. He was requested by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi to manufacture lantakas for galleons and frigates as the Spanish forces is preparing to conquer more lands in the archipelago and the entire Southeast Asian region.

After Legazpi's death of heart attack on August 20, 1572, Panday Pira continued his services to the Spanish army. The cannons he built were not only used for the fortifications of Manila but also in the Spanish military expeditions of Borneo and Moluccas.

Panday Pira died in 1576 at the age of 88 and he was mourned by the Spaniards and Filipinos. His death was a great loss to the Spaniards for nobody including his sons could make similar astounding cannons.

The Spanish authorities not able to find an excellent cannon-maker like Panday Pira appealed to the Spanish monarch saying:

"Pandapira our cannon maker is dead. We cannot find a single man among us to take his place." This was answered in 1584, when a Spanish smith from Mexico arrived in the country and took the cannon maker's foundry.

Fray Gaspar de San Agustin, an anti-Filipino chronicler and friar even admitted that "Pira's cannons were as good as those in Malaga (a town in Spain). Panday Pira's foundry was expanded in 1584 when a Spanish blacksmith came from Mexico. It was later transferred within the city in 1590 and eventually abolished in 1805. 


Image Source:

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Folk Dance of Western Visayas Region: Lanceros de Negros


During the Spanish times, Lanceros was one of the most popular quadrille dances in the Philippines. It is similar to Rigodon and is danced in important social affairs to formally open a big ball. Unlike the Lanceros as danced in Luzon and in some regions in the Visayas, this version from Silay, Negros Occidental is in longways formation. It is a very lively and colorful dance. 

COSTUME. Girl wears Maria Clara style costume. Boy wears barong tagalog and black trousers. 

MUSIC is divided into four parts A, B, C, and Finale.

COUNT one, two; one, and two; or one, and two, and to a measure

FORMATION. Partners face each other about six feet apart. When facing audience, Girl is at right side of partner. Four to any number of pairs may participate. 

If desired, a square formation may be used, each pair occupying a corner of an imaginary square. 


      Brincos Con Puntillas - Jump and land with R (L) foot across the L (R)  in front, both feet flat on the floor (ct. 1), hop on L (R) and foot circle outward in the air with R (L) foot (ct. and), step lightly on ball of R (L) foot in rear L (R) and raise heel of L (R) (ct. 2), spring on  R (L) and land on L (R) and at the same time point R (L) toe in front of L (R) with R (L) knee slightly bent (ct. and).

      Brincos Con Vueltas - Same as brincos con puntillas but make a quarter turn right (left) when hopping on L (R) on the first ct. and. Make another quarter turn right (left) before stepping on the ball of R (L) foot in rear of L (R) on ct. 2. There are two brincos con vueltas to a complete turn (2 M).


Music A.

      Partners face each other. Throughout this figure, Girl's L hand is placed on waist, R hand holding skirt, Boy's arms swinging naturally down at sides.

     (a) Starting with R foot, take four small steps forward to meet at center (cts. 1, 2, 1, 2) ________________________ 2 M

     (b) Repeat (a) moving backward to proper places ________________________ 2 M

      Face left so that Girl's back is toward audience, Boy faces audience.

     (c) Repeat (a) and (b) _______________________ 4 M

      Face each other.

      (d) Starting with R foot, take four steps obliquely left forward, passing by R shoulders _______________________ 2 M

       (e) Repeat (d), moving obliquely right backward to proper places ________________ 2 M

        (f) Repeat (d), moving obliquely right forward, passing by L shoulders (2 M), and in (e) moving obliquely left backward. Take smaller steps backward so that partners finish near each other (2 M). _____________ 4 M


Music B.

         Face partner and join R hands, free hand of Girl holding skirt and that of Boy is placed on waist.

         (a) Starting with R foot, take eight small change steps forward moving once around clockwise. Bend trunk slightly to right and left side alternately. ---------------------------------------------------- 8 M

         Drop R hands, turn right about join L hands free hands as above.
         (b) Repeat (a), moving counterclockwise -------------------8 M


Music C.

       Partners face each other
       (a) Take four galop steps sideward right. Arms in lateral position, sideward left, shoulder level. Do not put weight on L foot at the fourth galop step _________________________________ 2 M
       (b) Repeat (a) moving to sideward left. Reverse position of arms. _____________________ 2 M
       (c) Execute four brincos con vueltas, turning right and making two turns. Girl holding skirt. Boy places hands on waist _____ 4 M
        Face left so that Girl's back is toward audience. Boy faces audience.
       (d) Repeat all (a-c). Partners pass front to front when doing the galop steps. _____________8 M


Music B.
     Partners face audience. Join inside hands, free hands as in figure II.
     (a) Starting with outside foot, take four change steps forward. Swing the joined hands backward and forward at the same time looking at partner and away from partner, alternately four times ______4 M

     Drop inside hands, turn outward to face about. Join inside hands, free hands as in (a). 
     (b) Repeat (a), starting with inside foot. Start swinging joined hands forward and looking away from partner.____________ 4 M
     Drop inside hands. Face each other and join R hands, free hands as in (a).
     (c) Starting with R foot, take four change steps forward, turning once around clockwise _____ 4 M

     Drop R hands, join L hands, free hands as in (a).
     (d) Repeat (c), moving counterclockwise. Drop L hands and finish in proper places _________ 4 M


Music C.

       Partners face each other. Partners do their movements simultaneously.
       (a) Girl. Execute two brincos con vueltas making a complete turn right once (2 M)

            Boy. Clap hands five times on cts. 1, 2, 1, and 2______ 2 M
       (b) Repeat (a), Boy dancing and Girl clapping hands____ 2 M

       Partners face each other and assume crossed-arm position, R over L.

       (c) Take four brincos con puntillas moving toward audience - Jump and land with foot away from audience across in front and hopping on foot toward audience.  ______________________ 4 M

       Drop hands.
       (d) Repeat (a) and (b) __________________________________________________ 4 M
       (e) Repeat (c), starting with other foot and moving away from audience. __________________ 4 M


Music Finale.

        Partner faces each other.
        (a) Pause_______________________________________1 M
        (b) Execute a three-step turn right in place (cts. 1, 2, 1), pause (ct. 2) Arms in fourth position, R arm high. __________________________________________________ 2 M
        (c) Repeat (b), turning left. Reverse position of arms. ________________________________ 2 M
        (d) Join R hands, free hand of Girl holding skirt, that of Boy is placed on waist. Girl whirls making right turns under the arch of arms. Boy stands in place. ___________________________________ 2 M
        (e) Face each other. In crossed-arm position, R over L, pull away from each other. __________ 1M
        (f) Girl passes under R arm of Boy and finish in front and a little bit to the left side of Boy. Partners look at each other. ___________________________________________________1 M

Music of Lanceros de Negros

Sunday, June 19, 2022

First Filipino Blog

The First Filipino blog is a blog that compiles a list and biographical information of individual Filipino men and women who made a trailblazing feat in their respective fields, accomplishments and achievements who brought honor and glory to the Filipino nation. Visit and discover interesting stories of Filipino who made such an impact that they will be forever be etched in the memories of many and in the annals of Philippine history. 

First Filipina Bloghttp://firstfilipina.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Ang Pangarap Mo'y Naghihintay Sayo

This song was composed, arranged and performed by Henry Alburo of Marikina City, Metro Manila, Philippines. He performed this song as his contest piece for the Bombo Music Festival 2018 and was released on October 22, 2018. Bombo Radyo Music Festival, a songwriting competition created, organized by the radio station Bombo Radyo starting in 1985 originally as an Ilonggo Christmas Music Festival Song Writing Competition and has since evolved into Western Visayas regional song writing competition and eventually a National Songwriting Competition. 

Historically, the Bombo Music Festival was born out of Bombo Radyo Philippines’ commitment to bring to higher heights the awareness and love for our own music and culture, widen the avenue for development of Filipino musical talents, and eventually bring prestige to the Filipinos. This commitment has become a tradition of our people.

Here is the music and lyrics of the song below and it's English translation (sorry for my dismal attempt to translate this in English language).

Ang Pangarap Mo'y Naghihintay Sa'yo
by Henry Alburo

Kay rami mang balakid
Sayong daraanan
Sadya mang matinik
Ang kailangan mong lakaran
Ubod man ng bigat
Ang iyong pinapasan
Huwag kang mag-alinlangan
Kayang-kaya mo yan

Huwag kang umatras
Huwag kang huminto
Huwag kang mapagod
Huwag kang sumuko
Alam mo namang
Sa dulo nito
Ang pangarap mo'y
Naghihintay sayo

Kay hirap mang abutin
Ng nais mong marating
Malalim man ang suliranin
Kailangan mong tawirin
Kung napaiyak ka man
Ng iyong nararanasan
Huwag kang mag-alinlangan
Kayang kaya mo yan

Huwag kang umatras
Huwag kang huminto
Huwag kang mapagod
Huwag kang sumuko
Alam mo namang
Sa dulo nito
Ang pangarap mo'y
Naghihintay sayo

Huwag kang umatras (huwag kang umatras)
Huwag kang huminto (huwag kang huminto)
Huwag kang mapagod
Huwag kang sumuko
Alam mo namang
Sa dulo nito
Ang pangarap mo'y
Naghihintay sayo
Naghihintay sayo
Naghihintay sayo
Ang pangarap mo'y naghihintay

English Translation

Your Dream Is Waiting For You
by Henry Alburo

Though there are so many obstacles
In your path
Though it's really thorny
The road you have to walk
Too heavy a burden
You have to carry
Do not hesitate
You can do it

Don't back out
Don't stop
Don't get tired
Don't give up
You know
At the end of it
Your dream is
Waiting for you

Though it's hard to reach
Of the things you want to reach
Though the problem is deep
You have to cross
If it made you cried
Of the things you experience
Do not hesitate
You can do it

Don't back out
Don't stop
Don't get tired
Don't give up
You know
At the end of it
Your dream is
Waiting for you

Don't back out (don't back out)
Don't stop (don't stop)
Don't get tired
Don't give up
You know
At the end of it
Your dream is
Waiting for you
Waiting for you
Waiting for you
Your dream is waiting
for you

Photo Source:

Bombo Radyo Philippines, Inc.

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Folk Dance Of Western Visayas Region: Kuradang


The Kuradang is an upbeat dance from Tuburan, Pototan, Iloilo. The people in this barrio are lighthearted and has an intense passion for singing and dancing. The social gathering is not complete without dancing. One of the dances performed during the fiesta or a celebration in Tuburan is the Kuradang. The name of the dance was probably taken from the word "Kudangdang" which means posh, showy, overdressed, extravagant, lavish or luxuriously epicurean. 

COSTUME. The girl is wearing a patadyong, camisa or a kimona with a soft pañuelo over one shoulder. The boy is wearing barong tagalog and colorful trousers. The dancers are all barefooted. 

MUSIC. is composed of two parts: A and B. 

COUNT one, two, or one, and, two to a measure in 2/4 time; one, two, three, or one, two, and three in 3/4 time.

FORMATION. Two couples facing each other,  about six feet apart, form a set. The girls stand on the right side of their respective partners. When facing audience, couple at the left, No. 1, is called mayor and couple at the right, No. 2 is called menor  (see diagram below). Any number of sets may participate in this dance.


    X                     O
      1   →                    ← 2    
       O                    X  

Kuradang Step (Iloilo) - Music 2/4 time     Count 1, and, 2, 1, 2 to two measures

Change step sideward right (left), R (L) forearm turn to reverse "T" position, L (R) hand down at side. Twist body slightly to right (left) (cts. 1 and 2). Hop on R (L), swing the L (R) foot across the R (L) knee in front obliquely backward right (left), bend arms forward at shoulder level (ct. 1), hop on R (L) and swing L (R) foot obliquely forward left (right). Turn forearms to assume reverse "T" position (ct. 2). This step may be done in all directions. 


1. The music is played continuously with each part played twice.
2. All Kuradang steps should be done with arm movements.
3. There is a slight jogging of the body throughout the dance.


Music Introduction.

    Face front
       Starting with R foot, take three steps forward, arms down at sides (cts. 1, 2, 3), close L to R (ct. 1), tap L close to R in rear three times and at the same time clap hands in front of chest three times (cts. 2, and 3) ______________________________________ 2M


    Partners face each other.
      (a) Starting with R foot, take four change steps forward to partner's place, passing by R shoulders. Forearm turn to reverse "T" position, R and L alternately, free hand down at side. Bend trunk slightly to the right and left side alternately _______________ 4M

      (b) Turn right about. Repeat (a), going to proper places. __ 4M

      (c) Girl 1 and Girl 2 face each other. Repeat (a) and (b). In the meantime, Boys clap hands on cts. 1, and, 2, 1, 2, for every two measures __________________________________________ 8M

      (d) Boy 1 and Boy 2 face each other. Repeat movements of Girls, and Girls clap hands as Boys did in (c) __________________  8M


Partner face each other. Couples 1 and 2 are doing their movements simultaneously.

Couple 1.
(a) Starting with R foot, take four kuradang steps forward to exchange places passing by R shoulders __________________ 8M
(b) Turn right about. Repeat (a), going to proper places ______ 8M
(c) Repeat movements of Couple 2 as in (a) below. _________16M

Couple 2.
(a) Take eight kuradang steps sideward, R and L alternately __16M
(b) Repeat movements of Couple 1 as in (a) and (b) above. ___16M


Partner face each other.
  Take eight kuradang steps sideward, R and L alternately ___16 M


  Couples 1 and 2 face each other. They do their movements simultaneously.
  (a) Couple 1. Starting with R foot, take three kuradang steps to front of Couple 2 __________________________________ 6 M
       Couple 2. Starting with R foot, take three kuradang steps turning around in place clockwise ___________________________ 6 M
  (b) Girl 1 and Boy 2. Starting with L foot, take one kuradang step to exchange places, passing by R shoulders. Take big steps. In the meantime, Girl 2 and Boy 1 execute one kuradang in place starting with L foot _______________________________________ 2 M

   At the end of the fourth kuradang step, the Girls are all on one side (right side) and the Boy are on the other side (left side).

  (c) Girls and Boys face each other. All execute four kuradang steps sideward, R and L alternately. _________________________ 8 M
  (d) Girl 1 and Boy 2. Starting with R foot, take four kuradang steps moving little by little forward to return back to their proper places. Take small steps ____________________________________ 8 M

In the meantime, Girl 2 and Boy 1, starting with R foot execute four kuradang steps turning around in place clockwise _________ 8 M


Partners face each other.
  (a) Couples 1 and 2 takes two kuradang steps sideward, 
       R and L  _______________________________________ 4 M
  (b) Boy 1. Starting with R foot, take two kuradang steps forward to
 front of Couple 2. In the meantime, Couple 2 executes two kuradang steps, starting with R foot, turning around in place clockwise. Finish facing Boy 1. Girl 1 stay in place and clap hands on cts. 1, and 2, 1, 2, two times. _______________________________________ 4 M
  (c) Boy 1 and Couple 2. Starting with R foot, take six kuradang steps forward, moving around clockwise. Finish in starting place. Girl 1 clapping hands as in (b) _________________________ 12 M
  (d) Boy 1. Turn right about. Starting with R foot, take two kuradang steps forward to proper place. Girl 1 clapping hands as in (b) __ 4 M

 Couple 2. Starting with R foot, take two kuradang steps turning around in place clockwise ______________________________ 4 M
  (e) Repeat all (a-d) with Girl 2, starting in (b) going to front of Couple 1 while Boy 2 does the clapping _________________ 24 M


Repeat Figure I _____________________________________ 24 M


All face front.

      Repeat Introduction  ______________________________ 2 M

Music Of Kuradang 

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Gay Filipino In History: Tapar Of Iloilo

There are a number of uprisings and revolt throughout the centuries of Spanish colonial period over abuse, excessive taxation on local products, corrupt and ill system of government among others. There are also some rebellion which was ignited by people's faith and beliefs. One such religious revolt took place in Panay caused by convergence of faith. This religious revolt is led by a certain Tapar from Iloilo in 1663.

Tapar or Tapara is a native babaylan from the town of Oton in Iloilo province in the island of Panay who was a new convert of Catholicism. He was known for founding a religious cult that merged Catholic religious practices with traditional rituals a modified form of Christianity. He persuaded the locals to join his group and attracted many followers with his stories about his frequent conversation with a demon. He proclaimed himself "God Almighty" and went around garbed in a woman's dress. According to Fray Juan Fernandez, who chronicled important events in some Iloilo pueblos, described Tapara as a mystic who dressed and acted like a female.

Tapar taught taught his followers to worship idols, performed prodigies resembling miracles, and became a prophet. He promised the natives:

a. a life of abundance (weaves fish, coconut fiber into linen)

b. that they won't be hit/won't die when hit by Spanish muskets; those who will die in the rebellion will live again.

Tapar known as the "Eternal Father," assigned among his followers a Son, a Holy Ghost, a Virgin Mary, twelve apostles, a Pope, and several bishops. It was at this time when the people felt estranged from the Spanish friars because of their prevalent misdemeanor and misdeeds. 

Tapar's syncretic religion appropriated Catholic terminologies and ignored the Spanish priests because Tapar believed that they had their own "popes", "bishops", and "priests", as well as "Jesus Christ", "Holy Ghost" and "Trinity" who could minister to them in their own nativistic ways.

The growing religious following of Tapar reached the then Spanish parish priest curate (friar) assigned to the town of Ogtong (Oton town today), Fr. Francisco de Mesa and he criticized their unorthodox practices. The followers of Tapar were agitated and they executed the parish priest for condemning their religious movement. Tapar's group burned the church and the priest's house, and fled to the mountains.

The Spanish authority knew about the incident and they launched an attack to quell the emergence of the new religion. Spanish troops were sent to Oton and by employing hired spies, the Spaniards caught up with the principal leaders who, in the process of fighting back, were killed. Their corpses were carried back to the port of Iloilo, then fastened to bamboo poles in the Halawod (Jalaur) River to be fed on by crocodiles. The woman who was named as the group's "Blessed Virgin Mary" (Maria Santisima) was mercilessly impaled on a bamboo stake and placed strategically at the mouth of the Laglag (now Dueñas) river to be eaten also by crocodiles. By 1664, as claimed by the Spaniards, peace had returned to Oton. (Agoncillo 1979, Zaide 1957).


Tapar Of Panay Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/taparofpanay/posts/tapar-revolt-1663personal-informationname-tapar-of-panaynationality-babaylan-nat/989151497772042/

Tapar Revolt Wiki Pilipinas - https://en.wikipilipinas.org/view/Tapar_Revolt_(1663)

10 Amazing Pinoy LGBTS Who Broke Barriers And Made History, Filipiknow - https://filipiknow.net/lgbt-personalities-philippine-history/

The Tapar Uprising In Oton Iloilo, Bridging The Gap By Henry F. Funtecha The News Today Online Edition - http://www.thenewstoday.info/2007/02/09/the.tapar.uprising.in.oton.iloilo.html