Latest Stories

Inquirer Southern

Mindoreños dance like fireflies


PERFORMERS from Bansud town brought home the grand prize in the “Pandang-Gitab” Festival of Oriental Mindoro, which was held in Calapan City. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT OF ORIENTAL MINDORO

The practice of Mindoro women carrying oil lamps with lighted wicks flickering like fireflies as they send off their husbands in the cold early morning hours to fish out to the open sea became the inspiration for the official festival of Oriental Mindoro.

The “Pandang-Gitab” or “Festival of Lights” showcases the province’s culture to attract local and foreign tourists, according to Vice Gov. Humerlito Dolor.

Highlight of the festival is the street dance, “Pandang-Gitab,” which is inspired by the folk dance “Pandanggo sa Ilaw.” With graceful, shallow gyrating of hips and torso, dancers hold lighted lamps on the palms and head.

Joey Antonio, a folk choreographer, and government employees Patti Raymundo, Robert Sarguilla and Troy Francisco coined Pandang-Gitab from pandanggo, which means local dance, and dagitab, a handmade lamp or portable light.

“Compared with Pandanggo sa Ilaw, Pandang-Gitab is a faster version,” said Orlando Tizon, officer in charge of the Investment and Enterprise Development Office of the provincial tourism office which took care of the festival’s staging.

On Feb. 23, the festival was held for the first time in the City of Calapan after it was officially recognized as representative of the province’s cultural heritage under an ordinance passed in November last year .

Tizon said some 3,000 people joined the street dance. They belonged to eight contingents from different parts of the province.

Susan Cruz, which coordinated the event with Tizon, said the dancers included high school and college students, out-of-school youths and senior citizens.

Pandang-Gitab is unique because unlike many other street dances, which makes use of drums like the Ati-Atihan, it makes use of “natural light,” Cruz said, referring to candles placed inside glass jars or oil lamps made of capiz, bamboo or coconut shells.

“We prohibit battery and electric-powered lights,” she said.

On Feb. 23, Calapan’s main street, J.P. Rizal, came to life as lights flickered at night.

“Even with the unexpected rain shower, the contingents were dancing in the streets all the way to the Jose Leido Memorial School Grandstand,” Cruz said. She said local leaders want the event moved to the third Saturday of February next year when they could expect better weather.

Cruz said the Catholic Church showed support for the festival, directing the ringing of church bells and praying the Angelus at Santo Niño Cathedral beside the plaza.

The Bansud contingent brought home the grand prize of P200,000 in the street-dancing competition, while those from Baco and San Teodoro towns placed second and third.

Bansud will represent Oriental Mindoro to the Aliwan Festival on April 11-13 in Manila. In 2011, Oriental Mindoro won fifth place while last year, it placed seventh from among 20 contingents from across the country.

Dubbed “mother of all fiestas,” the Aliwan has contingents competing with a maximum number of 120 dancers. Started in 2003, it aims to showcase Filipino culture not just in Metro Manila but to the rest of the world.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

More from this Column:

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Mindoro , News , Philippine festivals , Regions

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  2. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  3. Massive infra spending set
  4. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  5. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  6. Estrada, Gigi Reyes denied access to evidence from other respondents
  7. DOJ to NBI: Arrest Cedric Lee, 4 others
  8. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  9. DOJ orders arrest of Cedric Lee
  10. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  1. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  2. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  3. Netizens cry: 6/55 Lotto was rigged
  4. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  5. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  8. ‘King’ Yabut and I: Driver bares Makati dad ‘abuses’
  9. It was difficult having Japanese blood
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. UP back on top as ‘average’ student aces bar
  5. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  6. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  7. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  8. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  9. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  10. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’


  • Firetruck rams California eatery; 15 injured
  • 9 confirmed dead after ferry sinks off South Korean coast
  • Aquino to public: Learn to sacrifice
  • 20 killed as Islamic extremists rampage in Nigeria
  • Drug firm Novartis to help Leyte firefighter
  • Sports

  • Walker leads Bobcats over Bulls in OT, 91-86
  • Man City slips further out of title contention
  • Federer would skip tennis to be with wife, newborn
  • Manny Pacquiao in PBA? If so, he’ll wear No. 17
  • PSC sets Blu Girls US training
  • Lifestyle

  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • Entertainment

  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • ‘Community’ star happy with return of show’s creator
  • Business

  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Number of retrenched workers rose by 42% in ’13
  • PH seen to sustain rise in FDIs
  • Technology

  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest
  • Marketplace