Parangal Dance Company honors cultural tribes in Mindanao

SAN FRANCISCO — This piece is called “The Abduction of Princess Lawanen” — which tells a story of an epic war between two tribes of Mindanao.

It is performed by Parangal Dance Company, which is one of the 21 dance and music ensembles participating in the 40th annual San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival.

“It’s an ancient legend from the Merano which is the people of the lake in Lanao del Sur in Mindanao,” says Jett Tagle. “This piece is created by our artistic director Eric Solano, with the help of our cultural bearers.”

Due to the recent devastation of Marawi — Parangal chose this piece to bring a message of hope to the Merano people.

“Our philosophy is to discover, preserve, educate, and inspire. And we do that as ambassadors to indigenous people of the Philippines,” said director Major Julian.

“This weekend is the perfect weekend to do that because you have so many people coming from all over watching the shows and also meeting other groups that just want to learn more about our culture,” said Noelle Campos. “And we also want to learn about theirs.”

Typically dance companies need to audition for the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival; however, this year, Parangal was commissioned to perform.

The cast consists of 40 performers and the piece is accompanied by live music.

“We got a full kulintang ensemble using the kulintang instrument — with agongs, dabakan — and most of the music is inspired by different Merano piece patterns,” said Lydia Neff.

Parangal will be celebrating 10 years as a dance company with a performance entitled “Padayon” this October.

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