Sinulog is a ceremonial dance performed by the
people of San Joaquin, Iloilo during the feast of San
Martin and wedding celebrations. The dance originated in
Sinugbahan, a barrio of San Joaquin. It was believed that
the image of San Martin was found at the edge of a beach,
and that it could not be removed until the people dance the
Sinulog. From that day on, every November 10th at the feast
of St. Martin, the people dance the sinulog before the
procession comes from the house of the bride to the church
and from the church to the bride's house to be met by the
Sinulog dancers who dance around the wedding party. After
coming out from the church, the "madrina" is asked to put
silver peso coin between the teeth of the captain. They all
shout and dance around. The movements of the dance depict an
imaginary combat to drive the evil spirits away.
The dance was fashioned after the Suluan war dance
of the Sulu people, the native name of Sulu being Sulog which
means strong ocean currents frequent in Sulu.
EQUIPMENT: A spear about six feet long with a red kerchief
tied at the lower end; and a bolo about eighteen
COSTUME: The male dancer wears any Filipino costume. The head is
covered with a red kerchief. A red band is placed over
the R shoulder knotted down to the L hips then the two
ends tied over at the R hips the ends hanging at the
In his right hand, he holds the spear, with a red
kerchief tied at the lower end; in his L hand, he holds
MUSIC is provided by men dancers who strike cans or kettles as
they dance, or by some men sitting down, tapping the
instruments alternately with two hands. The dancers
are accompanied with the beatings of the drum.
COUNT: One, and, ah, two, and, ah.
FORMATION: There is no definite formation. Seven or more
dancers may take part in this dance.
I. Step on ball of R foot forward (ct. 1), step on ball of
L foot backward (ct. and), step on ball of R foot forward
(ct. ah), hop on R foot, raising L foot upward to extending
it forward (ct. 2, and, ah) (1 M).
II. Skip steps in any direction.
III. Chasing steps forward, backward, or sideward on half
knees bend position.
IV. With one foot on the ground, raise the other and pivot
one half of full turn, around, thrusting the spear
forward right or left.
V. Pivot turn with both feet flat on the floor.
Music Rhythm I.
(a) The leaders enter with Step I. He holds the spear at
about 1/3 of its length with his R hand, the end of
the spear resting on his R shoulder. He holds the bolo
with L hand placed under the spear. As he dances forward,
he moves the spear forward, downward until the spear
reaches his R armpit, then he moves it back to its
(b) Repeat (a) once or twice until he is in front of the
bride and the groom.
Music Rhythm I.
(a) With step I or II he dances around the bride and groom.
(b) As soon as he turns out, back to the column of the
dancers, the first two dancers meet him, all doing
Step I, or Step II, they dance around the bride and
(c) With Step I or II, the leader leaves the two men and
gets the next two dancers who join the first two.
Meanwhile the first two men may do any of the steps
in any order each wishes.
(d) The leaders repeats (c) until all dancers are in.
(e) All may perform Steps I, II, III, IV, V in any order,
depending on the whims of the dancers. While doing the
above steps they thrust their spears, and bolos and
retreat as in combat, shouting to drive the evil