Dancing over the bamboos: A reading of Ramon Obusan's Singkil using Heideggerian Hermeneutics

Date of Publication


Document Type

Bachelor's Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Literature

Subject Categories

Comparative Literature


College of Liberal Arts


Literature, Department of

Thesis Adviser

Elenita Garcia

Defense Panel Member

Dinah Roma
Olive Hernandez
Ma. Teresa Wright


In the world that we live in today, it is easy for us to lose ourselves in the ordinary habits of everyday life. We tend to fall short sighted of our Being. We fail to meet the ontological level of our existence because we are in a world but we do not necessarily live in it. We somehow do not see our relation to the world and how we can connect to it.

The definition of the world here does not literally mean the tangible world that we can see or touch physically. This world refers to our culture. It is something that we cannot see in a sense that it is a thing, but it is something truly present in our midst. Our everyday actions are part of the culture. The problem now is to do things not as a force of habit, but to find that authentic experience that will turn us from being to Being. This thesis attempts to answer that and one of the manifestations where we can experience the world of Singkil with our own subjective selves.

The problem about Singkil like any other dance is that by nature it is ephemeral. We only have a tradition of the dance with its steps and movements that only gives us a glimpse of the past. The dance which is now situated in the theater is a representation of the past, but influenced by the choreographer who has restaged it for us. The dance is theatrical already that we render it as useless to our lives. That the dance has changed in so many ways that it can no longer show its being in relation to who we are now.

The dance Singkil can still be relevant to us, if only we try to understand the dance. Martin Heidegger's opens us to a new task: to see the work of art as it is. It may be a simple one, but it is not easy. The work of art refers not only to its form and content, to its properties and characteristics. It also refers to the world and earth, or the culture to which it belongs, namely the Maranao culture. It also refers to the possibilities of truths regarding the dance.

The authenticity in this research does not necessarily mean the original or the first dance, although there were several sources that can give us an idea of the tradition of the dance. From the number of bamboo poles to the number of dancers, from the kind of music and to the story which the dance is based on, all of these must be considered since the philosophy of Heidegger is considered. But we also bring the dance to what is the present, namely, to what the theater does to the dance in its present context and how our own experience of it affects us. All of these determines one's authentic experience of the dance.

In the process, we also try to understand and interpret our own being. We begin to see how we are reconnected to the past, present and to the future through this work of art. The dance, in its nature, reveals to us a part of society that we must all understand. These reflections on dance show how we can possibly be related to it in our own subjective selves, but at the same time considering the being of the work of art.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F, Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

113, [15] leaves ; ill. ; 28 cm.


Dance--Philippines--History; Singkil dance-- Philippines; Dance--Anthropological aspects-- Philippines

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