One Rhythm, One Nation, One People

On a clear night when everything seems still, I could hear the beating of the drums. Perhaps it was the pounding of my heart but I swear it does sound like the rhythmic drum beats. There is no escape to the calling of the Islands. It runs to every part of my veins. It is who I am. Today, a give you glimpse of the place that I’m passionate about. With pride, honor and joy I share with you the amazing talents of my countrymen in the Philippines.

Impressive photos by Navette S. Flores

Passionate visions by Bill Gange.

Whoever took this photo, that person made me feel that I could jump with triumph to all hurdles in life.

One Rhythm, One Nation, One People

By Bill Gange


What defines a nation? Is it our culture and heritage? Is it our people? Is it our geographical uniqueness  separated by several thousand Islands in South East Asia? Is it our ability to survive the harsh trials of time from national disasters to the bondage of colonialism, dictatorship, political greed and poverty? Is it our heart that never gives up no matter how again and again we have fallen? Is it the rhythm of the spirit that draws us together as one nation both in times of celebrations and grief? Is it faith and religion? Perhaps, it’s all these.

No matter what they are, we will continue to dance to the rhythm of the drum beat as one nation and one unified people. We proudly echo throughout the world that we are “Filipinos” born to survive and inspire. We will continue to fight the challenges ahead with one passionate heart beating, hoping and praying for peace, love, happiness, equality, for a better life for ourselves and our families.

We rise up to each and every downfall as one people, one country, one heart that believes without doubt that we can overcome anything.

Time and time again, our faith never failed us. God heard each cry, each prayer, each hope.

Today, I will share with you the yearly celebration of life, faith and gratitude of my hometown Iloilo called “Dinagyang.” It will show you why despite of the pain we go through as a nation, we continue to smile, love, remain optimistic, even forgive those who caused us misery.

Photo by Bill Gange

Dinagyang And Its Origins

The celebration started as a festivity to honor the child Jesus whom everyone called “Santo Nino.” It is the local’s way of celebrating thanksgiving not just for a year of abundance, good health and life itself but also of a faith that held them together for centuries.

There is a “Dinagyang” song during this festivity that tells the story of how the first settlers of the land called “Aetas,” the country’s local aborigines sold Iloilo to the Borneans headed by Datu Paiburong. It further describes the proud and vibrant heritage of the Ilonggos including their hope for prosperity and peace.

A real life Aeta dancing on the streets bare footed.

To this day, the Aetas kept their way of life. They are the most simple, peace-loving group of people in my Islands. The new generation seems to have forgotten who they are and what they stand for. That saddens me. They are still very much a part of every Filipino. We should always look back on the past, learn from it and never forget who we are. If we don’t, we will loose the very identity that we take pride of. We will loose our distinctive culture and heritage that keeps us unified as one nation.

Dinagyang As An Expression Of Hope

There are a lot of things that keeps us hopeful. One of which is our religious faith. Another is our love for our families. A love that would fuel us to overcome the odds, obstacles, struggles, isolation and heartaches. A love that would keep us smiling generously despite the pain.

Presently, a lot of emphasis is given on tourism and commerce but past the noise of commercialism, it is still about the people, their stories, their quest for a brighter future, their love and passion and of a religious faith that keeps their spirit high during times of hardship . It is a symbol of their hope and with each beating of the drum, a new dream is born, a dream that they will pursue with determination and perseverance.

The Tribes And Their Dance For Victory

Every year, about 20 tribes from various towns gather on the 3rd Sunday of  January to compete for the highly anticipated “Ati-atihan” contest. Covered in black soot, the warriors prepare themselves for the ultimate dance battle. A battle they prepared for several months with sweat and tears. In the end, only one will be declared the champion among the tribes.

By zC Ramirez

The deafening drums fills the air, the synchronized bodies move as one with grace and striking movements with each beat. As the beat gets louder and goes into a crescendo, the body’s pulsating rhythm moves faster and more intense, almost like in a trance. Then an explosive booming sound fills the air, as the group shouts at the top of their lungs, “Hala-bira!” Then comes total silence as everyone gasp, breathless to the spectacle before them.

It’s so easy to be carried away, to let loose, to surrender, just to be free…

Human emotion at its best by Bill Gange

Faces And Expressions 


A myriad of emotion and expressions moves the audience from the excitement of a successful performance, to the absolute happiness of winning, to the sadness of defeat, to the cry of frustration, to the almost crazy expression of disbelief and the glitter of hope that can only be seen when you truly look into a person’s eyes.

By Nel Jason Sanson. Reminds me of how "hope" looks like when I look into the eyes of this man.

By MeljoeSD Photography

And the champion among the best tribes is…

The 2012 champion. They soared high, like the majestic Philippine eagle they portrayed.

To all the Artists who took these amazing and extraordinary images, thank you for sharing them to us. You all have given a piece of joy and sunshine to everyone who will come across your inspiring photos.

Winners don’t get to walk on a red carpet or ride a luxurious limousine. They ride on top of trucks and vans as they parade around town beaming with happiness as they show their hard-earned trophy. This is reality. This is life. This is how it is in my country. We are genuinely festive despite of the little things we have. We often smile generously even through the toughest times. It’s in the beating heart of every Filipino. It’s part of the rhythm of our soul. This is who we are. This is who I am.

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About Island Traveler

A devoted husband and father who tries to make a positive difference in the lives of his family and friends. A person who finds inspiration and strength on those he loves and who loved him in all aspects of his life.
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130 Responses to One Rhythm, One Nation, One People

  1. Zarchaspo says:

    Amazing colourful pictures :)

  2. fgassette says:

    WOW! I feel transported to the islands. Love the color, emotions, drama, and yes I can feel the drums as well. I’m glad to be a subscriber to your blog. In this post I have seen and learned much. No matter where we live, what our culture or heritage may be, when we embrace one another we become one. WE ARE ONE, WE ARE ONE, ONE IN THE SPIRIT, WE ARE ONE.


    • This one says it all why we all strive to make a difference may it be in words, in actions or the talents we have, “No matter where we live, what our culture or heritage may be, when we embrace one another we become one. WE ARE ONE, WE ARE ONE, ONE IN THE SPIRIT, WE ARE ONE.” I hope and pray for a world that is united, at peace and trully caring for one another. wouldn’t that be amazing? Thank you for the wonderful comment. Have a beautiful weekend….

  3. Give it up for Pinoy Pride!!! :) I attended the Sinulog in Cebu this year and it was AMAZING! :)

    • The festivals in our country are just spectacular . The spirit of joy can be felt everywhere. So far I’ve been only to 3, the Ati-atihan in Kalibo, the Dinagyang in Iloilo and the Higantes parade in Roxas city. As you can see, they’re mainly in Panay Islands. Perhaps one day, luck will lead me to the beautiful Cebu and its people. Thanks for the comment.

  4. cocomino says:

    It’s really unique culture. Thank you for sharing. :smile:

    • Thank you. I think in all culture, there is something that stands out, that make us special and unique. For this reason, I’m always fascinated by the different cultures around the world.

  5. parashartales says:

    your post defined the whole nation in the simplest word..just loved the simplicity and the most amazing photographs clicked…stay blessed….stay restless!!!!

  6. So glad you are finally there. Thank you for all these extraordinary photographs.
    “No good water comes from a muddy spring. No sweet fruit comes from a bitter seed.” Jose Protasio Rizal Mercado

    • Beautiful words, ““No good water comes from a muddy spring. No sweet fruit comes from a bitter seed.” I agree whole heartedly. Genuine goodness comes from a pure heart with sincere intentions….Thank you Georgette…God bless you and your family.

  7. I’m so grateful for this post. You have enlightened me with the vivid photos and passionate prose. It is a joy to “ride shotgun” on your journey. :)

  8. likeitiz says:

    These are very vivid photos. So alive and colorful. It must be quite the celebration.

    • It is and every year, it gets better. I think one of the most moving one’s was after the great flood a few years ago. The town was declared a disaster zone and the people despite of their hardship, with faith still celebrated with a grateful heart for being blessed with the gift of life….Thanks for the comment…have a great weekend.

  9. sonsothunder says:

    Great Post…yes, sort of saddens us when the younger generation loses focus on what a country, or heritage was built on. I was reminded of this with our country ( America ) just last night upon hearing that the TV Show the “Simpsons” had reached it’s 500th episode. The evidence of waning values, and standards came when I learned that the only two other shows America was watching religiously enough to reach 500 episodes prior to the Simpsons, were, Lassie, and Gunsmoke. Thanks for the great post and pics.

    • Thanks for sharing a sad yet inspiring comment. Yes, it is sad the new generation is loosing the golden treasures of the past. Modernization is good but when it becomes the subject of obsession, it becomes a curse. Like the high tech cell phone, a lot of us seems to revolve our lives and time around it when not too long ago, we get out of our way to see and say “hi” in person. Nowadays when you want to delete a friend…all you need is delete them in your phone book and Facebook page. That bad, huh?

  10. liz2you says:

    I believe you, it was not your heart, it was the drums!
    A part of your soul and make up. Be proud, stay proud.
    I wasn’t born in my Africa; but know the way one feels when split from a great part of your existence. My Africa is always in my heart, spending 49 years soaking up its beauty, rythum and tradition. We led a charmed life then.
    Thanks for listening.

    • I felt the passion, the longings, the drum beats of your own country when you wrote, “My Africa is always in my heart, spending 49 years soaking up its beauty, rhythm and tradition. We led a charmed life then.” It’s knowing our past, valuing it and never forgetting who we are that will keep our soul at peace and happy. How sad would it be if we gain massive wealth yet feel lost and empty from within? Yes, we need to follow our individual drum beats and the whispers of our hearts. Thanks for sharing. Just beautiful.

    • P.S….do you have a WordPress blog site that I can follow?

  11. The Guat says:

    Awesome pictures!

  12. wolke205 says:

    Thanks for sharing all the informations with us! The photos are awesome & made me smile. You cheer me up with that post :) Big hugs, take care.

  13. Sabina Brave says:

    Wonderful photos. Thank you for sharing. I like the most jumping men :)

  14. Jemmy Farmer says:

    A wondefully informative post.

  15. Gilly Gee says:

    Absolutely amazing post! :-)

  16. eof737 says:

    Awesome photos and very colorful! TY! :-)

  17. Fergiemoto says:

    Fascinating! Thanks for sharing glimpses of your culture with us!

  18. “Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.” You’ve got to find the treasure, so that everything you have learned along the way can make sense. “ – The Alchemist

  19. Angeline M says:

    Beautiful post, and wonderful to teach us all about your heritage!

  20. Sony Fugaban says:

    I read this last night via email, bro. I just didn’t leave a comment yet because I ran out of load. Haha … (And I really had to tell that, huh.) Anyway, I am really happy that you made this post, which I think is a real attraction. I felt how proud you are to our roots. Your every word here is an attestation to that more so the strong pictures which are absolutely very very Filipino. Filipinos can shine amid all the troubles in life. By nature, we are happy, full of hopes just like the colorful pictures, brave … Simply, we are wonderful people. This post is very YOU!


    I hope this one won’t land to your spam.

    • Just this weekend, my friends and their families had an overnight camping in East Texas. We are all nurses, all with a dream and a story to tell. At the end of the late night conversations, in the middle of laughter and nostalgia came tears of how everyone struggled. How everyone coped with hardship, loneliness, of the difficulty of having to be everything for your family at the expense of setting aside your comforts because everyone depends on you . Of course we will do everything for our love ones. We will face every sacrifice to give our family a better future. But we are all human, sometimes our heart and soul breaks. But the next day, we rise up again because of support from people who genuinely cares. We are the living proof of what you wrote, “Filipinos can shine amid all the troubles in life.” Yes, Bro, as a people, we shine during troubles, it runs to the core of our veins. It’s who we are. Thanks for another amazing comment. God bless you and your family.
      PS… Spam issues so far….ha, ha, ha

      • Sony Fugaban says:

        Oh, bro, that just “warmed” my eyes. I felt the difficulties though I’m not in the position to say I know how you feel YET. This is actually the reason why I hold high respect to Filipinos overseas. The decision alone is one real sacrifice and being able to cope with it there — temporary or for good — is another one.

      • Thanks Bro for the encouraging words. I never knew how hard it is to leave your homeland, just like my countrymen who left our country years before me until I had to do it myself. At first it seems exciting, so much prospects but the reality sets in and there are things that a lot of our “kababayans” don’t really like to talk about because they are too painful to reveal. It seems easier to simply talk about good times and happy memories but in reality, a lot of them experienced so much pain, loneliness, even failures that most of them have to carry alone. I wish people would really see and listen to the plight on the Filipino immigrants. It’s a hard and lonely road and everyone of us need all the support and prayers that we can get. The American dream is not all “milk and honey.” It can be but not always.God bless you and your family….

  21. Sony Fugaban says:

    I read this last night via email, bro. I just didn’t leave a comment yet because I ran out of load. Haha … (And I really had to tell that, huh.) Anyway, I am really happy that you made this post, which I think is a real attraction. I felt how proud you are to our roots. Your every word here is an attestation to that more so the strong pictures which are absolutely very very Filipino. Filipinos can shine amid all the troubles in life. By nature, we are happy, full of hopes just like the colorful pictures, brave … Simply, we are wonderful people. This post is very YOU!

  22. Northern Narratives says:

    This is definitely one of your greatest posts. I can hear the drums and the music, I can feel the energy and strength of the people – all through your words and photos. I am happy for you.

    • Thank you. Sometimes the feeling is so intense that I just need to express them out. It’s hard to resist the drum beats once it has become a part of you. Thanks for the wonderful comment.

  23. jeanne says:

    Your words transported me to another world…an absolute passionate post! Thank you!!!!

  24. dearrosie says:

    I’ve never been to the Philippines, but after reading this post, I’ve learned a lot about the people, and the country. I join the crowd of comments above me in thanking you for taking us with you to your beloved island, and for sharing – through these remarkable photos and your passionate language – some of the vitality, bright colors, and enthusiastic music of the people dancing in the streets.

  25. auntyuta says:

    Each of the pictures is wonderful to look at. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts about your heritage and culture. I love everyone of the pictures and your comments. Enthusiastic Philippino singing and music I did get to know from one of our church choirs here in Dapto.
    I always love it when it’s their turn to sing in church. Sometimes they sing a song in their language. This kind of singing sounds truly beautiful.

    • Filipinos love to sing. They express themselves in songs. It keeps their hopes soaring and their heart’s burning with passion. I’m delighted to know that you met some of my countrymen. God bless you always.

  26. Cheryl says:

    A dazzling array of photos … your pride of self and your people is tangible in your words! Your son will not be one of those young folk who have forgotten their heritage … dad is going to make sure of that. Thank you for telling me about what it means to be Fillipino!

    • It’s my honor to share a piece of my culture and heritage. I’m proud to have come from a country who despite the hardships the faced continued to inspire the world with their talents, generosity, and more. Thank you.

  27. Carrie Z says:

    Great photos, love the colors and story telling!

  28. Pingback: One Rhythm, One Nation, One People | this man's journey

  29. Elyse says:

    Brilliant photos. So glad you made it home!

  30. Wow! I really enjoyed learning all about the Dinagyang festival! What a beautiful celebration. I love the energy and excitement of the people. And the “Ati-atihan” contest is very fascinating. I think it would be great if all warriors decided to battle it out in a dance contest! Ha! Ha! Seriously though, that must be a sight to behold in person. I’m amazed with the photos. I can only imagine what it would be like to be there. Very inspiring! Thanks for enlightening me on these beautiful cultural events. :)

    Also, I just wanted to let you know that Sony has been trying to leave comments on your posts. They are probably going straight to your “spam folder.” Can you check your spam folder to see if they are there? Thanks friend. :)

    • Thank you…love the energy and enthusiasm of your words. Made me smile again… like a sweet sunshine at the start of my day. I studied in Iloilo for 5 years. That’s where I met my wife. I witnessed a few of the Dinagyang festival. There is one special year when my whole family joined in. My dad joined the food booth selling roasted chicken. After school my siblings and I would helped out and my friends supported us all the way. It was a happy event that I will never forget. I was able to find Sony’s comments. I’m glad he emailed me. God bless you and your family…

  31. Cafe23 says:

    Absolutely beautiful! I can’t wait to go to the Philippines this summer! :)

    • Thank you. I hope I did justice to the beautiful photos taken by my countrymen. They gave me the vision and inspiration…I simply added the words that they probably hoped to express.

  32. ‘It’s More Fun in the Philippines” never looked so real as these photos in your blog! I am proud of the festive spirit of the people, their never ending smiles and hospitality, but most of all, I admired the quietness of their spirit amidst poverty, hardships, bad government and the everyday drudgery of life.
    We make do of what we have, however little that may be. Our creativity shines because we don’t have much of the wealth of the first world countries…and so we dream more, we innovate…we evolve!

    I hope you are enjoying your islands doc! Have fun! God bless you and your family.


    • Thanks my friend. Beautiful comments from a gentle and generous heart. Love this one, “Our creativity shines because we don’t have much of the wealth of the first world countries…and so we dream more, we innovate…we evolve!” Indeed we do. I am proud of our countrymen both local and abroad who work each day will all they’ve got, with integrity, with love and perseverance. I didn’t understand what a person has to sacrifice when he/she lives her homeland to find a better future until I had to do it myself. I didn’t realize that the loneliness, the isolation, the separation can be that painful until I chose the same path. It’s a wound that will never heal. We can ease them, forget them for a while, then it comes back and haunts you. I’m going home for a short vacation. Can’t wait. It may not be much but I’ll make the most of what’s given to me. God bless you and your family. Thanks again.

  33. Sony Fugaban says:

    I hope I’ll get to see what I write here soon …

  34. Sony Fugaban says:

    SUCCESS! Bro, I think, it’s because of that “scroll infinitely” thing. I think that caused the problem. Anyway, I’m glad you already unchecked it.

    • I was able to put back the comments that went to the spam. I appreciate your thoughtfulness , generosity and inspiring comments. God bless you Bro and your wonderful family. Thanks for sharing your recent amazing posts.They were all beautiful.

    • I’m glad I found your comments. I’ve been busy lately that I seem to be gasping catching up…Have a great day my friend. Best wishes to your lovely wife and son…

  35. john tugano says:

    I know how you misses our country Bro, I can hear and feel your yearnings about seeing home again.The photo shows the great spirit of Filipinos,that no matter how ups and downs,high and lows we may encounter still we see that undying smile painted on our faces…Happy Dinagyang Bro.=)

    • Thank you. I came across this photos in Facebook. I never realized how much stuff I missed until I saw them. One thing that stuck me the most is that no matter how much our people have suffered, we continue to smile, hope, love and help each other. That is something no material wealth can buy. I just want our countrymen to realize that they are lucky to have that. Anyone can be rich but not anyone can wake up smiling and happy in the midst of hardships.

    • When I saw this photos in Facebook, I can’t help but admire the courage and the hope in the faces of our countrymen. Despite of the problems they have, they smile and laugh genuinely, generously. The warmth can be seen in all the photos. In America, life is in the fast lane. Everyone is busy. People seems to be stressed out frequently, including me.Things are too hectic that we missed out the important things in our lives. I miss the laid back life, the happiness that comes from having less.The happiness that comes from within. Stay bless Bro….

  36. thedailydish says:

    Simply amazing! No wonder you’re so proud. You should be!

    • Thank you. I am proud and honored to tell people about my roots. It made me who I am today. It humbles me every time when I think of my past, where I came from, the amazing childhood memories that I was blessed to have.

  37. imexcited says:

    Wow! Beautiful photos and words. Thanks for sharing!

  38. Absolutely gorgeous photos and a beautiful story. I enjoyed it very much.

  39. mj monaghan says:

    Fantastic photos. The colors are some of the richest I’ve ever seen. What proud traditions, and so great that you want to keep them alive. Culture is so interesting. Thank you for sharing this in words and pictures.

    • Thanks my friend. I always admire the island’s festivities. Not only are the colors fun and bright but the people’s outlook in life, their smiles are just infectious and liberating.

  40. mj monaghan says:

    Also wanted to let you know that I’ve moved to a new site:
    @mjmonaghan_ (Twitter)

  41. nelson RN says:

    Very powerful post, Doc! I can feel the music from here :) I have been to Iloilo once only, and that was work-related. I have always wished to watch Dinagyang festival! Your post made me feel like I was there already! Thank you!

    • Your welcome. This festival is what bring us Ilonggos together. It’s not just about merry making, it’s more of a thanksgiving for the good things that life brought us and of the future dreams we wish to accomplish.I’m happy that you enjoyed it. Maybe one day, you and your family will visit Iloilo and get to see Dinagyang. Best wishes to you and your family.

  42. Madhu says:

    Beautiful post! Hope to visit your country someday!

  43. munchow says:

    Here it is again: The call of the Island. Wonderful. And no wonder you feel so connected to the place, the culture and the island atmosphere. This post is another tribute to the classical photo essay. The story is beautiful – and so are the pictures. They make me want to go and do a story about the Dinagyang festival myself. Or just experience the energy. Culture is about identity, isn’t it, and that’s exactly what you show here.

    • I feel blessed not because of the material things I come across along the way but of the culture, the heritage and the family that I grew up with. I am rich because of them. So , right that it’s about identity, about being who we are in our mind and heart no matter where our path takes us. In the next few weeks, my path will lead me back home once again, brief as it may be, I’m still grateful for the chance…my island soul needed it. Can’t describe how much I missed the sunsets, the warm smiles and the love of family that shines like the brightest sunshine…Thank you for the wonderful, inspiring comment.

  44. semprevento says:

    beautiful photos
    love you … what?? much!!
    share the world is a fantastic trip
    thank you!

    • Thank you. The video is just beautiful. Yes, the world needs all the love that it can bet. That no matter who we are or where we came from, love is something that we all crave and that we all should share them generously. The world needs to be healed with kindness, light, hope and love. Take care….

  45. aRVee says:

    Thanks for the invite to your place Doc, my friend… Like Nelson, I have been to Iloilo too and I have always wanted to watch Dinagyang, so thanks for sharing it here… Cheers to all of our countrymen… Proud to be Pinoy!

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the “Dinagyang” post. Like the “Sinulog,” it celebrates the joy and hope in every Filipino. It is an echo of what we feel and a way to express our passionate and artistic side. Yes, I’m proud to be Pinoy. Always have been . Have a great day my friend.

  46. Thank you for a glimpse into your colorful, vibrant, joyful culture and heritage. There is much to celebrate in your history. It’s easy to see that the Philippines is your soul place!

    • It will always be my soul place. No modernization and materialism can take that away from me. They say the moment you forget where you came from is the moment when you become lost. I can never forget such a place where I learned how to live, love and care for people and the world around me. Take care my friend. Thank you.

  47. jhirzel88 says:

    You have lots of photos there. Seems typical of any African culture.

    • Actually is a Filipino Culture . Many years ago, our land was owned by the local natives called Aetas but the new settlers came in waves and soon they were driven away from their homes. It’s a sad story that everyone can learn from. To me, it’s just our way of celebrating Thanksgiving. Instead of roasted Turkey we have the drum beats to feed our soul’s longings.Thanks for sharing.

      • jhirzel88 says:

        Hmm. I really meant to say that it seems similar to the African culture. How many cultures are there in the Philippines? Almost every early culture has been driven away, and I realize that’s just the fact. It’s something we all just learn and we realize that there has always been competition in our world. Just like in running a business, when people started new cultures, they had to protect themselves from invaders or competitors.

  48. Very colourful outfits, reminds me a bit of “Cirque du Soleil”.

  49. jakesprinter says:

    Great entry my friend truly proud to be Pinoy :)

  50. Freedomborn says:

    Hi Island Traveller I Love your heart for your homeland and people and also your heart for the Body of Christ your Brothers and Sisters in the Lord.

    As I shared before I have an urgent prayer request there is a very important need… our Blogging friends Wendy and Bob, our Brothers and Sisters in The Lord, are going through a very hard time, Wendy had a heart attack and is in a coma, Bob is asking us as Christians to pray for her, all the details are on my Blog.

    Christian Love Anne

    • I will pray for Wendy, that the Lord will heal her. I pray that she and her family will find strength, courage and an abundant resources in their hour of hardship. I have families who were sick recently and prayers of a community is a powerful thing. Bless you heart for being a true sister to a fellow child of God. The world needs a lot of prayers for every sort of suffering.We all need to pray for one another.

    • Freedomborn says:

      Wendy had the heart attack she died 4 times and today she kissed Bob 4 times, there is no brain damage which Bob was warned about, I can’t stop rejoicing, God is so wonderful, so Amazing why, why , why do people doubt Him …why did I …because I didn’t really know Him, I kept Him in my own little Box that I could understand, which was very limited and worldly, sad but because of my doubts I didn’t have His inner Joy, I didn’t soar with Him.

      Thank you so much Island Traveller your prayers will be very much appreciated … you are such a blessing.

  51. So vibrant and beautiful. A stunning collection of photos and a beautiful post.

  52. Jackie Paulson says:

    I really love the ritual dances, the colors, the customs, it seems so family oriented. I admire you and your photo’s as I have never been there. Thank you for bringing happiness to my life and blog with your colorful smile and comments….

  53. Tammy says:

    That was quite an amazing little adventure that you just took us on. I could hear the “hala bira” as I looked at them.

    • You made me smile from end to end when you wrote, ” could hear the “hala bira” as I looked at them.” “Hala-bira” is a local dialect that translates to “keep going.” It’s meant to inspire the locals that no matter how life turned out to be, we should keep pursuing our hopes and dreams. No matter how many times we have fallen, we should keep rising up and try again. There is no limits to what a person can endure when his/her heart believes without doubt. Thanks for sharing…

  54. Purely.. Kay says:

    These photos are absolutely wonderful. They are just so prolific and I enjoyed reading this article. Some of the dances, remind me of African dance by various tribes. Just beautiful

    • Thanks Kay…as always your words sounded so beautiful. Yes, they do resemble the African dance…I guess no matter what race we belong, we all share the same passions, hope and dreams. We are all one huge Global family….and that’s truly amazing!

  55. Freedomborn says:

    Hi island traveler this is just want to let you know I have chosen you for the Genuine Bloggers Award if you already have this Award then just feel blessed to receive it again. You have blessed me with your messages and friendship I believe like the other Bloggers I have chosen you are very Genuine in what you share and this is my way to thank you and also to encourage you as God asks us to do. With this Award there is no rules at all as you will see as you read the Post it is all about encouragement. Thank you for all your encouragement and Support you have been a blessing to me and I’m sure to many others.

    Blog Post Blog Post –

    Christian Love Anne

    • Thank you my friend. Another wonderful blessing today. I always appreciate these awards. They inspire me to be better….I’m honored and I hope to live up to its name. Wishing you and your family all peace, love and joy.

  56. Barb says:

    The thing about the photos is more than the color, which is Amazing!! But there’s motion, movement, pulse, and excitement in the pics. I can hear the drums, tool. Thanks for the wonderful experience.

    • YOur welcome. I had a great time making the post but more than anything, it made me appreciate more the culture and the roots of my heritage. The drums will always follow me…and that’s cool with me! Take care. Thank you.

  57. Patti Kuche says:

    IT, love the love you Filipino bros have for each other! It really is so touching. There may be tinges of melancholy with definite longing in your posts but always the vibrancy and vitality of life bursts through, demanding to be celebrated, and before we know it, we are there in the middle of it all with you having the time of our lives, drumbeats and all! Absolutely wonderful, thank you!

    • Thank you. One thing about us Filipinos is that we are passionate about life and love. We breath feelings and emotions, we found inspiration in creating something beautiful and yes, the brotherhood and sense of community is just an inspiration. We do have imperfections, many in fact but we help each other out so that we can be the best person we can ever be. I’m honored to share the roots that made me who I am now….

  58. Love the vibrancy of this post! Such amazing color.

    P.S. Nice mask!

  59. Christine says:

    I love the photos and descriptions! I will need to add this on my travel list. There’s so much diversity in the Filipino culture, thank you for blogging this so I can share it with my family without having to travel so far (for now).

    • I’m honored and delighted . Sharing a cultural tradition and all the beautiful heritage that it has to offer is such a blessing. It makes us appreciate life more and all that we experienced everyday. Thank you for the wonderful comment. Stay bless my friend….

  60. thirdhandart says:

    Thank you for illustrating the richness of the Philippines, the people and the Culture.
    I learned so much about the Filipino heritage from clicking on the links in your article.
    Didn’t know that: “Filipinos are an Austronesian ethnic group native to the islands of the Philippines.” “Taiwanese aborigines are Austronesian peoples, with linguistic and genetic ties to other Austronesian ethnic groups, such as peoples of the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Madagascar, Polynesia, and Oceania.”
    My aunt (by marriage), Ratjana, just came back from a trip to her native country, Taiwan.

    • I somehow knew from history that part of the settlers of the lang came from Indonesia and Malaysia but now I came to know thru you that the Austronesian ethnic group is even more diverse. That is amazing. I bet your Aunt Ratjana had a wonderful time visiting Taiwan. It’s always a beautiful journey to go back and learn about our roots…Take care.

  61. Sunshine says:

    Thank you Island Traveler for the wonderful tour of your country. I didn’t realize how colorful the culture is in the Philippines. When I think color, my immediate thought goes to the country India. Now you know how small my world view is! Enjoyed your post. Thanks!

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