Senator Loren Legarda commended Ligaya Fernando-Amilbangsa as a cultural advocate of pangalay, a traditional dance from Mindanao.
Legarda filed Senate Resolution 1527, citing Fernando-Amilbangsa as an instrumental figure in the continuation of pangalay which she has documented, studied, performed and preserved through scholarly writing and training of other pangalay dancers.
“It is timely and fitting for the Senate to commend Fernando-Amilbangsa for her instrumental role as the documentor, performer, scholar, and advocate of this unique cultural treasure,” said Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities.
Fernando-Amilbangsa will receive the Ramon Magsaysay Award in ceremonies to be held on August 31, together with Kommaly Chantavong from Laos, Kyaw Thu from Myanmar, Anshu Gupta of India, and Sanjiv Chaturvedi (for Emergent Leadership) also from India.
Pangalay, which means “gift offering” or “temple dance” in Sanskrit, is a pre-Islamic dance tradition among the Samal, Badjao, Jama Mapun and Tausug. It features complex body postures and gestures, renowned for its graceful arm and hand movement, emphasized by the use of janggay (metal claws), to the beat ofkulingtangan, gadang, agong and gabang, performed during weddings and other festivals in Mindanao.
Fernando-Amilbangsa, who was born in Marikina, moved to Sulu when she married a schoolmate who lived there. She studied and perfected pangalay in spite of non-conducive circumstances.
She also conceptualized the Amilbangsa Instruction Method (AIM), a method based on Fernando-Amilbangsa’s decades of experience, study, documentation and performance, which has become a method of instruction, modification, elaboration of the Islamic traditional dance.
Aside from the AIM, Fernando-Amilbangsa has written several publications, including a book titled Pangalay: Traditional Dances and Related Folk Artistic Expression in 1983, which documents the long and tedious process of the dance form.