R. delos Reyes
E. de Guzman
The dance as an expression of feeling of a person is based on the environment where the person is and also on the passing of time.
During the early time, the dance of the native Filipinos were offered to the native deities of nature so that the deities will be waken up and asked to go down to earth. In the rhythm of clappers and horns, the natives are stomping their feet and were swaying while moving around the image of the deities. There had been no standard hands and feet movement. What was important was for them to express their feelings.
When the Spaniards came, the Philippine native music was combined with European melodies. The natives were dressed up with baro't saya (upper garment and long skirt), taught certain dances like the fandango.
The original version of the Obando Fertility Dance was dance in the tune of "Santa Clarang Pinung-Pino". In the rhythm of waltz, the dancers sway their hips and at move their hands and waist in unison. What is nice in dancing the fandango is the frequency of movements of the waist. Through this, the dance becomes more lively and the womb is shaken so that the Spirit of Life will come in.
Next was the influence of the Americans. The radio and cinema cultures had been introduced little by little to the Filipinos, as well as the jolly dance music like "Coca-cola", "Charleston", "Foxtrot", and the like.
The pilgrim dancers were not just dancing the fandango, but also started to sway the Charleston, in the tune of the trombone musicians that also learned to play jolly music.
Obando seemed to be like a carnival, a dance ball where everyone shows their dancing skills. The pilgrim dancers had their own dancing styles-some of them retained the old fandango, some danced the newer form of foxtrot, rhumba, tango and the like.
In this way, we understood that cultural influences from outside the country may affect the form and fate of our own tradition.
In the fertility dance itself, we can see that according to the progress of time, it is not the form of the dance that is important but the intention and devotion of the pilgrim.
Until now, these forms of the dance can still be seen in Obando. In between the music of "Santa Clarang Pinung-Pino", some marching sounds are played as well like the chacha, "De Colores" and some disco music. This is being done so that the pilgrims would not feel monotonous while dancing the fandango. However, unlike before that the dance was being performed in the church patio only, nowadays, it is being performed as part of the procession and ends in front of the altar. Because of this, the old tradition might begin to lose its true energetic form (spontaneous movements) as movements are being replaced by restrained ones as prescribed by the church and the society.