- Inclement weather did not deter 7,127 Filipinos from taking part in a synchronised folk dance in Sorsogon, Philippines on Thursday
- The participants joined the "Pantomina", a traditional courtship dance popular in Bicol region, on city roads shut down for the occasion
- The momentous feat on October 31, 2019 has set the Guinness World Record for the Largest Filipino Folk Dance
Dubai: The Philippine province of Sorsogon has just set a new world record.
Officials from the Guinness World Records were on hand on Thursday, October 31, as more than 7,127 people joined the synchronised “Pantomina”, a regional folk dance also known as the “dove dance", which mimics courtship or doves flying.
“A new world record is now awarded to Sorsogon Province for the first Filipino synchronized folk dancing execution, Mabuhay ang mga Sorsoganon (love live the people of Sorsogon),” declared the provincincial spokesperson on Thursday.
The popular folk music, with lyrics written in Bicol (one of the 187 languages and dialects in the Philippines), was broadcast on public radio.
It was then pumped by loudspeakers arrayed on the main city roads around the provincial capital, also known as Sorsogon, all the way to the local pier.
The province is popular for its "Butanding" (whaleshark) tourism, hot springs (Irosin town), wave surfing (in Gubat town), trekking to difficult-to-reach water falls (Bulusan) and Pili nuts.
The official Pantomina dance execution for the Guinness World Records kicked off at 5 pm local time, participated in by the new governor, Chiz Escudero, a former Philippine Senator, and his wife, actress Heart Evangelista.
Pantomina is a Bicolano folk dance that came from the Spanish word for “pantomime”, because of its courting/wooing movements. Its old name is "Salampati", Bicol term for doves, so the dance is sometimes referred to as the “dance of the doves”.
This folk dance, with graceful moves made to melancholy music, is traditionally performed during wedding celebrations by the newly-wed couple and the wedding guests.
No social gathering in Bicol, a volcanic and mineral-rich region in eastern Philippines, is complete without the Pantomina, whose steps had been notated in a 1926 book on folk dances.
To this day, the dance remains extremely popular in the Bicol Region and has come to symbolise the region, synonymous with Pili nuts, Bicol Express, the majestic Mayon Volcano (still active) and its magnificent beaches.
While dancers may improvise their steps when performing the Pantomina, the dance was among the first folk dances to have its dance steps notated.
The Pantomina was featured in Francisca Reyes Aquino's first-ever folk dance book, Philippine Folk Dances and Games, published in February 1926.
People in most of the outlying regions find joy in life's simpler pleasures within their own culture.
The province of Sorsogon (12 hours by car from Manila) has a land area about thrice bigger than Singapore, but access to Sorsogon isn't easy, as the peninsula doesn't have a functioning airport (nearest airport is in the neighbouring city of Legazpi).