Pandanggo sa Ilaw is a very popular folk dance in the Philippines. It is said to have originated from Mindoro, the seventh-largest island in the Philippines. This dance of lights simulates fireflies at dusk and at night.
The word pandanggo is from the Spanish fandango, a dance in 3/4 time. The phrase sa ilaw is Tagalog for “in light” and it refers to the three oil lamps that a dancer has to balance — one on the head and one on the back each hand. The oil lamp is called tinghoy. Sometimes, candles in glasses are used instead of an oil lamp.
The music to which the pandanggo sa ilaw is now commonly danced was composed by Col. Antonio R. Buenaventura, a National Artist for Music and a native of Bulacan. He wrote the music sometime in the early 1930’s while teaching at the Conservatory of Music at the University of the Philippines.
Filipino students practice this dance by balancing books on their head.