Tinikling: A bamboo dance

A Tinikling I watched so graceful in motion
Its true story lost in history’s disjointed ocean
Two tales passed down for future generations
Both as reminders of human provocations

Mother nature versus nurture
A bamboo dance it did transpire
From people of Leyte being keen observers
One outwitting punishment from Spanish colonisers
The other in rice paddies the tikling became known
For nimbly most swiftly hopping branches overgrown
Both to avoid a trap of penalty displeasure
A farmer’s honest work of truth, sweat and blood
Became in time through the ages
The Philippines’ national treasure

Instruments used in performing the movement
Are two hollowed bamboo poles of 9 feet in length
And two blocks of wood no more than 2 inches
As a foundation for creating a simple composition
In sound I listened to its beautiful rhythm
Of staccato percussion beats in propulsion
By sliding and hitting one against the other
Paving the dancers to chronicle emotions
Three simple steps of Singles, Doubles and Hops
Just like a bird skipping, pauses then stops
So intricate an arrangement can easily be made
As life—ever evolving the only constant is change

The scene unfolding was a wonder in sight
A woman in a Balintawak and Panuelo on her shoulder
She was steadily gazing eyeing her partner
A man in Barong Tagalog ready to escort her
Both were barefoot awaiting their chance
To craftily display what they had learned in the past
A Filipino spirit, a name yet to be founded
With a heart of golden sunrises its people bounded
In survival from humble beginnings I believe this much is sincere
To be faithful and loyal to our beacon of light in hope we revere.

♥ C.M.C

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