Aklan Islands Philippines
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Performing Arts: Aklan Province Islands Philippines

The toltog palanog, a clay flute, was the earliest musical instrument in Panay; it had three holes at one end and two at the sides. There were several kinds of bamboo flutes, or tulali. A child's flute was the payok, made of stiff rice straw. The dios sios was a set of reeds of different lengths, tied side by side. The budios, which sounded like the cornet, was a shell with the pointed tip cut off.

The tan-ag, made of two pieces of lightwood, was the earliest percussion instrument. A set of these was called the dalutang. The bunkaka or takup was a section of bamboo with a split end. It was held in the right hand and struck against a pole in the left hand. Rhythmic variations were achieved through different ways of striking. The bulibaw was a drum made of hollowed-out wood topped by animal skin. The ludang was a smaller drum held on the lap. The lipak-pak was a clapper made of a narrow section of bamboo, two nodes long, split in two down to one node, the lower half being the handle. It was also used as a matraca or clapper during Holy Week.

The native guitar was variously called the passing ("to strike"); boktot ("hunchback") because it was made of coconut shell; or the culating. The strings were made of fibers or any twine. There was a guitar with six strings made of hemp, banana fiber or lukmo. It is now called the sista, from the Spanish word sexta or six. The buting was a thin bamboo tube whose two ends were strung with hemp or any fiber, so that it bent like a bow. The kudyapi was a violin made of thin, light wood and strung with hemp or banana fibers. The subing or Jew's harp was made of seasoned bamboo.

Aklan dances can tell a story, imitate a children’s game, or-because of Spanish influence-be choreographed for the ballroom. Bayong-gayong tells a comic story about Gayong, the nickname for Leodegario. According to legend and the words of the song, Gayong and Masiong (nickname for Dalmacio) once attended a feast commemorating the death of a townmate. While eating, Masiong choked on a piece of adobo (braised meat cooked with vinegar, garlic, and soy sauce). Masiong’s love for feasts and the consequences of his voraciousness are held up to playful ridicule by this dance that is part of the merrymaking in rural gatherings.

Pokoe (pukol in other parts of Panay) is adapted from one of the oldest native games of the children, and means "to strike or bump against each other." The children usually play this game at the riverside or seashore while bathing or after. The dancers use coconut shells, which are struck together rhythmically in time with the music. The male dancers roll on the ground to show their agility and suppleness.

Pahid is a lively ballroom dance, which originated from Madalag and Libacao. It is very popular in all 17 towns of Aklan, and is accompanied by a song.

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Central Philippine Cuisine

Bicol is noted for its gastronomic appetite for the fiery or chili-hot dishes. Perhaps the most well-known Bicolano dish is the very spicy Bicol express. The region is also the well-known home of natong also known as laing or pinangat (a pork or fish stew in taro leaves).

More details at Central Philippine Cuisine



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